Complaint: 17/205

Bisley Workwear, Television

Details

Complainants
advertisers
Bisley Workwear
Year
2017
Media
Television
Product
Apparel
Clauses
Decision
Upheld / Settled
ASA Links
Website Listing
Decision Document

Document





COMPLAINT NUMBER
17/205
COMPLAINANT
J.Lett
ADVERTISER
Bisley Workwear
ADVERTISEMENT
Bisley Workwear, Television
DATE OF MEETING
25 July 2017
OUTCOME
Upheld


SUMMARY
The television advertisement for Bisley Workwear showed a series of building site mishaps.
The scenario of concern was when a bag of dry cement bursts while being unloaded from the
back of a truck and lands all over a worker's head and face. His co-worker hoses him clean
while saying "Harden up mate!"

The Advertiser confirmed that the advertisement was a light-hearted workwear commercial
showing over exaggerated building site events. They said the advertisement was filmed in a
controlled environment.

The Complaints Board agreed the scene in the advertisement where the worker is covered in
dry concrete powder did cross the threshold by showing a dangerous situation and the reaction
of the co-worker to "harden up" potentially trivialised the seriousness of the issue.

The Complaints Board said the advertisement was in breach of Rule 12 of the Code of Ethics
due to the visual presentation of a dangerous practice and had therefore not been prepared
with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and society in breach of Basic Principle
4 of the Code of Ethics.

The Complaints Board ruled the Complaint was Upheld

[Advertisement to be removed]

Please note this headnote does not form part of the Decision.




COMPLAINTS BOARD
DECISION

The Chair directed the Complaints Board to consider the advertisement with reference to Basic
Principle 4 and Rule 12 of the Code of Ethics. This required the Board to consider whether the
advertisement had been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and
society and whether it contained any visual presentation or description of dangerous or illegal
practices or situations which encourage a disregard for safety.

The Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Upheld






17/205
The Complaint
The Complainant was concerned about the health and safety aspect of showing a worker
having dry cement powder thrown in his face. As this substance can be caustic, they did not
believe that it should be part of an attempt at a humourous scenario, centred around the pun
"harden up"

The Advertiser's Response
The Advertiser confirmed that the advertisement was a light-hearted commercial showing over
exaggerated building site incidents. They explained that the advertisement was filmed in a
controlled environment using cosmetic powder. The substance was immediately washed off.
The Advertiser did not consider it realistic that the worker unloading the cement bags would
have been wearing protective goggles. The company stressed that they take health and safety
seriously.

The Media Response: Commercial Approvals Bureau
The CAB approved the advertisement with a General (G) classification. CAB defended the
advertisement, saying it progressed from unsafe to safe situations, therefore confirming that it
showed how worksite safety improved when the proper workwear was worn.

The Complaints Board Discussion
The Complaints Board began by discussing how the properties of concrete contains Calcium
Oxide which becomes Calcium Hydroxide when wet, making it an alkaline substance which
can burn eyes and skin.

The Complaints Board was unanimous in its view that, given the caustic nature of concrete, a
visual representation of a man receiving a face full of dry concrete powder elevated the
otherwise light-hearted depiction of work safety mishaps into a more serious health and safety
concern.

The Complaints Board agreed that the pun used in conjunction with the concrete segment of
the advertisement, where the worker was told to "Harden up," was problematic, as it could be
seen to trivialise the serious health risk concrete exposure to the skin and eyes could cause
and imply the worker should simply ignore the incident and 'get over it'.

The Complaints Board ruled that the advertisement had breached the threshold of Rule 12 of
the Code of Ethics by depicting a visual presentation of a dangerous practice. The Complaints
Board agreed that the advertisement did not necessarily encourage a disregard for safety, but
the Advertiser needed to be mindful of inadvertently condoning dangerous workplace
practises when attempting to take a humourous stance on workplace safety.

The Complaints Board said the advertisement was in breach of Rule 12 of the Code of Ethics
due to the visual presentation of a dangerous practice and had therefore not been prepared
with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and society and was in breach of Basic
Principle 4 of the Code of Ethics.

Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled to Uphold the complaint.




DESCRIPTION OF ADVERTISEMENT

The television advertisement for Bisley Workwear shows a series of mishaps on a building
site. A bag of concrete mix breaks open over a worker's face, a colleague cleans him off with
water while saying "Harden up mate". The worker has dust blown into his face, with his
colleague commenting "Bit dusty there buddy?" A pipe slips and pours water over the worker
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17/205
eating lunch. The co-worker say "Pipe down pal." Finally, the same worker has a bird poop"
on his head, with the last comment being, "Looks like it's your lucky day." The advertisement
ends with the tag-line, Bisley Workwear, we've got you covered.

COMPLAINT FROM J LETT

I'm concerned that this ad shows a tradie (not wearing safety glasses) getting a face full of
what appears to be dry concrete or cement powder, being hosed in the face by another man
and being told to "harden up". These building materials are extremely caustic and can cause
serious eye damage. Although the appropriate initial treatment IS to wash out with copious
water, any tradie should know this is potentially an emergency and they should seek urgent
medical assessment, not "harden up".


CODE OF ETHICS

Basic Principle 4: All advertisements should be prepared with a due sense of social
responsibility to consumers and to society.

Rule 12, Safety: Advertisements should not, unless justifiable on educational or social
grounds, contain any visual presentation or any description of dangerous or illegal
practices or situations which encourage a disregard for safety.

RESPONSE FROM ADVERTISER: BISLEY WORKWEAR

A basic, neutral description of the
A light hearted workwear commercial
showing over exaggerated building site
advertisement
events to promote Bisley Workwear apparel.
Date advertisement began
19th March 2017
Where the advertisement appeared
TV
Is the advertisement still accessible - where
Yes, TV until August
and until when?
Anyone who is required to wear workwear
Who is the product / brand target audience?
apparel in the industrial workplace.
Clear substantiation on claims that are
The incident where the tradie has got a
challenged by the complainant.
faceful of cement powder was exaggerated
and in fact was harmless cosmetic powder
used in a controlled environment with health
and safety personnel present. In real life this
would most probably be a small amount of
dirt and J Lett is correct that the procedure
used was to immediately wash the tradies
face. The second event clearly shows the
use of protective goggles which may not
generally be used by tradies in the first and
third event of the ad.
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17/205
This is a light-hearted ad and whilst Bisley
take Health and Safety seriously, we do like
to take a humorous approach to promoting
ourselves. As explained above this was
conducted in a controlled environment and is
meant to take a light hearted look at real
events in the workplace. This is the first
complaint we have received in Australia or
New Zealand. We would also like you to
consider that it is unrealistic that J. Lett's
suggestion of wearing goggles whilst
unloading a vehicle would occur in a
practical environment.

RESPONSE FROM MEDIA: COMMERCIAL APPROVALS BUREAU
We have been asked to respond to this complaint under the following codes:
Code of Ethics - Basic Principle 4, Rule 12;
CAB approved this Bisley Workwear commercial on 22/03/17 with a G classification. Under
CAB's internal procedures, the commercial is categorised as a Retail Clothing advertisement.
Bisley Workwear is an Australian company specialising in the sale of work and safety apparel,
including hi-vis jackets and leggings, flame-resistant coveralls, and insect protective apparel.
Their business is founded on the promotion of worksafe goods.
In the opening scene of the commercial, a worker who is not wearing safety glasses is covered
in dry cement - an unsafe situation. In the following scene, that same worker is covered in
sawdust, but this time he is wearing safety glasses - a safe situation.

The commercial has shown that worksite safety improves when the proper gear is worn (the
advertiser's product). Other scenes in the commercial highlight the durability and suitability of
Bisley products for a working environment (waterproofing, fibre resistance, etc.)
The message of wearing appropriate and high quality gear is presented quite clearly by the
advertiser, and the average NZ viewer will appreciate this fact.
Bisley's entire business model relies on consumers taking workplace safety seriously, and in
the preparation of their advertisement they have observed a keen sense of social
responsibility. Subsequently, CAB does not believe the advertiser should be penalised with
an upheld decision.

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