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Television Media Censorship

Award-Winning Ad Taken Off Air In Australia 471

Posted by kdawson
from the nanny-state dept.
bol_kernal writes "An award-winning advertisement on Australian TV for the new Hyundai 4WD has been pulled from being broadcast after stations received 80 complaints from concerned parents. The ad consists of a small child, age around 2 years, cruising down the road, window down, arm out the window, in his new Hyundai 4WD. He sees a girl of the same age standing on the side of the road, pulls over picks her up, and they go to the beach together. All in all it's cute, funny, and very well done. The ad aired late in the evening (8:30 pm or later), but it was pulled due to concern from parents about the copycat risk. What I want to know is, where has the responsibility of parents gone? Is the world becoming so serious — or so frightened — that fantasy is no longer allowed?"
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Award-Winning Ad Taken Off Air In Australia

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  • by Teddy Beartuzzi (727169) on Monday February 26, 2007 @02:47AM (#18149718) Journal
    Geezus, we even had folks complaining about a *robot* who had a *nightmare* about suicide.
    • by smaddox (928261) on Monday February 26, 2007 @04:16AM (#18150208)
      The way I see it, with the amount of time it took to complain to the network about the commercial, the parents could have easily talked to their children and made sure they understood not to copy it.

      For some reason, these parents think ignorance is better for their children than knowing about and understanding an issue.
      • by myowntrueself (607117) on Monday February 26, 2007 @05:17AM (#18150536)
        Its high time that the sterling advice to be found on The Onion were taken more seriously by parents:

        http://www.theonion.com/content/news/child_safety_ experts_call_for [theonion.com]

        Kenneth McMillan is a hero of the American People!!!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by teh kurisu (701097)

        Even better, they could've maybe kept those small, choking-hazard car keys out of reach of their kids...

    • by Steeltoe (98226) on Monday February 26, 2007 @06:41AM (#18150926) Homepage
      These commercials are incidious. Just like you dont get handsome, smart, creative and out-going from drinking Coca-Cola, but rather you may get more pimples, the sugar/caffeiene rush may boost you for a few minutes, and then over the longer run you get more dull and slow-witted.

      You will be sure some kid will try this because it is shown on TV. Its not the parents job to foresee everything the child might do due to watching TV.

      Rather, it is the parents duty today to bring up the kids without resorting to the TV and videogames.

      Upbringing based on real-life, with real risks and real pain. Talking doesnt help when youre already living in a virtual reality. People talk about things all the time, complain about what should be done in the community. Talk is cheap. If you believe you have only one life, you better start to really live it.
    • by exell (1065256) on Monday February 26, 2007 @08:01AM (#18151358) Homepage
      That re-enforce my view that 1984 should be made required reading in every form of education. It's downright scary that it's not a government that is doing this, it's actual citizens, why do things yourself when you can convince everyone else to do it for you?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by j00r0m4nc3r (959816)
      What I don't get is how this is different than any other car commercial where they do crazy shit with the newest hottest sports car. Like driving 100MPH down twisty country roads, or spinning around mercilessly on flat rainy roads, or doing a little fade-skid to stop at the very end of the commercial. Oh yeah, in tiny print at the bottom they say "Professional driver on closed course." like that makes it OK. If there's one thing car makers do NOT advertise it's how to drive safe. So just put a disclaimer at
  • by Alicat1194 (970019) on Monday February 26, 2007 @02:47AM (#18149722)
    It wasn't sweet, or cute, it was disturbing, and wrong on so many levels... (apparently small, unnaturaly placed children disturb me)
  • Complain! (Score:5, Funny)

    by arlo5724 (172574) <jacobw56 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday February 26, 2007 @02:48AM (#18149724)
    Hypothesizing about fantasy amounts to fantasizing! I move to have this story removed from /. Sign below.
  • by Simon Garlick (104721) on Monday February 26, 2007 @02:48AM (#18149730)
    In case you hadn't noticed, Australia is a de facto state of the USA now.
    • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Monday February 26, 2007 @02:51AM (#18149748) Homepage Journal

      I always wondered where all the Bush voters came from.

    • Bugger (Score:5, Informative)

      by TapeCutter (624760) on Monday February 26, 2007 @04:41AM (#18150332) Journal
      As an Aussie may I be the first to say "bugger!" [bestofyt.com].

      Yeah we are like the states, in that we are also continually embarassed by our official representatives. They played the ad on the (after hours) news and talk shows the other night, I doubt it will stay banned for long. Besides, it doesn't really matter now since more or less all 20 million of us have paid some attention to it for free.

      My hunch is all 80 of them belong to the bunch of neo-nazi's that call themselves the "Family first" party.

      It's also interesting to note that this happened on the same weekend that Dick Chenney came to town. Security ground Sydney to a halt while Dick enjoyed a taxpayer funded $2M "beer with the PM", and (with not a little irony), pontificated about "violence and disruption".

      "We want David Hicks back.": Our PM and AG will "do everything they can" except utter those five words since well they would...ummm....hand him over, as they have for every other nation after the US supreme court desicion was made a few years ago. This and several other issues has now made the PM's own seat in parliment very vunerable in the next election, (4% swing is required to unseat him). BTW: Please don't use the above information to infer the opposition are in any way more competent than the current crop.
      • Re:Bugger (Score:4, Informative)

        by evilgrug (915703) on Monday February 26, 2007 @05:13AM (#18150508)
        Despite what the link says that commercial was not banned in Australia or New Zealand.

        In Australia it received a very small number of complaints. It did get upgraded to a PG rating meaning it could not be aired until 7:30pm, however. New Zealanders appeared to be a little more upset about it, but it wasn't banned.

        Toyota voluntarily restricted the airing of the commercial until after 8:30pm in both countries.
  • Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Monday February 26, 2007 @02:48AM (#18149732) Homepage Journal

    Is the world becoming so serious -- or so frightened -- that fantasy is no longer allowed?"

    With one caveat. If it involves wealthy actors who play married hitmen trying to kill each other with everything from knives to rocket launchers, it's ok [imdb.com]. Same thing with movies depicting armies systematically destroying each other with machine guns, bombs, flamethrowers, etc. Basically, the bigger the magnitude of the killing, destruction, and carnage, the more acceptable. The smaller the scale, the more freaked out people get.

    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by omeg (907329) on Monday February 26, 2007 @02:56AM (#18149780)
      The smaller the scale, the more freaked out people get.

      Well, APPARENTLY! Did you see how many complaints they got? OVER 80!!! That's no less than over 0.000004% of the population!
    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Informative)

      by catwh0re (540371) on Monday February 26, 2007 @03:11AM (#18149876)
      In Australia we have a law against advertising which involves displaying driving activity which is technically illegal.

      The law was made because the major "australian" car manufacturer and their primary opposition (ford) were both glamourising speeding, burn outs, doughnuts etc. in car advertisements. I doubt the law was ever meant to cover situations which are technically difficult to reproduce.. afterall hyperbole is permitted in advertising (as long as it's evidently hyperbole and thus not misleading.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nkv (604544)
      If parents don't want their kids to watch stuff like this, they should stop their kids from watching stuff like this, not call the TV station to take it off the air. They're "parents". That's a title that entails some amount of responsibility.

      There is a better option which is to throw the TV out the window and get it over with. Almost everything that comes on it is not worth watching anyway but that's a suggestion that'll most probably get me branded as a luddite.
    • by Cyberax (705495)
      Well, Stalin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalin) once said: "One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic". Apparently, he was right.
    • "Basically, the bigger the magnitude of the killing, destruction, and carnage, the more acceptable."

      Hardly surprising. A two year old is more likely to grab the keys to the car than to wield a machine gun. Now, the kid reaching the brake pedal to shift into drive...
  • Irony... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by debest (471937)
    ... that the article is accompanied by a Flash ad for Hyundai, featuring the exact same kid from the ad that was pulled.
  • Youtube link (Score:5, Informative)

    by physicsnick (1031656) on Monday February 26, 2007 @02:50AM (#18149746)
    Here's the ad on Youtube:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=g37Z8Scbj8E [youtube.com]
  • by El Cubano (631386) <roberto@[ ]nexer.com ['con' in gap]> on Monday February 26, 2007 @02:52AM (#18149750) Homepage

    All in all it's cute, funny, and very well done. The ad aired late in the evening (8:30 pm or later), but it was pulled due to concern from parents about the copycat risk. What I want to know is, where has the responsibility of parents gone? Is the world becoming so serious -- or so frightened -- that fantasy is no longer allowed?"

    Let me preface this by saying that I am a conservative Christian. Now, I have done some research and found out that most electronic devices that emit photons and audio waves have a switch which allows me to turn them off. The effort required to do that is even less than it is for me to get incensed and make a complaint. Why don't other people get this? Don't want to see it? Turn it off. Don't want the kids to see it? Turn it off.

    • by blue.strider (737082) on Monday February 26, 2007 @03:19AM (#18149904)
      There are more shades of grey in the world that just completely shutting off the TV. The shade of grey missing here is that ads have no pre-announced schedule. If one sees the War-Of-Worlds in the TV Guide, one may keep his/her kids away of the TV for the duration. But the ads may come our of the nowhere in the middle of any random program, and effectively prevent one from choosing between individual TV programs.

      (Side discussion: This also indicates a certain fundamentally dishonest nature of ads, which is implicitly admitted by the perpetrators as they avoid to be fully open about the ad schedule).
    • by DamnStupidElf (649844) <Fingolfin@linuxmail.org> on Monday February 26, 2007 @03:28AM (#18149958)
      Let me preface this by saying that I am a conservative Christian. Now, I have done some research and found out that most electronic devices that emit photons and audio waves have a switch which allows me to turn them off. The effort required to do that is even less than it is for me to get incensed and make a complaint. Why don't other people get this? Don't want to see it? Turn it off. Don't want the kids to see it? Turn it off.

      My guess is it's the people who leave their kids with the TV all night and always leave their keys in the car (possibly in the ignition) who are the most irate. "What if junior craws into the garage and starts the car because of what he done seen on teevee?" Turning a free babysitter off or remembering where they put their keys are things that are fundamentally beyond the intelligence of the type of people who are complaining.

      While I don't mind seeing stupid people die, their children shouldn't be doomed to the same fate. Statistically, only 50% of stupid people's children are themselves stupid, so we should at least protect the 25% of smart children with stupid parents, hmm?
    • by the_womble (580291) on Monday February 26, 2007 @03:48AM (#18150080) Homepage Journal
      Its because the parent are too addicted to the TV themselves to turn it off.


      People are astonished that we do not have a TV. It is good for us, and good for our daughter. However, most people would no more give up their TV, any more than a heroin addict will give up their drug.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Gordonjcp (186804)
      Why don't other people get this? Don't want to see it? Turn it off. Don't want the kids to see it? Turn it off.

      That's a very good point, and the line that I take with stuff on TV I find offensive. However, it's not that this is offensive - what we have is the *exact opposite* of all those public safety films that we grew up with saying "Don't get into cars with strangers". You remember this [youtube.com] don't you?
    • by nEoN nOoDlE (27594) on Monday February 26, 2007 @04:31AM (#18150290) Homepage
      but what about all those hundreds or thousands of other kids that might be seeing it? I, as an innocent bystander can be driving around minding my own business and get rear ended by a damn 2 year old going to the beach with his girlfriend, all because that ad was on the air.
    • by _KiTA_ (241027) on Monday February 26, 2007 @04:37AM (#18150322) Homepage
      Let me preface this by saying that I am a conservative Christian. Now, I have done some research and found out that most electronic devices that emit photons and audio waves have a switch which allows me to turn them off. The effort required to do that is even less than it is for me to get incensed and make a complaint. Why don't other people get this? Don't want to see it? Turn it off. Don't want the kids to see it? Turn it off.

      Most of these people complaining are not doing so by their own violation, but rather, they are doing so after being told/commanded to by their social and religious leaders. Simply put, they're told about the ad/book/game/tv show/etc in church, around the coffee table, by their old friends, etc, and the Alpha of the group has them all write letters off to whomever they think might cowtow to them, trying to essentially blackmail the stations into submission.

      The truly sad thing is that it works -- and that the attack drones don't even have to have ever seen the show to begin with. (Or do you really believe a few hundred thousand conservative Christians listen to Howard Stern and got upset about it?) It's rather sad that the Moral Majority has been reduced to trained howler monkeys, ready to fling poo on command, but, well, there ya have it.

      They do the same thing with pretty much anything they don't like. Music, video games, websites, you name it. And it's only going to get worse now that they succeeded once against Howard Stern.
  • by RelliK (4466) on Monday February 26, 2007 @02:55AM (#18149770)
    Don't give those crazy 2-year-olds any ideas!
  • When it said copycat I thought they were worried that some stalker would get the idea to pick up a two year old girl and take her to the beach. Which is kind of a stretch, but somewhat understandable. But that's not it at all.....the parents were worried that two-year-old kids will see it then try to drive the family car.

    I don't get this one at all. If you are worried about your kid playing with the car (which is understandable), why not teach your kids NOT TO PLAY IN THE CAR? The kids are eventually
  • Obvious flaw (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mainform (892764) on Monday February 26, 2007 @03:02AM (#18149830)
    How on earth is a toddler going to reach the accelerator and brake pedals in any regular car, let alone a 4WD, whilst being strapped in to the driver's seat, especially given there's no way he could have been able to see over the dash board without sitting on a cushion or something?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by skelly33 (891182)
      All it takes is a toddler with the idea that "releasing the parking brake would be fun" to cause a problem. But paranoia will not make the world "safe" for children. The world, and Universe on whole, is a hostile place and parents need to come to grips with that and, as a previous poster mentioned, take responsibility for teaching common sense themselves. I say down with the easily offended.
  • A disease (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It's sad that we're seeing this kind of braindead parental nonaccountability, invented in the US, spread like a disease to other countries. Cultural evolution will officially come to a screeching halt when nominally immune countries like Japan show signs of infection.
  • by GFree (853379) on Monday February 26, 2007 @03:05AM (#18149840)
    People getting scared, frightened about the most innocent things.

    There is a saying I've heard many a time: HARDEN THE FUCK UP. Seriously, if people keep raising hell about such trivial matters, soon there won't be any imagination, any creativity, any fun in the world. People will be afraid to do ANYTHING due to lawsuits.

    It will be a truly dull place to live in.
  • by ChePibe (882378) on Monday February 26, 2007 @03:10AM (#18149864)
    Whoa, whoa, whoa! I think we're all missing the point here, folks! It's not the kids driving and picking up kids, but how they're driving.

    Two-year olds driving, yeah, that's cool, but what if they start acting out what they see on TV and driving on the left side of the road? Trying to steer the car from the passenger side? What kind of example is the media setting for our kids?

    Won't someone think of the CHILDREN!

    Crazy foreigners, corrupting our American youth...

    Yes, I realize non-U.S. citizens read /.
  • ..for the horrible CGI of the baby surfboarding.
  • Copy cat? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Motley Phule (946796) on Monday February 26, 2007 @03:11AM (#18149874)
    We had the ad screening here for quite a while in NZ. It's a two year old driving a car, for pete's sake. How can they be worried about copycat crimes? Two year old's still think throwing poo is fun... which it is... but that's beside the point.
  • I was pretty upset about that that commerical as well, those damn 4WD's are everywhere, they are a menace !
  • In general I dont like being subjected to the advertising industries little fantasies anyway. They will use every trick in the book to manipulate us.

    So even though the advert in question is pretty innocuous I am not too disturbed if it has been pulled. As I see it, whats the downside, an advert is pulled. Whats the upside, a very unlikely (IMO) copycat event is prevented. I can live with that.

  • our CGI, video-composited, fake children overlords?

    Ugh. Since everything is done with the 'children' in mind, they are in fact becoming our overlords.

    Seriously. Can't you just hang your keys higher on the wall? Tell your kids the difference between TV and Real Life? Put a kill switch on the vehicle?

    I know this is a commercial and all, but really. Why does the extent of my life's experiences have to be dictated by your inability to parent your children?
  • Is the world becoming so serious -- or so frightened -- that fantasy is no longer allowed?

    It's allowed, but human irrationality has to be taken into account. Playing on that is what makes this Ikea ad [youtube.com] so effective. Putting babies in danger even in fun was perhaps ballsier than the ad creators realized.

  • Maybe these people have never seen Look Who's Talking [imdb.com] or or the either of the other two sequels - those baby's did a lot more interesting things.

    Besides that, I am curious as to how a baby would be physically capable of copying that ad

  • There was a car ad a year ago (maybe it was for the Superbowl 2006?) featuring kids driving flying cars on buildings, across jumps, etc. all in slow-motion. I think the idea was that the cars were so quiet and comfortable that even the kids were enjoying the ride. Anyways, a group of parents complain that it sets a bad example showing underage kids, god forbid, driving and it was pulled.

    I would just like to say a big FUCK YOU! to every moron who gets offended.

    Remember one of the early South Park episo
  • And all it takes is 80 unhappy parents to get the ad pulled? That's 0.0003% of the total population. Someone out there will be offended no matter what airs on TV. What if a company used animals in their commercials and PETA & Co. called and complained? Will it only take 80 of them to get that ad pulled?

    During the 2006 Emmys, Conan O'Brien was in a skit that featured a plane crash. Earlier that day, a plane actually crashed in Kentucky. By Australia's logic, Conan's skit would have to be pulled because h
  • it might have been "cute" and "well done", but it certainly wasn't "funny".

    "repulsive" was the first word that occurred to me when i saw it on TV.

  • So do they verify that all these complaints are legitimate - or is this an easy way for a rival car company to screw up your advertising campaign - or for an ecological movement to hit back at gas-guzzling 4WD vehicles?

  • no not this one, but the ones where children eat all the sugary crap stuff ... or the ones where children eat all the junk food ... or the ones where children spend their time doing useless and boring stuff like playing with totally idiotic toys. Can I get pulled those ads too, please?

    Being from a different region of the world, I do not know the ad mentioned, but whatever they show: why do those concerned parents let their children watch TV at "8:30 pm or later" where they can see those ads in the first pla
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ACDChook (665413)
      Personally I think that they should have tracked down every one of those 80 complainants and removed their children from their care. If they feel that they are unable to prevent their kids from copying something like that off tv, then they are obviously not providing a safe environment in the home, and should not be allowed to continue raising their children.
  • ...where are you when we need you?
  • First I thought the U.S. was becoming the ultimate pussy nanny-state (oh no, we can't see boobs!).

    Now Australia did take their peoples guns away, now they're pulling a commercial we would probably allow in the U.S. Let the race to see who can be the biggest pussy begin! Hey! No running! Somebody might get hurt!
  • If kids are gonna be driving cars.... I don't want to be in Australia.

    Besides if kids start dating at age 2, what happens to poor Aussie slashdotters ;-(
  • by Pliep (880962)
    It is of course always easier to file complaints and blame corporations (or the government) than to talk to your own kids and teach them about life, TV ads, fantasy and the real world. Oh and tell them to go to bed at seven.

    Why? Because filing a complaint is much easier and more efficient than expressing love, giving attention and spending time to teach important things to kids. Time is money you know!
  • by Fractal Dice (696349) on Monday February 26, 2007 @08:22AM (#18151508) Journal
    Whatever happened to selling a product on the merits of the product? Just for fun, watch a run of ads and ask how many ads now show a product being used in a way that is legal, possible under the laws of physics and by human beings. It's so silly that most products aren't even products, they're sold as fantasies irrelevant to what they are actually used for.
  • Well (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jethro (14165) on Monday February 26, 2007 @11:44AM (#18153394) Homepage
    To be fair, the kid is driving like a maniac.

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".

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