Following a decade campaigning against Wicked Camper vans for their sexist, degrading and abusive slogans - some even making jokes of rape, torture and murder - Collective Shout can announce victory.
After the long campaign against the vans for slogans such as “The difference between marmalade and jam is you can’t marmalade your cock down your girlfriend’s throat”, our perseverance has paid off, with state transport ministers signing an agreement to de-register vans carrying slogans like this.
A history of our activism against Wicked Campers, included petitions, persuading Lonely Planet to dump endorsement of the company, a successful collaboration with Wollombi Music Festival to ban entry of all Wicked vans and ongoing lobbying of MPs. (A more detailed history can be found here).
Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT enacted legislation to de-register Wicked Camper vans where Ad Standards had upheld complaints against them. NT went even further, with a decision to de-register vans unconditional on any Ad Standards determination. While these moves were welcome, Collective Shout pointed out that given the vans routinely crossed borders, uniform legislation was needed across the country.
Now, under the new plan agreed on at a national meeting of transport ministers, Wicked Campers with offensive slogans will be banned from registration in all states and territories. Each state has agreed to deregister vans that do not remove offensive slogans following a complaint, and to ensure that the van cannot be re-registered in another jurisdiction.
Movement Director Melinda Tankard Reist said the decade-long campaign was necessary due to a failed system of advertising self-regulation. “Ad Standards has no authority to enforce its rulings, and there are no penalties for non-compliance. Wicked Campers repeatedly and defiantly breached the advertising code of ethics with no consequences – more than 80 times since 2010” Ms Tankard Reist said.
The company was fuelling a culture in which violence against women thrived. Unaddressed, Wicked Campers’ messages served to undermine efforts to eradicating violence against women.
“At a time when governments are finally acknowledging the links between sexist attitudes and harmful behaviours, (see Women’s Health Victoria ‘Advertising (in)equality, 2018), funding anti-violence, respectful relationships and consent programs, it seemed remarkable that they could allow Wicked’s mobile misogyny to go unrestrained for so long,” Ms Tankard Reist said.
“We welcome this move. But it’s not the end. We need to see stronger regulation applied to other recalcitrant companies which refuse to abide by the Australian Association of National Advertisers Code of Ethics and which continue to put their vested interests above the wellbeing of the community.”