Australian fast-food chain TV ad criticised for disparaging tattoos and piercings

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 12th July 2012

An Australian fast-food chain has won a case in the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB), concerning an advertisement that allegedly disparaged people with tattoos and body piercings.

The Hungry Jack’s commercial includes a female heavy metal musician with tattoos and piercings, whose style gradually changes as she eats a Chicken TenderGrill burger. With each bite, her black clothes change to a floral dress, and her tattoos and piercings disappear. At the end of the commercial, a female voiceover says, “There’s nothing naughty about the new Hungry Jack’s TenderGrill… Hungry Jack’s makes it better.”

A complaint to the ASB called the ad “biased, judgemental and bigoted” and asked why Hungry Jack’s apparently prefers the “average person” to the “alternative youth” as a customer.

Hungry Jack’s responded to the complaint by claiming that its commercial focuses on promoting the Hungry Jack’s Chicken TenderGrill burger as being a healthier, “less naughty”, alternative to regular fast food. It said that the portrayal of a contrast between “naughty” and “nice” had been misinterpreted as “a negative portrayal of the alternative style”.

The ASB considered that the advertisement does present two stereotypes but decided that the community was unlikely to interpret the commercial’s message as a negative portrayal of either type of young woman. The complaint was dismissed.