Australia: Racier Commercials?

I live in the US, and every once in a while there’s a tv show that basically just runs nastily funny ads. Most of the more “controversial” commercials- which I just love- seem to come from Australia (I’m guessing from the accents).
Are Aussie commercials more riske as a rule, or did we just get the cream of the crop for the show?

I’ve long suspected Oz dwellers to be less uptight than Americans, and I plan on seeing for myself someday.

Pretty much everywhere else in the western world has racier TV than the US. A lot of what we would only show on pay cable is on broadcast TV.

I thought our ads were pretty average, but then I haven’t seen much US tv (except on the same sort of ‘Best Of’ shows).
Having said that, there was a pretty cool ad on a couple of years ago.
Picture if you will, a very attractive 20 something woman reclined on a bed wearing skimpy knickers and a singlet top.
Her belly is covered with ants: cut to a cute little echidna scuttling up the side of the bed. Woman looks down, smiles knowingly to herself, then utters those infamous words…
“Sic 'em Rex”.

Very cheeky.

I’ll send this over to Cafe Society where most television-related topics go.

I think in general, Australian censorship is not as strict as its US equivalent, although there seems to be an increased trend towards conservatism in both countries in the last decade or so. I watched a comedy show which replayed a flavoured milk commercial from the 1970s, purely for its unintended humour (to a modern viewer). It featured glamourous types on a beach. The women had unfeasibly enormous breasts, and incredibly tiny bikinis. The guys were pouring the flavoured milk all over the women. Even if it weren’t an incredibly stupid ad, there’s no way on earth that it would be accepted for regular airing on contemporary Aussie TV (outside of a comedy show).

The word “fuck” makes a regular appearance on TV in the “adult” timeslot (IIRC, after 8:30pm). I’ve also heard “c*nt”, although very rarely. “Shit” isn’t even noticed. This is in scheduled programming mind you, not advertising. Full-frontal nudity and fairly steamy sex scenes are shown, especially on SBS, which is the network that shows foreign and “arty” stuff.

I think Telemark’s comment was correct. Australian censorship is pretty average when compared to most other countries. We aren’t unusually permissive. The United States has a reputation for conservatism in these matters.

Advertising is reasonably tame by comparison, although I’d wager the American stuff is tamer.

Yeah, the US is very uptight about censorship, but it had been much more free in the months prior to September 11[sup]th[/sup]. However, it did become more uptight again after.

How can anyone hold the opinion that America has conservative censorship laws? Programmes like Sex and the City and The Mind of the Married Man are extremely explicit. I believe they are shown on cable television only in the U.S. though which means they have to be paid for. Is that correct? In NZ they are not on cable or on Sky (pay) TV but on public television. Private broadcasting and public broadcasting seem to abide by different sets of censorship laws.

Sex and the City shows at 9:30 here on Australian TV. I remember an Australian friend of mine was really surprised that it wasn’t available on public television in the US.

I don’t know that we’re necessarily more permissive about what goes in TV ads - when watching those “Best of advertising shows”, the raciest ones seem to come from Europe. That Antz Pantz ad kambuckta mentioned was a high point, and the milk ad TLD was talking about was a 70s thing. Anyone tried to get that on air today, there’d be a queue of people lining up to protest.

TV programming itself…well, yes, Sex and the City is on free to air, fairly early in the evening - and there was always Number 96.

Censorship with regards to TV is largely sef-regulated in the US, I believe, as it is in Australia. It’s not the government telling NBC or ABC what to show or not show. This is probably handled by the parent company which is GE and Disney respectively IIRC. Of course, if they were to feature bestiality or snuff movies, they would quickly find themselves being stepped on by the government (not to mention their advertisers as they are the ones that really count)

The idea is that because they broadcast free to air, viewers aren’t considered to be actively subscribing to the content and the broadcaster feels the content has to be regulated for the more conservative part of the audience. HBO and the Comedy Channel, OTOH, are actively subscribed to and their audiences can be considered to know what they are letting themselves in for, so to speak.

Most western societies outside of the US have a more liberal approach to sex and this is reflected in what programmers will include in their free to air content. Hence, it really doesn’t have anything to do with the censorship laws. If anything, I have a feeling Australia might have more restrictive laws on the books, it’s just that they don’t come into play much. Were it not for the First Amendment, you can guarantee it would be the other way around though.

So, in Australia and the US at least, it seems censorship has more to do with prevailing attitudes and America does indeed have more conservative attitudes in this regard.

The airwaves are considered a public resource in the US. As such they are subject to government regulation, hence the FCC. The FCC does regulate what programming can or cannot be viewed on American broadcast TV. Non-broadcast TV is not subject to the same scrutiny.

There’s the Oz commercial for turkey bacon that is always being shown on American shows about the best commercials. One of the best commercials ever made!

My experience has been that the way many Americans are offended by other countries’ racier television moments, people in those other countries are aghast at the amount of violence that’s allowed on in the States.

Given the choice, I’d rather see some bare breasts than someone’s head explode any day.

you answered yourself there. yes, the u.s gets sex in the city, but they have to pay to see it. us in oz and youse in nz get all the sex in all the cities we want for free.

well, not exactly

and yes, mersavets is right; australia does have laws concerning censorship that [i consider] are quite prohibitive. however, the u.s is governed by commercial forces, and are hence much more tightly controlled.

i blame it on the large population size. all them conservative whingers.

…I don’t get it…

What the hell is turkey bacon? :slight_smile: I’ve never heard of it.

One area where we seem to be doing something out of the norm in advertising is in our shock-advertising awareness campaigns for driver safety and quitting smoking. I happened to watch Oprah yesterday, and there was a woman who quit smoking after Oprah showed a clip of the Australian anti-smoking commercial that follows smoke down into the airways and graphically shows what it does to your lungs.

I remember when those ads first started - mainly the anti-drink driving and anti-speeding commercials - and how horrified many of us were at the level of realism in them. That one where someone is trapped in a burning car still haunts my nightmares. I’m curious to know if we’re still on our own showing this type of commercial? Does America have graphic depictions of car accidents shown on TV to increase driver awareness? While I understand that they made an impact on the Australian public and helped get the road toll down, I can’t help but feel sorry for anyone who has lost someone in an accident like the ones they show. Must be very painful for them.

Oh, and in answer to the OP, I don’t think our ads are more risque than in other countries. Whenever a Daddo* hosts a “Naughtiest Commercials”, the ones that make me blink rapidly are usually from Europe.

  • = Daddo is the surname of a family that once seemed to pop up on our TV screens frequently. I can’t remember which one hosts the Best of Commercials TV shows, but suspect it may be Andrew Daddo? There’s Cameron Daddo, Lochie Daddo, and other lesser Daddos whose names elude me. My father intensely dislikes one (maybe Cameron?) and calls him Dodo, but I think he likes Andrew. I’m not sure how he can tell them apart personally.

A most dubious advertisement is the one for the new Mistsubishi Diamante which is shown in NZ but which I think originates in Australia. There are two versions both of which show adults driving along in the car mouthing the words to the New Radicals song “You Only Get What You Give”. The lyrics in their entirety are quite uplifting:

http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Backstage/1687/ygwyg.html

The trouble is the people in the car sing an abbreviated first verse that goes something like: “We’re just fourteen and still saying please”. In the second version the person who mouths the words is a 30ish Pamela Anderson sort of girl. Come on. Lyrics haven’t been misused like this since Microsoft sang “I can’t compete with the other riders in the heat” for their Windows 95 launch.

G.Nome, I work at a radio station doing a request show. That song gets heaps of requests, but never by name - it’s always just “that song in the car ad”.

cazzle, ‘shock’ advertising isn’t unique to Australia, but as far as I know, we were the first ones to apply it to things like smoking and, especially, road safety issues. South Africa was apparently hugely impressed with those ads, and the result, and, with the TAC’s advice, started airing their own campaign.

The thing is, those ads aren’t even close to the horror of a car crash. I’ve worked with State Emergency Service units; in rural areas, road accident rescue is the primary function.

If I’d my druthers, drivers who get caught driving drunk once too often (which is once, in my book) should get a look at what that idiocy causes, up close and personal. Make 'em pick up body parts from the roadside, then go with the police when they have to tell family members that someone’s not coming home.

:gets off soapbox, bitchslaps random Daddos just for fun:

Rilchiam, does it help if you know that echidnas have very long, very agile tongues? And that Rex the Echidna is following the ants that are…um…heading south along the model’s body?

Yes, that helps. I had no idea what an echidna was.

Knowing this, I can now say,

“That was on television?!”

Having lived in Oz for an extended time until my return to the USA about 18 months ago, I need to offer an opinion.

American television is quite conservative compared to Australian television, in commercials as well as show content.

The “racier” shows on American TV most often are on cable. In Oz, those same American imports make it to free TV.

Aussies do they very best in targeting their humor against real-life products, companies, and people, to no ill effect to any. In America, when talk shows do their “consumer” tips, all the brand names are taped over so as to avoid offending or giving away free advertising. American humor implies very strongly against a known figure or product; the Aussies take the mickey out of the real thing.

Aussie commercials relish on poking fun at their own foibles; American commercials are afraid of their sacred cows.

The only time I am aware of concerning Aussie commercials where people took a step back were the early AIDs commercials. At least, Australia tackled the subject head on; the same commercials will never see the light of day on American TV screens, even during those “Best Of” international commercial TV programs here. I doubt we would ever see the anti-smoking and drunk driving ads on American television - Americans prefer lots of fake killing and guns to a surgeon slicing into a real human brain and exposing an anurysm caused by smoking.

I just wish I could get a VB here!