Civil defence quake ads not 'insensitive' to Chch kids
Television commercials showing school children how to protect themselves in an earthquake have been branded as “insensitive”.
The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management has a series of four commercials showing young children in a classroom being told to “drop, cover and hold” to be safe during a quake.
The ads end with the presenter saying: ”They know what to do. Shouldn’t you?”
However, complainant M Edmonds said: "I find it very insensitive to the school children of Christchurch … to see the children practicing what to do in an earthquake and at the end come out laughing…
"Many times during the last 22 months children have had to come out in to practice the drop, cover and hold. I can assure you that not one of them has come out of the earthquake laughing.”
But in a judgment issued by the Advertising Standards Authority today, complaints board chairwoman Jenny Robson dismissed the complaint, though accepting the “sincerity” of the complainant.
The advertisements were in the category of advocacy advertising and contained important safety messages educating the public about how to reduce the chance of being injured during earthquakes, the judgment says.
The advertiser was identified in the commercial and complied with rules on ethics.
While she acknowledged that many Christchurch children were still traumatised by their experiences, Ms Robson said the nationwide campaign shared important information using young children to illustrate the safety messages, the judgment says.
“The chairwoman agreed that the demeanor of the children in the advertisement was clearly not representative of the children that had experienced earthquakes and ongoing substantial aftershocks."
The intent of the advertisement was to educate the public in areas that have not experienced strong earthquakes and would not be likely to cause either serious or widespread offence as such, and was prepared with a due sense of social responsibility, the judgment says.
There was no breach of ethics and no grounds for the complaint to proceed.