Angry boss radio ad ruled "offensive to Germans"

Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:10am EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Britain's advertising watchdog has banned a radio ad featuring a man speaking loudly in German and which asked: "Is your boss a bit of a tyrant?"

Thirteen listeners complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), saying it used an outdated stereotype.

The advert for the Reed Online recruitment agency featured a man speaking to his boss who responded angrily and loudly in German. The voice-over said: "Boss a bit of a tyrant? Find your perfect boss on the UK's biggest job site ..."

The ASA said: "We concluded that, given the extreme reaction and aggressive tone of the German speaking boss, the ad reinforced a negative and outdated cultural stereotype of German people as overpowering and tyrannical and therefore the ad had the potential to cause serious offence to some listeners."

It banned the advert for breaching rules on good taste and decency.

Reed did not comment but industry body the Radio Advertising Clearance Center said it believed most listeners would regard the scenario as humorous and inoffensive.

It said the boss character was a generic "German-sounding orator," which they believed was a well established type in British comedy culture.

(Reporting by Stephen Addison; Editing by Paul Casciato)