Page last updated at 03:21 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

'Tyrant' German radio advert banned by ASA

An angry man. Posed by model
The advert featured a man acting "like a tyrant"

A radio advertisement has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for implying Germans are tyrants.

Complaints were upheld about a Reed recruitment website commercial, which had an angry boss speaking in German.

The ASA said it could cause serious offence to some listeners and was found to be offensive because it used a negative stereotype.

The advert had sparked 13 complaints from the public, but Reed did not comment on them.

The ASA also said that while the use of stereotypes was "inevitable" to establish a character in a short radio advert, this should not "perpetuate damaging misconceptions".

The watchdog said: "We noted the ad used a German speaker, rather than someone speaking English, to portray the boss as 'a bit of a tyrant' and the humour derived from a stereotype at the expense of German people.

"We considered that the portrayal suggested that German people were more likely to be unreasonable or aggressive to others.

"We concluded that, given the extreme reaction and aggressive tone of the German-speaking boss, the ad reinforced a negative and outdated cultural stereotype of German people as overpowering and tyrannical and therefore the ad had the potential to cause serious offence to some listeners."

The advert was found to have breached rules governing good taste and must not be broadcast again in its current form.

Although Reed has not commented, industry body the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre said it believed most listeners would have found the advert "humorous and inoffensive".

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