'Tyrant' German radio ad is banned
Published 20/01/2010 | 00:48
A radio advert has been banned for implying that Germans are tyrants, the advertising watchdog said.
Publicity for Reed's recruitment website featured a man speaking to his boss, who answered angrily in German.
A voice-over said: "Boss a bit of a tyrant? Find your perfect boss on the UK's biggest job site."
The advert, which sparked 13 complaints, was found to be offensive by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) because it used a negative stereotype.
The ASA said that while the use of stereotypes was "inevitable" to establish a character in a short radio advert, this should not "perpetuate damaging misconceptions".
The watchdog said: "We noted the ad used a German speaker, rather than someone speaking English, to portray the boss as 'a bit of a tyrant' and the humour derived from a stereotype at the expense of German people. We considered that the portrayal suggested that German people were more likely to be unreasonable or aggressive to others.
"We concluded that, given the extreme reaction and aggressive tone of the German-speaking boss, the ad reinforced a negative and outdated cultural stereotype of German people as overpowering and tyrannical and therefore the ad had the potential to cause serious offence to some listeners."
The advert breached rules governing good taste and must not be broadcast again in its current form.
Reed did not comment on the complaints, the ASA said, but the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre said it believed most listeners would have found the advert "humorous and inoffensive".