Aussie Ad Bureau: Comparing Husbands to Pests is ‘Degrading and Vilifying’

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By Jillian Kay Melchior | 3:07 pm, December 29, 2016
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Australia’s Advertising Standards Board ruled that a commercial had inappropriately insulted husbands with its comical depiction of a wife asking an exterminator whether they could get rid of spouses along with cockroaches, termites and other household pests.

“The majority of the Board felt that comparing husbands to pests is degrading and vilifying of husbands… [and concluded] that this advertisement did discriminate against and vilify husbands on the basis of gender,” the decision said.

The Advertising Standards Bureau is Australia’s self-regulation system for advertisers.

The Board had considered complaints about the same ad in both 2005 and 2010, ruling that the Allpest commercial was OK. But now, “the majority of the Board felt that community standards in this area have changed, and that this style of humor was no long acceptable,” the Advertising Standards Bureau said.

In its Allpest decision, the Board referenced an earlier decision that found Ashley Madison had vilified female spouses by depicting “a guy [who] starts singing a catchy jingle, ‘looking for someone other than my wife.’”

In that case, the Board majority found that “‘other than my wife’ is a statement which singles out wives as a group of people and implies that wives are not important within a marriage, can be replaced and to a degree normalizes seeking someone other than your wife.”

Allpest expressed disapproval over the Advertising Standard Bureau’s determination, noting that it was based on a single complaint by someone who didn’t get the exterminator’s “tongue in cheek humor.”