A new advertisement for AAMI insurance has recently started airing on commercial channels in Australia. The ad, called “Rhonda Goes to Bali”, continues the story of safe driver ‘Rhonda’ (below) who is rewarded by going to Bali and receiving a foot massage from an overbearingly stereotyped Balinese woman. You can watch the advertisement through this link.
When searching through professional reviews of this ad, I was shocked to find not one mentioned anything negative about the content, as I found it quite racist the first time I viewed it! After a lot of searching, I managed to find a forum questioning its ethical standing. Those who posted in the forum argued that this advertisement used stereotypes of Asian women as a basis for making it humorous. Using racism as a joke. Original.
The Balinese women depicted in this ad speak in disjointed English and are very willing, even fighting, over the chance to massage Rhonda’s feet, as you can see from the still shot below.
Judging by these stereotypes, it’s fair to say this advertisement does in fact breach the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) code of ethics:
“2.1 Advertising or Marketing Communications shall not portray people or depict material in a way which discriminates against or vilifies a person or section of the community on account of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, sexual preference, religion, disability, mental illness or political belief.”
Even though I’m sure this advertisement had harmless intentions, racism is racism, no matter what way it is presented. It has breached the AANA code of ethics and from the positive reception this ad has received, I’m worried “Rhonda Goes to Bali” also reflects Australia’s poor attitude towards racism.
If you also find this ad breaches the AANA code of ethics, click this link to make a stance.