There is a growing trend amongst adherents of the largely right-wing evangelical forms of Christianty to leap all over any nonsense in the media to give a “Christian” perspective – by which they mean their own very literalistic, fundamentalist interpretation of what it means to “be a Christian”, and therefore by extrapolation, what our society should be like.
The Australian Christian lobby, long a friend to controversy – and most defnitely NOT speaking for all Christians in Australia despite their self-appropriated name – have now taken this trend to its logical conclusion. Which is: ridiculousness.
In all apparent seriousness, a Brisbane burger company’s advertising campaign has been accused of promoting bestiality.
The Burger Urge ad, which shows a woman licking a cow, was described in the complaint as loathsome, sick, wrong and perverted, according to News Limited and other outlets.
The Australian Christian Lobby group officially registered the complaint via company director Wendy Francis, who said people should be spared the image of “a woman making love to a cow”.
“It’s definitely a sexual sort of image. It says ‘get intimate’ so we’re not talking about a pet thing. The cow is dressed up as a man,” she said.
Burger Urge owner Sean Carthew says it is an over-reaction, and believes an overwhelming majority of people saw what Burger Urge was trying to do and did not have a problem with the campaign.
Ironically, Mr Carthew’s mum received an email from Ms Francis, attacking the advertisement.
“Mum’s quite religious and she doesn’t have any problem with the image of the cow and the girl,” he said.
“We do think quite carefully about our promotions. We don’t want to cause any damage or do any harm, we just want to have a bit of fun.”
Ms Francis, who also railed against Burger Urge’s condom mail promotion said it had the potential of catching out children who like to check the letterbox.
“I’m not asking for a nanny state. I’m just asking would somebody please make it so that our children are allowed to have their childhood,” she said.
However Mr Carthew said the arrival of a condom in the mail would have no impact on the future behaviour of children.
Bleeding hell. Let me make some things clear to the Australian Christian Lobby.
Burger Urge ran this campaign because they knew some wowsers would complain. It’s a tried and tested tactic, pioneered by other fast food outlets like Nandos, for example.
Now you have achieved giving them country-wide and international notoriety. Simply by complaining, and in such stupidly hyperbolic fashion, you have given this business the oxygen of publicity they so obviously desired. You will make them lots and lots of money, with which to run other ads, presumably.
As specifically stated below, they have obviously decided that they can afford to offend a few wowsers in order to appear “cool” and “alternative” to their core target market, which we can suppose is overwhelmingly teenagers and younger adults.
And this will be a shock to the ACL, but that target market doesn’t find condoms shocking.
Oh, and by the way? Condoms aren’t “dirty” or “wrong” either. They are a valuble tool in preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually-transmitted diseases. They are legal. They are not controversial for the vast majority of Australians.
Should they be delivered door to door? Why not? If you’re worried about children opening the mail then (a) open your own mail, (b) use it as an opportunity to have a conversation with your kids about condoms, (c) tell them it’s a free gift from their local balloon shop. In short, grow up.
But what really annoys me about your very public chasing after your own oxygenated publicity, ACL, is that in doing so you tar every normal, moderate, adult, socialised, liberal, live-and-let-live Christian with your very particular brush.
No-one – NO-ONE – with half a brain would seriously think this company is promoting bestiality. Everyone – EVERYONE – with half a brain will understand immediately that it’s a poor and clumsy attempt to garner attention in a crowded market, and move on, instantly.
So stop painting the rest of us as being as ridiculous as you. It makes explaining why we are Christians to non-Christians much more difficult than it needs to be.
That’s it. Period.
It’s also very instructive to listen to the owner of this business on the controversy created:
Mr Carthew said his business couldn’t afford multi-million dollar fit outs or big promotions.
”To be honest, it’s hard enough the retail market the way it is at the moment just staying in business. We’ve got 70 employees who pay their rent and rely on us to be solvent,” he said.
”I feel like us staying in business is our primary objective and if that means that one or two percent of the population might be offended and might boycott our store well then I can still sleep at night.”
The business has also done ”wobble board” promotions targetting Lance Armstrong and Alan Jones, but Mr Carthew said he never wanted his promotions to be grotesque.
”I showed my mum and dad before we put them out and mum went `oh Sean, you can’t do that’ and dad laughed. They both concluded it was a bit cheeky but not anything that was going to change the world. If anything it’s promoting a good cause which is safe sex,” he said.
”People jump up and down like it’s an outrage but there are wars going on.”
And that’s the other point, isn’t it, ACL? If you spent half the energy you expend on social/cultural nonsense like this campaigning against the obscenity of war, then we might have more respect for you. And people might have more respect for Christians, generally.
But pacificism? Peace on earth? Love thy neighbour? Turn the other cheek?
Well, that’s just not quite as easy to grab a headline on, now is it?
THE advertising watchdog has thrown out a complaint against a Brisbane burger joint after they used an image of a woman licking a cow’s face to promote their premium beef.
The Advertising Standards Board dismissed the complaint which described the Burger Urge image as loathsome, sick, wrong and perverted.
But the Board ruled most people would realise the image had been photoshopped, and while it would be considered distasteful by most people, it was not overly sexualised or provocative.
The Board also found that while the slogan is open to many interpretations, the most likely is suggestive of eating a burger made from premium beef.
Advertising Standards also received a complaint about media reports that Burger Urge delivered condoms to letterboxes across Brisbane, but that did not constitute a formal complaint.
”They hadn’t actually received the advertising material themselves so we confine our cases to things that people have actually received or seen,” Advertising Standards chief Fiona Jolly said.