Watchdog clears ‘homophobic’ ALDI ad after supermarket claims character is actually straight
An ALDI Christmas ad accused of perpetuating homophobic stereotypes has been cleared by the advertising watchdog, after the supermarket claimed a camp character is actually straight.
The supermarket chain last month launched the ‘Meet the Tinkeltons’ Christmas ad in Australia, portraying a family of American carol singers struggling to adapt to Christmas in Oz.
One camp male character has stereotypical mannerisms, seeing a man sunbathing and exclaiming: “You don’t wear that at Christmas!” before visibly swooning.
He is also seen popping out of a closet, and is shown drinking beer with his pinky finger sticking out.
A complaint filed with the Advertising Standards Board had claimed: “I was personally offended by the content of the ad, specifically the depiction of the overly camp acting moustachioed man.
“Everyone expresses themselves differently and every Australian deserves a fair go, so I really expect advertising agencies to treat my minority group with the same sensitivities they would with any other. I firmly believe this ad used the depiction of a group that is still a minority and at times marginalised as a tool of satire… I am concerned that the only time an identifiably gay individual is shown in popular Australian advertisements is when it is satirical.”
In its response, ALDI attempted to avoid the complaint by insisting the character was actually heterosexual.
The supermarket claimed: “The character who the complainant refers to is playing the husband of the mother of the three children.
“ALDI does not consider that the character is portrayed as an ‘identifiably gay individual’. The advertisement does not discriminate against homosexuals, nor does it vilify them.”
It claimed that the character was “hamming it up” alongside the other family members in the ad “in line with the ‘over the top’ theme of the advertisement”.
After the response, the Ad Standards Board cleared the ad of all wrongdoing.
It ruled: “The Board noted the complainant’s concern over the depiction of a camp acting man. The Board noted the advertiser’s response that the man the complainant refers to is clearly presented as the husband and father of 3 children and considered that his behaviour is over the top and exaggerated but not intended to be representative of a gay man.
“The Board considered that the advertisement did not portray or depict material in a way which discriminates against or vilifies a person or section of the community on account of their sexual preference.
“The Board determined that the advertisement did not breach Section 2.1 of the Code.”