Omo ad a tad too white for black viewers

2009-11-14 13:43

THE Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASASA) is investigating the Omo door-to-door competition after receiving complaints that it promotes racism.

Viewers of SABC1 and Facebookers say the competition, which runs during the screening of popular soapie Generations, encourages racism and promotes stereotypes about black people. They say black women are shown washing shirts by hand while white women use washing machines.

They also allege that the first white woman to win the competition bagged R50?000 in school bursaries while a previous black woman winner got only R10?000.

City Press readers have also complained about the competition. One reader has vowed never to buy the product “in protest at its racial discrimination”.

In the advert for the competition presenter Nkanyiso Bhengu pitches up at houses around the country and asks if the women have Omo in their homes. If they have they are invited to wash a shirt. They then peel back the collar, revealing the prize.

Corné Koch, communications manager for ASASA, says they have received complaints about the advertisement and are assessing their validity and whether or not the matter falls in the jurisdiction of ASASA.

“It should be noted that ASASA can only rule on the content of an advertisement and not comment on how the competition is being managed,” says Koch.

The makers of Omo, Unilever, asked City Press to send questions in writing and promised to respond to them. Tilottama Pillai, Unilever’s head of communications, had not responded by the time of going to print.

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