In Drinks - Beer by Clyde Mooney

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Carlton & United Breweries has been chastised and ordered to cease a campaign for its Rusty Yak Gingery Ale, after the ad was found to “vilify” people with red hair.

The Advertising Standards Bureau received many complaints after the ad aired on TV, encouraging Australians to “stop the spread of the ginger gene”. (below)

The ads creators, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, claimed the TVC spoke of red-headed people in a “light-hearted and humorous way”, but the complainants described it more akin to “bullying” and “discriminating”.

One person was incensed enough to begin a petition demanding its removal.

“It implies there is something wrong with having red hair and says ‘we need your help to stop the spread of the gene’.

“Would it be OK to advertise a black stout in the same manner?”

The media watchdog ultimately agreed with the complainants, ordering CUB remove screenings of the commercial and stating the “vilifying of people with red hair” went too far, even by assumed larrikin standards.

“The phrase ‘stop the spread of the gene’ overstepped the line between being light-hearted humour and made a strong suggestion that an identifiable group of the population was to be considered unpopular,” said the report by Ad Standards.