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Mars NZL Ltd
DATE OF MEETING
6 November 2017
No Grounds to Proceed
Advertisement: The television advertisement for Skittles showed a boy with 'Skittles Pox'
and was shown with Skittles lollies all over his body. A girl picks a Skittle off the boy's skin
and as she eats it asks "are they contagious?". The girl is then shown covered in 'Skittles
Pox' as wel .
The Chair ruled there were no grounds for the complaint to proceed.
Complainant, M O'Driscoll, said: "I wish to complain that this ad displays someone with a
skin infection and then another person picking it off their face and eating it! I understand it is
confectionary however cannot imagine why anyone would want to pick stuff off someones
else face, and then they call it "skittlepox". The definition of pox is "any of several viral
diseases producing a rash of pimples that become pus-filled and leave pockmarks on
healing." I think this is in poor taste and would like to see it banned from television."
The relevant provisions were Code of Ethics - Basic Principle 4, Rule 4.
The Chair noted the Complainant's concern that it was inappropriate to show a person
picking off a "Skittlepox" from someone's face and eating it.
While Chair acknowledged it was not ideal to show someone picking a Skittle of someone's
face and eating it, she took into account that it was part of the intended humour of an
imaginary disease where your skin becomes covered in Skittles. The Chair noted the
Complainant's concerns but was of the view the advertisement was lighthearted and, taking
into account generally prevailing community standards, it was unlikely to cause serious or
widespread offence to most people.
The Chair ruled the advertisement was not in breach of Rule 4 of the Code of Ethics and
had been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and society and
was not in breach of Basic Principle 4 of the Code of Ethics.
Accordingly, the Chair ruled the complaint had no grounds to proceed.
Chair's Ruling: Complaint No Grounds to Proceed