Okay, so it’s one thing to notice and criticize ads that are demeaning, racist or hateful. But I’ve been thinking lately that maybe I have a duty to also contact the owners of the ad that I wrote about here and also here, and let them know that I think their ad is racist. Or maybe I have a duty to the bus company that published the ad. Or maybe I should just contact the Advertising Standards of Canada. I took a quick look and it appears as though this ad breaks number 14 of the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards:
14. Unacceptable Depictions and Portrayals
It is recognized that advertisements may be distasteful without necessarily conflicting with the provisions of this clause 14; and the fact that a particular product or service may be offensive to some people is not sufficient grounds for objecting to an advertisement for that product or service.
Advertisements shall not:
(a) condone any form of personal discrimination, including that based upon race, national origin, religion, sex or age;
(b) appear in a realistic manner to exploit, condone or incite violence; nor appear to condone, or directly encourage, bullying; nor directly encourage, or exhibit obvious indifference to, unlawful behaviour;
(c) demean, denigrate or disparage any identifiable person, group of persons, firm, organization, industrial or commercial activity, profession, product or service or attempt to bring it or them into public contempt or ridicule;
(d) undermine human dignity; or display obvious indifference to, or encourage, gratuitously and without merit, conduct or attitudes that offend the standards of public decency prevailing among a significant segment of the population.
I’ll keep you posted as to what I do next.