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Removal imminent for Faggs billboard

Thu 27 Jul 2006 In: New Zealand Daily News

After mysteriously reappearing in Auckland after a two-year absence, a controversial billboard, that has offended many in the LGBT community, will be removed, following some "confusion." Located in Wellington Street, Freemans Bay, facing a school, the billboard advertises Faggs coffee with the slogan, ‘Not as Ponsonby as the name suggests.' In November 2003, Fresh Foods Limited, owners of the Faggs brand, said the campaign would only be used for a further nine months. The ad “was inadvertently revealed, after we removed a previous campaign from the same billboard,” says Fresh Foods General Manager Mark Holland. “As we no longer intended on hiring the space, the board would usually have been stripped back bare.” Holland said he was unaware of the presence of this “one-off billboard”, and after being informed by, he is arranging for its removal. “It is not a current campaign and it will be removed.” The ad campaign first caught the ire of many gays and lesbians in September 2003, and a complaint was laid with the Advertising Standards Authority. The complainant said the ad was offensive as it “clearly link[ed] the term “Fagg”(colloquially short for faggot) with a generalisation of “Ponsonby” as being dominated by gay culture.” He went on to say that as with racist inferences, “using the language and idea of “Faggot” to sell coffee is similarly not decent and offensive and reinforces and encourages negative stereotypes of people of different sexual orientations.” The Chair of the Authority declined the complaint, saying the billboard “could not be said to cause either serious or widespread offence” and there was an “element of humour and satire” in relation to other coffee brands. A newspaper and online war of words broke out, and Fresh Foods denied the suggestion that their ad could be construed as sending a negative message about homosexuality. Later, they admitted that a negative association between the Faggs brand and gays had been revealed during market research.     Ref: (d)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Thursday, 27th July 2006 - 12:00pm

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