Mike Tyson UltraTune ad was #3 most complained about ad this year, but Ad Standards dismissed complaints anyway
Ad Standards has released a blog post naming the top ten most complained about ads so far in 2018. The list includes serial sexploitation offender UltraTune (#3) and the trailer for BDSM themed film ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ (#6).
From the post:
Community concerns about sexually suggestive content in advertising headlines the top 10 list of most complained about advertisements to 30 June. Concerns about violence are also highlighted.
So far this year Ad Standards has processed over 4,000 complaints, an increase of over 1,000 compared to the same period in 2017.
UltraTune have a reputation for sexually objectifying women in their advertising, depicting them as stupid and incompetent drivers- and they did so here. According to them, the vilification and humiliation of women is hilarious. Predictably, Ad Standards found that the women’s outfits were “not overly revealing” and they are shown to be “confident and in control”, and dismissed complaints.
The commercial, featuring convicted rapist Mike Tyson, attracted a whopping 134 complaints. Despite the overwhelming number of complaints over yet another UltraTune commercial that depicted women as brainless yet sexy, Ad Standards dismissed complaints.
It is clear that Ad Standards view of “community standards” is not in line with actual community standards.
A Collective Shout supporter has been offered a $200 voucher from Ultra Tune after making a complaint to their Head Office.
In what appears to be a cut and paste form letter, Ultra Tune National Customer Service Manager Tania Plumpton utilises a range of justifications for the company’s routine sexism.
“We are sorry that you hate our advertisements sexist toward women” (sic)
Ms Plumpton assures the complainant that Ultra Tune’s Executive Chairman, Sean Buckley “stands by” the ads (what a relief). Sean Buckley has previously insisted that the ads are funny, despite overwhelming feedback from the public that they are sexist and juvenile.
“Only 300 complaints were made”
According to Ms Plumpton, only 300 people complained about their latest “Unexpected Situations” ad (only 300!) which amounts to “0.006% of the audience”- with the implication being those who objected to the ad were a tiny minority.
It doesn’t work like that. In fact, research on customer complaints suggests that 96% of unhappy customers don’t complain (although 91% of these will not return), or that for every 26 unhappy customers, only one will lodge a formal complaint. Ultra Tune received 300.
Those of us who have ever made a formal complaint about an advertisement to the ASB know how difficult this process can be. The fact that more complaints are not being made is not an indication of community acceptance, but rather, a difficult and ineffective complaints process.
As advertising is not pre-vetted, it is up to members of the community to find the time to make a formal complaint for offending ads to be investigated in the first place. Many people are not aware that they can even make a complaint, or who they might complain to. Complainants must be able to describe the ad, including the channel it was on and at what time. Many others may be dissuaded from making a complaint given the process has consistently failed to lead to any successful outcome, leaving complainants to believe that making complaints is a waste of time and deterring them from bothering in the future.
This is not evidence of a successful advertising regulation system, it’s just the opposite.
Convicted rapist Mike Tyson went through a “dark period”
Ultra Tune’s latest ad went a step further, featuring convicted rapist Mike Tyson. The former boxer who bragged about beating his wife and described his enthusiasm for enacting sexual torture on women has “deep regret and remorse” for the “dark period in his life”, presumably, the time when he raped a woman and bashed his wife. Ultra Tune defends their decision to feature a convicted rapist in their ad because Tyson has appeared in other movies.
Sean Buckley gives money to sports
The letter goes on to boast about Sean Buckley’s “generous support” of local combat sports that would “simply cease to exist”, with athletes who “would not be able to realise their dreams within this sporting arena”. It is unclear what any of this has to do with complaints about Ultra Tune’s consistently sexually exploitative advertising.
Sexism sells so Ultra Tune will continue to profit from sexploitation
Ms Plumpton then argues the sexist advertising is effective, resulting in a steady growth in sales. Evidently ethics and corporate social responsibility have little weight so long as Ultra Tune can profit from the exploitation of women.
The letter concludes as follows:
“We take all of our complaints very seriously and whilst we disagree with your thoughts on our advertisement, we would like to extend to you a $200 voucher that you (or your family) can use in the next 12 months at any of our Ultra Tune centres throughout Australia.”
Ultra Tune believes that they can convince consumers to overlook their sexist advertising with a mere $200.
Have you made a complaint to Ultra Tune? Contact their Head Office today and ask for your $200 voucher: email@example.com
Watch Mike Tyson’s awkward interview on Sunrise
Just when you thought Ultra Tune couldn’t sink any lower…
Car parts and services chain Ultra Tune have a long history of sexist advertising. From rubber clad dominatrix women brandishing whips and feigning arousal at the site of tyres, to countless ads perpetuating sexist stereotypes of women as ‘dumb blondes’ who can’t operate their vehicles, Ultra Tune has attracted a huge amount of complaints. CEO Sean Buckley has dismissed complaints, insisting that his ads are indeed funny- despite even Ultra Tune franchise owners from around the country calling for the sexist ads to be removed.
Ultra Tune has hit a new low, with Mumbrella reporting that convicted rapist Mike Tyson is to be the new face of the brand:
Mike Tyson is set to replace Jean Claude Van Damme as the face of one of Australia’s most controversial advertisers, Ultra Tune.
Since shifting its strategy, the brand has been criticised for sexism and degrading women in its adverts and often features in the Ads Standards Board’s list of most-complained about ads.
Mumbrella had previously speculated Van Damme’s replacement could be WWE star John Cena. At the time, Ultra Tune’s national marketing manager Rod Cedaro told Mumbrella’s Automotive Marketing Summit: “John Cena hasn’t been signed yet but there has been discussions”.
It’s that time of year again. Every year in the lead up to Christmas, we release our annual blacklist of corporate offenders who have objectified women and sexualised girls throughout the year.
You can send a message about the importance of corporate social responsibility by ‘voting with your wallet’ and making ethical purchasing choices. Give these stores a miss this holiday season.
“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” –Anna Lapse
There are some things in life that are certain – Boxing Day sales, stocktake sales, and now, shockingly sexist Ultra Tune ads.
True to form, three free-to-air Ultra Tune advertisements have made the ASB’s 2017 most-complained-about ad list so far. Ultra Tune ads top the list with 357 complaints.Read more
During the coverage of the Australian Open this year, viewers were forced to sit through a series of monotonous and tiresome advertisements that ranged from banking adverts to whitewashed Australian television drama. Though tedious and boring, for the most part I was unfazed by them. There was one commercial, however, that I found not only irritating, but highly offensive and infuriating. It came from Ultra Tune.
In this advertisement (seen here), we see two women driving a car, and as they approach a set of traffic lights, the muffler detaches from their vehicle and falls to the road before catching fire. The two women scream and jump out of the car. One of them uses their phone to contact Ultra Tune, and the other fumbles with a fire extinguisher. Both the women then feel it would be a great idea to use using the fire extinguisher on each other, and we get close-up shots of their breasts and bottoms. The footage slows down to focus on these body parts, and the women start screaming again and run from the car as it explodes, spraying oil all over them.
Ultra Tune CEO Sean Buckley insists his sexist ads are clever and funny, and that it's only 'middle aged feminists' objecting to them. We thought we'd set the record straight.Read more
*Insert head desk*
Yes you read it right, here we are again, talking about Ultra Tune and their sexist ads. We've written about Ultra Tune numerous times, they have featured on our #CrossedOff list for the last three years and were also in the Top 10 most complained about ads for 2016.
This week they launched video #5 in their 'Unexpected Situations' series which is set to be televised during the Australian Open (you know, when families and kids are watching). The ad involves close ups of womens sexualised parts whilst spraying each other with a fire extinguisher. We are supposed to believe they are attempting to put out a car fire but the display more closely resembles a wet T-shirt competition.Read more
With your support, Collective Shout has continued to challenge sexploitation at every level during 2016. It is because of our supporters all over the country (and overseas) that our collective voice and impact continues to grow so thank you and here's to keeping up the fight in 2017!