A Brisbane-based camper hire company has sparked outrage after the slogan "Fat chicks are harder to kidnap" appeared on one of its vehicles.
Wicked Campers has been strongly criticised by the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) which upheld a complaint against the company, claiming that it breached Section 2.6 of the Advertiser Code of Ethics.
According to this section, advertising or marketing communications should not depict material contrary to prevailing community standards on health and safety.
"There is significant community concern regarding kidnap, especially in light of current high profile cases involving the abduction and murder of children both in Australia and overseas," the board's judgement said.
"Kidnap is illegal and... this advertisement is making light of, and encouraging, behaviour which is against prevailing community standards on safety".
The bureau rejected the claim that the slogan was misogynistic and offensive to women, however.
The judgement considered the reference to "fat girls" to be general and not directed at a specific person.
"The board considered that the reference to fat girls in this instance, whilse tasteless and not a nice reference, does not meet the threshold for being discriminatory or vilifying towards overweight females or to females in general.
"The board considered that the advertisement did not depict material that discriminated against or vilified sections of society."
The camper company has a history of tagging its campers with humorous slogans.
Other Wicked Campers designs that have courted controversy include:
- "Save a whale, harpoon a Jap"
- "Save a tree, eat a beaver"
- "If God were a woman would sperm taste like chocolate?"
- "I wouldn't trust anything that bleeds for five days and doesn't die"
- "I'm straight, don't rear-end me"
ASB CEO Fiona Jolly told News Limited that the company's controversial graffiti-style painted vans have been the subject of more than 40 advertising complaints since 2008.
Wicked Campers declined to comment.