An Australian rental van company has had one of its vans banned by the ad watchdog for its transphobic and sexist messaging.
The banned message, which appeared across the front of one of the vans owned by Wicked Campers, said: “you’re not a woman until humans come out of your vagina and trample on your dreams.”
The registration plate for the van identified that it was registered in Queensland, Australia.
A complaint to the Advertising Standards Bureau (ABS) described the branding as “offensive, degrading and just not right.”
Following a review into the lodged complaint, the Ad Standards Community Panel determined that the reference to a female not being a woman until she has given vaginal birth is “humiliating to women who have had a caesarean delivery, do not have children, are unable to have children, or are transgender.”
The panel also determined that the advert breached Section 2.1 of the AANA Code of Ethics for its unfair treatment and humiliating message.
The rental van company did not provide a response to the Bureau following the review by the panel.
Wicked Campers have faced over 100 complaints regarding its “under-graduate” style of marketing
In attempts to be seen as edgy, the camper van brand is known to contain controversial graphics and messaging on its vehicles and has faced numerous complaints from the Bureau in the past.
In 2009, a complaint was lodged to the Bureau after a van was seen with the message “I never think about gay sex… Like fuck.” Other messages to be reported include “virginity is curable,” “I’m straight; don’t rear end me,” and “a wife is an attachment you screw on the bed to get housework done.”
In 2014, novelist Jane Caro wrote in The Guardian that the messaging behind the brand’s advertising campaign was “under-graduate, smutty, sniggery and – if you’ll excuse the expression – cocky.”
It was reported in 2017 that Wicked Campers had become the first brand to be the subject of 100 different complaint investigations by the ASB. The majority of complaints were in relation to misogynistic, racist or homophobic jokes and slogans.
Under legislation in Queensland and Tasmania, complaints upheld by the ASB are referred to the Department of Transport and Main Roads. The department can then cancel the offending vehicle’s registration if the offensive messaging isn’t removed within 14 days.
In November, South Australian Labor MP Katrine Hildyard called for the slogans to be banned nationwide, saying: “These slogans on these Wicked Campers vans absolutely… promote sexism, racism and violence against women.”
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