Australian domain company Crazy Domains recently ran a tasteless television advert that attracted the ire of some Australian women. One of them did what many internet users do and blogged about it. So offended was she that one or two bad words came out in her blog entry.
Just like what happened elsewhere with Phorm, Paperchase, Jan Moir, Nestle et al, she urged friends to look at the advert and, if they felt as she did to complain to the Advertising Standards Bureau.
I’m led to believe that a few of Logansrogue’s friends did indeed complain to the ASB. As is their right to do so. The ASB judged the advert and ordered its suspension. The Crazy Domains MD, one Gavin Collins, wasn’t happy with the judgement and filed an appeal.
OK, nothing too out of the ordinary there you might think. Companies often disagree with organisations like the ASB ands the UK’s own ASA (of whom I have a very low opinion, but that’s a different story).
The text of Collins’ appeal letter is interesting. In some ways it smacks of the smear tactics attempted by Phorm. It definitely smacks of complete ignorance of the validity of the complainants. Just like Phorm. Just like Phorm tried to slate Alexander Hanff about his complaint to a nappy maker so Mr Collins has launched into an attack on Logansrogue both in his response to the initial ASB enquiry and his appeal.
He spluttered that she had “vested interests”, and failed to back up his accusation. He already said that “the feminist bloggers on the said site” (there’s only one!) did not “represent the majority of society”. That feminists were “unreasonable” and “overly sensitive”. That the ad was just a joke (yes, I call bingo). There’s nothing new to add.
Also, since when did the ASB pull ads based on complaint numbers? Last time I looked, they consider an ad, and if it doesn’t fall within the standards, they make their ruling. They don’t run a poll.
Now there’s very little difference between some of the anti-illegal use of DPI discussions I’ve seen about Phorm and what Logansrogue wrote in her journal. What is it with internet companies who don’t understand that if you do, create or say something inappropriate you will get taken to the cleaners via social media?
Here’s a message to Gavin Collins:
Gav, if you create a tasteless piece of junk like that advert then people will challenge you over it. They have the right to do so. How you respond to that will dictate how people see you and your company. Some companies realise they’ve fouled up, apologise and work to reassure the offended and potential customers that they have learned from their mistake.
Others plough on regardless, spewing out more garbage and doing their own reputation and that of their company no good whatsoever. I think I know which camp you’re falling into Gav. Now you probably haven’t read Lauredhel’s report so I’ll reproduce here the comments I left there. They are intended for you so I’m sure Lauredhel won’t mind. After all, her article speaks volumes without my comment.
By behaving as you have, you show that you have no understanding of the power of social media. You see Gav, when someone does or says something offensive (and I’ve seen your “advert”; it lacks any kind of taste and is completely inappropriate for broadcast) it will invariably get highlighted on the internet.
This is the way of the internet powered age Gav. You come up with something offensive, those you have offended will respond and demand that you are held to account. Paperchase, Phorm, Nestle, Jan Moir, the list of people and companies who have yet to realise this is growing.
Your “defence” is in itself inappropriate. If an advert is in breach of the advertising code then numbers of complaints do not matter, the advert is in breach of the code and that is that. Your “advert” offended someone to the point of using bad language. That’s how offensive your “advert” was.
You question the legitimacy of the complaints. That’s the standard response of someone who hasn’t actually got a leg to stand on. Phorm tried that in the UK and got taken down by the backlash they caused. If one person can cause you this much trouble then you really need to rethink a) your advertising strategy and b) the suitability of the leadership in handling these valid complaints.
This isn’t victimisation Gav, it’s what happens when someone comes out with offensive garbage and is challenged. Grow up, look around and get real. If you don’t then Gavin Collins and Crazy Domains will be forever associated with tasteless sexist crap.
I know Australia is an odd case generally with their New Labouresque desire to control what people do and see on the internet yet at the same time allowing Coon Cheese to be sold and advertised. But I’m sure there are things about England that you might think don’t fit together too well.
Seriously Gav, your response oozes bitterness. It is not a calm, thoughtful response. It is a bitter rant against one person who saw your “advert”, was offended by it and exercised her right (along with over 30 others) to complain and against the ASB who agreed with the complaints. What you’ve experienced here is called vox populi. That you of all people don’t understand the increasing voice social media gives to people says enough about your fitness to lead an internet company.
And Gav, you really do need to learn what “vested interests” means. Here’s an example for you. That’s a vested interest. Holding an opinion or a belief isn’t a vested interest.
BTW, I showed the “advert” to some friends to get their opinions. Thanks to you I learned about something I really had no desire to know about. To me you will forever be associated with tasteless sexist crap.