Fat Acceptance Ad Banned From TV

The ad at left was was created for an Australian show about advertising, which challenged contestants to make an anti-fat discrimination ad. However, the commercial was so offensive that it was pulled from TV.

The commercial was produced by the Sydney advertising agency The Foundry for a challenge on a show about advertising called The Gruen Transfer. On the program, two advertising agencies pitch an ad to (as a tipster describes it) "sell the unsellable."


For the show, scheduled to air last night, two agencies were asked to come up with a campaign for the idea of Fat Pride, to as Gruen's producers explain, "end shape discrimination and make overweight Australians feel less humiliated by the constant public disapproval of anyone who isn't a size 10 or under." The ABC network decided the commercial was too offensive to air on television, but the producers were allowed to post it online, along with a panel discussion with its creator about the thinking behind the ad.

The black and white ad features people telling the extremely offensive jokes:

"How do black women fight crime? They have abortions."
"How do you stop a poofter from drowning? You take your foot off his head."
"What's the difference between Santa Claus and a Jew? Santa Claus goes down the chimney."

Then after the final joke, "Why did God create alcohol? So fat chicks could get a root," the line "Discrimination comes in all shapes and sizes," flashes on the screen.

The 15 minute debate about the ad makes it clear that creator Adam Hunt's intentions were good, and gives some interesting insight into what advertisers consider when making public service announcements (it's hard to imagine the debate airing on U.S. television, as the panelists all remain respectful and let each other talk).

Hunt explained that the idea he was trying to get across was, "if you discriminate against somebody on the basis of their shape then you are no different to someone who is racist, homophobic or anti-Semitic." He said he came up with the idea when his friend told him a "fat chick joke" after he received the assignment from the show. "I literally choked on that laugh, beer went everywhere and I had an epiphany about shape discrimination starting with laughing at a fat chick joke."

The agencies usually produce funny ads for the show, and The Foundry's competitor, JWT Melbourne, made an ad that celebrated fat people as voracious consumers who could save the economy, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Hunt said, "Any idea that made you laugh at people was actually going to celebrate shape discrimination, not end it."


Todd Samson, a regular panelist on the show, explained that the ad failed because viewers were so shocked by the first racist joke that they missed the point of the ad. Samson added, "I dont think you need to offend one group to help another."

The Foundry's Anti-Discrimination Ad
Discrimination: Gruen Ad Ban Sparks Online Debate [The Sydney Morning Herald]



This sounds stupid, but one thing that's really helped me feel less...aggressive? toward overweight people is the show The Biggest Loser. Seeing all the different reasons and the pain behind body size is pretty affecting.