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“Vulgar” campervan signage sparks anger

Australian campervan hire company Wicked Campers is under fire from the Australian Federal Government’s minister for women Kelly O’Dwyer due to its controversial vehicle signage.

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The offensive campervans do not comply with community advertising standards

The signage, which has been the focus of 15 complaints to the Ad Standards Board, has been described by O’Dwyer as “outdated, misogynistic, vulgar, and degrading.”

In a far-from-serious introduction to its campervans, the company states: “Wicked Campers began in 2001 in sunny Brisbane, Australia by a flock of psychedelic seagulls. The gulls discovered that if they ate certain seeds and berries, they could defecate intense colours and patterns on passing vehicles, thus changing the landscape of Australian Highways forever.

“The gulls sold the camper hire company to founder John Webb for a packet of Doritos in late 2001, who immediately recruited graffiti artists – a rag-tag army of freaks, fire breathers and mushroom eaters, to replace the seagull artists.”

The offensive artwork used to decorate the campers includes quotes such as: “I’ve often wanted to drown my troubles, but I can’t get my wife to go swimming,” and “behind every great woman is a man checking out her arse.”

The Ad Standards Bureau has found it difficult to enforce rulings against Wicked Campers

Collective Shout, an organisation which campaigns against the objectification of women tweeted its anger towards the campervans. It says: “If a man in a bar said the type of things written on a Wicked Camper van he would likely be escorted from the venue. These vile slogans have no place in an equal society. It’s time to take a stand and support the bill so that these slogans are not on our roads.”

Due to the fact that the firm does not subscribe to the voluntary code provided by the Ad Standards Bureau, observed by most media and advertising organisations, the regulating body has found it difficult to enforce rulings against Wicked Campers.

In a bid to have the signage removed, O’Dwyer has written to state and territory leaders seeking support to force the company to comply with standards.

In the letter, O’Dwyer says: “This approach aims to ensure the company can no longer expose cross-jurisdictional loopholes to escape accountability and continue displaying outdated, misogynistic, vulgar and degrading signage which has masqueraded as vehicle advertising for too long.”

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter.

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