Wicked van causes of­fence on hol­i­day

‘Taste­less, not very witty and un­nec­es­sary’

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By CHE BAKER

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.

Photo: SUP­PLIED

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.

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