A tourism ad for Australia’s Northern Territory is “obscene,” an ad watchdog said.
The advertising campaign used the abbreviation “CU” for “See You in the NT,” which some said spelled out an anatomical vulgarity. Complaints called the ad “highly offensive” and “derogatory,” the BBC reported.
In a confusing twist, the ads were created by a company called NT Official—which is not actually the Northern Territory’s official tourism agency; it is instead an “independent underground campaign designed to promote travel and awareness to the unique Northern Territory as an ideal travel destination for the young or young at heart,” according to its website.
The Northern Territory’s official tourism organization admitted the ad was obscene, but said it also “did perhaps tap into a bit of the larrikinism sense of humor,” using Aussie slang for “mischievous.”
The Advertising Standards Bureau, Australia’s self-regulation system for advertisers, lacks the legal authority to censor ads. Instead, it sends a formal request advertisers to remove or alter ads deemed offensive.
NT Official’s website has continued to sell shirts, stickers, coolers and other merchandise bearing the controversial tourism slogan. By deadline, the company had not responded to Heat Street’s request for comment.