The Advertising Regulatory Board has dismissed a consumer complaint against a Wimpy television and YouTube commercial promoting the Double Double dish with cheeseburgers and fries.
The complaint stated that the dish should have been a healthier dietary option “to seek to promote wellness support for older communities already struggling with various chronic health conditions.”
Among other things, the committee’s directorate noted that the ad didn’t mean older women just because they portrayed older women Food should be monitored.
The ad is based on a group of older women from a Stokvel group being coached by a younger woman on how they can digitize their party.
In the first scene, they wear a pink uniform, but as they learn to digitize their party, their attire becomes more modern. The young woman says: “Ladies and gentlemen, Bambanani Stokvel is going digital. Hashtagsiyotrender [we will trend].”
She delegates the role of every woman: “Ausi Bonolo, you will update our social media. Sister Rebecca, stokvel fashion. MaKhumalo, you will share photos.”
The final place is the restaurant where the young woman says, “Wait. Halt,” and “Aah Bambanani” as they pose for selfies with their burgers.
A male voice interrupts their activities at the table and says, “Sharing isn’t for everyone, but you can for R79.90 you get the wimpy double double cheeseburger and fries. It might be the last thing you don’t need to share.”
Tsholofelo Raisibe Galane addressed the board and complained that she felt the commercial was offensive “as it disregards the well-being of the black senior community and it’s also impartial to its older target market, depicting older women eating burgers, an unhealthy meal for their age.”
Healthier options could have been chosen to try and support well-being to promote older communities “already struggling with various chronic health conditions”.
She also complained that the commercial only features black people.
In her response, Wimpy said:
- The use of Stokvel Ladies is a tongue-in-cheek creative take on one of the elements that is uniquely South African. It often uses different types of cultural nuances present in South African society in its advertising.
- It does not specifically target older women in its advertising as its target audience is mostly younger people who do often visit restaurants.
- Other races are not portrayed in advertisements as Stokvel are a unique tradition among a certain group of people.
The Advertising Authority said in its decision : “The Directorate acknowledges the complainant’s concerns and sensitivities regarding racial issues and discrimination against older people. Both are real challenges for society and advertisers. However, the content of the advertisement must be viewed objectively from the point of view of the hypothetically reasonable person.
“The women in the advertisement are not portrayed negatively. No burden is imposed on them and no benefit is denied to them.”
The management has used accepted stereotypes to some extent in this commercial in relation to the race and age group of the stokvel members. “However, this is neither negative nor does it exploit or humiliate the characters because of their race and gender.”
Regarding the choice of food, the management commented: “There is a risk that the elderly will be patronised, what an is already a form of ageism.”
“Older adults are However, adults have the right to make their own food choices. A double cheese burger and fries isn’t the healthiest choice for anyone, but the fact that the ladies in the commercials are older doesn’t mean their eating should be monitored.
“If the management found out about the commercials should older people not demonstrate eating certain foods, they should apply the same test to anyone eating that food.”
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