Wicked Campers is big in the backpacker market in many countries including Australia, where it has 13 depots. Irreverent graffiti-style slogans designed to shock and offend are part of its market appeal – but motorists on family trips who end up behind the vehicles often view it differently.
Two new slogans adorning Wicked Campers’ vans concern child sex abuse and oral sex, namely: “70% of Preists [sic] who’ve tried camels prefer young boys…” and “a blow job is a great last minute gift”. Both drew public complaints to the ASB, which the ASB upheld. A complaint about a third slogan, “It makes my heart race when you sit on my face”, was dismissed.
So far this year, the ASB has upheld nine complaints about Wicked Campers slogans. Other complaints go back years. As the ASB is entirely toothless, Wicked Campers just ignores the criticism.
Here’s an extract from the latest ASB case report, concerning the priests, camels and boys slogan:
This is a completely inappropriate thing to joke about. Child sexual abuse is no joke and a painted slogan like this could be extremely triggering for people who have been victims of abuse. This trivialises something very serious. I am the foster mother of a child who has been sexually abused so this is extremely real to us and is why I have decided to make a complaint.
THE ADVERTISER’S RESPONSE
The advertiser did not provide a response.
The ASB said it “considered that the suggestion that a priest would engage in sexual relations with both an animal and a young boy is vilifying towards members of a religious order”.
ASB rules are “based on the belief that advertisements should be legal, decent, honest and truthful, prepared with a sense of social responsibility to the consumer and society as a whole and with due respect to the rules of fair competition”.
As a self-regulatory body, the ASB can do nothing to enforce its findings. Its work is “not underpinned by any Government legislation”.
In the latest case, the ASB adds: “The advertiser has not provided a response to the Board’s determination. The ASB will continue to work with the relevant authorities in Queensland regarding this issue of non-compliance.”
Recent Wicked Campers artwork includes an image of Hitler and the statement “Yes we can”. Another slogan: “Women are like banks – once you withdraw you loose [sic] interest”. Those are two of the milder ones. As well as swearwords and (tut-tut) poor spelling, references to drug use, ejaculation and various sexual themes are rife.
Anyone wanting to peruse more can go to:
http://www.adstandards.com.au/casereports/determinations/standards Then, just put wicked campers into the search engine.
Wicked Campers says it provides reliable campervans that are the best value for money.
Its vans have been displaying naughty slogans for years (and drawing complaints) so don’t hold your breath for any change.
Written by Peter Needham