Kiwi Polemicist

March 13, 2009

• DB’s “offensive” porn billboard shows that the free market works

The comments button is at the bottom right of this post.

The NZ Herald is reporting that a billboard containing the tag line “Would you rather watch porn with your Mum or your sister?” has been removed after vociferous objections from sections of the population. Isn’t that amazing: no government interference, no need for the Advertising Standards Authority, just the free market at work. In other words, DB/Dominion Breweries is looking after their profits by responding to public protests, and this shows that the profit motive so maligned by Marxists actually controls behaviour.

Bob McCoskrie of Family First says

“This is a billboard which will be seen by many people including children and families,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “It is offensive to many, and ignores the harm that pornography is doing in our community and the contribution it makes to family breakdown, addiction, aggressive sexual behavior, sex role stereotyping, and viewing people simply as sexual objects.”

I have a lot of time for Bob, but here I disagree with him. He’s making a pyramid out of a pimple, and I’m struggling to see the pimple. This is a billboard with a slightly nonsensical tag line that isn’t doing any actual harm: if the tag line was “Drink lots of this alcohol then go and rape your sister” then I might go along with a statement like Bob’s*.

Bob also says

Family First NZ is calling on a pre-vetting of all billboards with a committee that has specialists who understand the effect of sexual and offensive billboards on children and families and will advocate for their protection.

Why would anyone in their right mind invite more censorship**? We should be getting rid of the Advertising Standards Authority, not bringing in yet more laws: if Bob or anyone else doesn’t like a billboard they are free to start a campaign, as has happened in this case.

I do not like going down the street and seeing advertising that depicts naked ladies (or men for that matter). However, it is grossly unjust when the state can control what a company does with its advertising, that is, control what a company does with its own money. We should get rid of the Advertising Standards Authority and let the free market control advertising: as we have seen, this mechanism works very well.

What do you think about the billboard and the points that I have made?

If you want to see a truly “offensive” billboard click here.

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* even then the billboard would not violate the non-aggression axiom so classical liberalists would not object to it per se. Remember that simply advocating rape not make the billboard owner responsible for the actions of those feral animals who followed the advice given on the billboard. If you see a McDonalds billboard, lust after their hamburgers, then go and purchase one you are responsible for that decision: McDonalds is in no way responsible your “poverty”, obesity, etc. It’s no different when the billboard advertises drunken rape. At a personal level I would of course find a billboard advocating rape objectionable, but that is another matter entirely.

** the Advertising Standards Authority is a censorship body, it just censors after the fact rather than before it

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6 Comments »

  1. Good point. It seemed a little hamrless to me. But perhaps people have to stand up for these smaller issues when they are arise. I prefer this way so that Christian Groups dont look like moaners on just the major issues.

    Comment by Ozy Mandias — March 20, 2009 @ 9:08 pm

    • Ozy Mandias: in this case I can’t see any issue worth standing up for.

      Comment by Kiwi Polemicist — March 21, 2009 @ 2:19 pm

  2. I thought people did not read billboards so what is the issue?

    Comment by don — March 28, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

    • Don: that fact that companies are willing to spend a lot of money on billboards indicates that people probably do read them 🙂

      Comment by Kiwi Polemicist — March 28, 2009 @ 9:48 pm

  3. It’s a sad reflection of how far downhill we as a society have come to when you allow ignorance such as these biased comments to be passed of as intelligent insight.Public spaces are for ALL people, not just a select few of sex obsessed lads from an ad agency.Words and pictures have a big affect on awareness. Sexist ads are damaging. My eight year old son, pointed at a sexist ad and said it was wrong.As an adult male making these comments, clearly points to some real lack in your understanding of integrity and the meaning of’for the greater good’. Because a multi national corporation has massive amounts of cash this does not give the right or authority to pollute public space such as a billboard. It’s this very thinking that allows and encourages the deterioration of this kind of soft porn to be publicly displayed.

    Comment by Rose — July 18, 2009 @ 3:09 pm

    • Rose: thank you for your comment. I do not agree with what you say, but I will continue to defend your right to say it.

      Please note that what you say is in breach of my comments policy because it contains ad hominem (against the man) statements. In future please state only your opinion about the issues, not your opinion about the author.

      Comment by Kiwi Polemicist — July 18, 2009 @ 5:31 pm


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