A Hungry Jack’s commercial depicting a motorist distracted by a passenger eating a burger has run foul of the national advertising regulator.
Ad Standards has found the fast food chain breached the community safety advertising code with the ad, which portrays a woman failing to immediately notice a road worker operating a stop sign.
The ad, which played last month on some free-to-air television and on-demand services, is no longer running.
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But it remains accessible online, with Ad Standards to assess any complaints relating to that medium separately.
In the commercial, a road worker tries to get a driver’s attention as she approaches a stop sign, but the woman is distracted by her passenger, who is eating a burger.
The driver then stops abruptly before making a heart sign with her hands to apologise.
The ad shows a driver apologising to a road worker and explaining she was distracted by a burger. Credit: Supplied
She then makes a burger sign, implying the road worker could be given a burger by way of apology.
The car is allowed to pass, and the commercial ends with the road worker eating a Hungry Jack’s burger.
As outlined in Ad Standards’ case report, a complainant pointed to several issues they believed breached the national advertising code.
Those issues included that the commercial encouraged unsafe driver behaviour by implying road safety was discretionary.
“This will encourage people not to take road safety seriously, as they believe that it is just there to hold them up, not actually for their own safety,” the complaint said.
“The ad implies that it is acceptable to use bribery to get your way – i.e. the promise of a free Whopper gets them through a road-works sign.
“This is unethical.”
Hungry Jack’s response
Hungry Jack’s defended the ad, highlighting no road rules were breached and “creative licence has been used to exaggerate and create a situation that requires interaction between the driver and the traffic”.
“We sincerely apologise for any offence this advertisement may have caused. However, we do not believe it is in breach of 2.6 Health and Safety/Motor vehicle-related code,” a company spokesperson said in the report.
“This ad reminds drivers of the importance of concentrating, conveying the message that even a small distraction can be dangerous.”
The ad was found to have breached the national advertising code for being contrary to community safety. Credit: Supplied
The Ad Standards Community Panel, made up of a broad range of community members who assess complaints made to the regulator, found the ad was in breach of the health and safety code.
But it did not find the commercial encouraged bribery.
“The Panel considered that the depiction of driver inattention was contrary to prevailing community standards on road safety,” the report said.
“(It) considered that she only takes her eyes off the road for a short time, however, this is contrary to community safety messaging that drivers should remain attentive and in control of their vehicles at all time.
“The Panel noted that driver distraction is a dangerous problem which can cause serious accidents.”
The report said Hungry Jack’s was informed of the breach after the campaign had ended, so no further action was necessary.
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