Wicked van causes offence on holiday
‘Tasteless, not very witty and unnecessary’
Controversial slogans on Wicked camper vans has caused a stir again but despite complaints to Advertising Standards Authority being upheld, it can not force the company to remove them.
Last week police demanded offensive slogans on aWicked Campers van hired from Queenstown be removed.
Australian Mark McLeod hired a van for a holiday driving around the lower South Island which featured a picture of a dog with a chicken in its mouth with the caption ‘‘I’m as happy as a b.... with a c... in her mouth’’ and picture of a chicken and a donkey saying ‘‘this c... loves a..’’.
Authority complaints manager Alison Hopkins said it upheld two complaints about the company this year.
A complaint was laid after a van featuring Gangnam Style singer Psy next to the message ‘‘Up the bum no babies’’ was seen in Queenstown and another saying ‘‘go F... yourself San Diego’’ in Lyttelton.
Since 2011 the authority had upheld five complaints.
‘‘There have been more but we require people to take a photo of it,’’ Hopkins said.
While the authority expected advertisers to abide by the ruling on complaints, and most do because they do not want the government involved or receive a fine, they can not force them to paint their vans, she said.
‘‘It’s pretty much impossible to enforce,’’ she said.
There had been instances where a complaint had been upheld but people had seen the same van and it hadn’t been painted, she said.
McLeod, who was on an 11-day holiday, was approached by two police officers who took offence to the sign writing on his van during a stop in Otautau.
Constable Chris Wakelin, of Otautau, said the van was brought to police attention when McLeod parked outside the police station where he and Constable Dave Cowie noticed it through the window.
‘‘It was offensive enough to take notice and speak to the renter,’’ Wakelin said.
‘‘I advised them (Wicked Campers) it was too offensive and it needed to be taken off the road,’’ he said.
While Wicked Camper vans were often seen in the town, ‘‘this is by far the worst we have seen,’’ he said.
Some people laughed during his trip but most gave McLeod disapproving looks.
‘‘I wasn’t offended but I hated offending other people. I did apologise to everyone that saw me with the van,’’ McLeod said.
‘‘It would be funny if I wasn’t the person driving it. I do find it tasteless and not very witty and a bit unnecessary,’’ he said.
Company junior executive vice president Ross Dudgeon said it had no official reply on the incident ‘‘other than we can’t see what the big deal is’’.
A staff member confirmed the van was repainted.
Rude: The Wicked Campers van which has been repainted after police demanded the sign writing be removed.
Awkward: Australian Mark McLeod was forced to apologise to several Southland residents who took offence to the slogans on the Wicked Campers van he hired.