South Australia’s ‘Hairy Fairy’ road safety campaign has managed to offend almost everyone from hirsute men to the transgender community and Jesus Christ himself, but not the Advertising Standards Bureau.
The Motor Accident Commission of South Australia launched its latest road safety push last month and has since been subject to claims its ads are anti-Christian, anti-transgender, anti-male, and offensive to hairy people.
The campaign’s centerpiece is a commercial featuring a bearded, hirsute and shirtless man in a pink tutu, and declares there is “nothing normal” about speeding.
It also features a range of display ads urging drivers to guard against low-level speeding incase things get "hairy".
However, the message appears to have been lost on several people who lodged official complaints suggesting they had been offended by the depiction of the fictional "Hairy Fairy".
“The Hairy Fairy is a presumably cisgender man wearing a pink tutu and is, from my understanding, intended to bring comic relief to the serious community message of speeding reduction,” read one complaint.
“It encourages the audience to laugh at this image and in turn belittles and encourages discrimination against gender diverse people, particularly Tran’s (sic) women and Trans feminine people.”
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Another claimed the ad offended him as a hairy man.
“I’m offended as for years I have been subject to ridicule for being a hairy guy and this ad is playing on the general public's dislike of hairy guys,” that complaint read.
“Its degrades and reinforces the public dislike of hairy people. No ad should degrade any person.”
Another viewer said the man’s similarity to common depictions of Jesus sent an anti-Christian message, taking particular offence to the choice of clothing.
“The tutu fairy as depicted in the ad is very like the religious portrayal of Jesus as the Good Shepherd in the Christian belief,” it said.
“I find it very disrespectful to use this image and add the tutu. There must be other images they could use.”
South Australia’s Motor Accident Commission has a history of courting controversy with its public messaging.
A previous campaign used images of door knobs and the letter W position next to an anchor to address speeding drivers.
It has also co-opted the charged term “creeper” to urge people to stay below speed limits, and once featured a cannabis-addled cartoon character called Nibbles to campaign against drugged drivers.
However, the latest round of outrage failed to resonate with the Advertising Standards Bureau.
It dismissed the complaints, finding the Hairy Fair had not breached the advertising code.