The interview didn't focus on the Lisa advert at all. It was instead about the shock nature of the ads, and mainly discussed the violence of the other two stories, in particular when Mark accidentally smashes his young nephew against a wall. They are brutal ads, and actually I tend to think that the Mark and Danny ones are appropriate - they show very real consequences of binge drinking, and they tell real stories. But all three adverts play the blame game. In two they get it right - Mark and Danny are responsible for the pain they cause themselves and others because of their drinking. But Lisa is not. She doesn't hurt anyone, yet she is hurt herself, in a horrible way (although, unlike the harm in the other two adverts, the violence she suffers happens off camera). ALAC however choose to brand Lisa as responsible for her own violation.
Since I heard the interview, I've been itching to get to the keyboard and rant about ALAC pulling out The Rape Myth That Won't Die - namely "she was drunk so it's all her fault." Maia beat me to it, and you should go read her excellent and succint post.
I won't go over the points that Maia has made, but I did want to add one more issue about the ad and the rape myths it perpetuates - namely that stranger rape in a dark alley (whether you are drunk or sober) is How Rape Happens. Actually most rapists know their victims, often already very intimately. Strangers are not usually the real danger.
This post isn't about how mad the ad makes me, or how wrong it is that ALAC is repeating and reinforcing falsehoods about rape in what would otherwise be a timely and necessary set of ads. This post is about what you can do if you feel the same way I do.
There are two avenues of complaint that I am aware of at the present time. (Please feel free to add more in comments if you have details):
A. Write directly to ALAC. Their contact details are here and for those who can't be bothered with the click-through, their main email is central (at) alac (dot) org (dot) nz. Make sure that you make it crystal clear you are making an "official complaint". I heard the ALAC man interviewed on the radio say that they had only had 2 "official complaints", and I believe those are about the violence towards a child in the Mark ad.
B. Write to the Advertising Standards Authority. The ASA deals with any complaint, from any person who feels that the ASA's Codes have been breached. Personally I think the Lisa advert breaches two parts of the Ethics section of the Codes, namely:
3. No advertisement should be misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive the consumer.
4. All advertisements should be prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and to society.
The process for writing a complaint to the ASA is very simple:
The Board then deals with it in the manner outlined here.
Complaints should be addressed to the Secretary, Advertising Standards Complaints Board, PO Box 10-675, Wellington. Complaints should be in writing, dated and signed by the complainant. Complaints can also be made using the online complaints form at http://www.asa.co.nz/complaint_form.php. Where the complaint involves a print advertisement, a copy of the advertisement should be included. Where a television or radio advertisement is the subject of a complaint, the approximate time, date and station of broadcast should be specified.
I'll be writing to both bodies hopefully in the next few days, and will put a copy up here once I've done it. The more people who express their outrage the more likely it becomes that ALAC will re-think the Lisa ad, and hopefully replace it with something that sheets home the blame for rape correctly - to the rapist, not the raped.