'We're not going to police what the elderly eat': Ad regulators – TimesLIVE

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The Advertising Regulatory Board has dismissed a consumer complaint against a Wimpy television and YouTube commercial promoting their “double double” cheeseburger and chips meal.
The complaint included that the meal should have been a healthier food option “to try to encourage wellness support for elderly communities who are already battling different chronic health conditions”.
The board’s directorate found, among other things, that just because the commercial depicted older women, it did not mean their eating should be policed.
The advert is based on a group of older women from a stokvel group being trained by a younger woman about how to make their group go digital.
In the first scene they wear a pink uniform, but as they learn how to take their group digital, their clothing gets more modern. The young woman says: “Ladies, Bambanani stokvel is going digital. Hashtagsiyotrender [we are going to trend].”
She delegates each woman’s role: “Ausi Bonolo, you will be updating our social media. Sis Rebecca, stokvel fashion. MaKhumalo, you will be sharing photos.”
The end location is the restaurant, where the young woman says: “Hold it. Hold it,” and “Aah Bambanani” as they pose for selfies with their burgers.
A male voice interrupts their table activities and states: “Sharing is not for everyone, but for R79.90 you can get the Wimpy Double Double Cheeseburger and chips. It might just be the last thing … you don’t have to share”.
Tsholofelo Raisibe Galane approached the board, complaining that, in her opinion, the commercial is offensive “as it disregards the wellness of the black elderly community and it is also impartial to its elderly target market by depicting elderly women eating burgers, an unhealthy meal at their age”.
Healthier options could have been selected to try to encourage wellness support for elderly communities “who are already battling different chronic health conditions”.
She also complained the commercial only features black people.
In their response Wimpy said:
The advertising board, in its ruling, said: “The directorate recognises the complainant’s concerns and sensitivities with regard to racial issues and the discrimination of the aged. These are both real challenges facing society and advertisers. However, the content of the commercial has to be considered objectively from the viewpoint of the hypothetical reasonable person.
“The women in the advertisement are not portrayed negatively. No burden is imposed on them and no benefit is withheld from them.”
The directorate acknowledged role-stereotypes were used to a certain extent in this commercial with regard to the race and age range of stokvel members. “However, this is not negative nor does it exploit or demean the characters on the basis of their race and gender.”
On the food choice, the directorate commented, “there is a danger in becoming paternalistic about the aged, which is a form of age discrimination in itself”.
“Older adults are nonetheless adults entitled to make their own nutrition choices. A double cheese burger and chips is not the healthiest meal choice for anyone, but the fact that the ladies in the commercial are older does not mean their eating should be policed.
“If the directorate were to find that commercials should not show older people eating certain food, it would have to apply the same test to anybody eating the food in question.”
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