An Australian campervan company that decks its vehicles with lewd sexist slogans and drug references has triggered a backlash, not just from motorists but from campgrounds.
Wicked Campers has repeatedly fallen foul of Australia’s Advertising Standards Board (ASB) after public complaints. As the ASB is toothless, Wicked Campers doesn’t take much notice.
Now, however, the action has spread across the Tasman. New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) has removed Wicked Campers from the list of rental companies on its website where tourists can buy a DOC campsite pass.
DOC is also looking at whether it can stop Wicked Campers from issuing campsite passes, the NZ Herald has reported. DOC is big on the campsite front in New Zealand – it runs over 200 sites around the country.
Many campground operators say their clientele consists largely of families and the slogans daubed over the vans are not appropriate for children.
The Kaiteriteri Beach Motor Camp in Abel Tasman National Park has banned Wicked Campers’ vehicles from staying at the popular campground. Top 10 Holiday Parks, which runs 46 parks across New Zealand, is reportedly encouraging franchisees either to ensure that material on the vans deemed offensive is covered, or to simply refuse offending vehicles entry, according to the NZ Herald.
The council in Whangarei, New Zealand’s most northerly city, has passed a bylaw and threatens to prosecute Wicked Campers if any of its vehicles bearing material deemed offensive or objectionable are found within the district.
Photos of vehicles shown in New Zealand media recently include one van with a picture of Snow White smoking crack, and others bearing sexual references, including a van adorned with a cartoon of a donkey and a rooster and the slogan “This cock loves ass.”
Complaints about the slogans surfaced in Australia last year before the ASB. Two slogans concerned pedophilia 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. See: Rude campervan bad boys get knuckles rapped again
Written by Peter Needham