Umm, why?

A casting call seeking a thin young girl with “very good teeth” to star in a Milka chocolate Christmas TV advert has been criticised by health campaigners.

The request for child actors to play the role of “Mia” asked for “no red hair” and for the girl to be no older than 12 so she is “childlike”.

It insisted “no overweight children as this is advertising chocolate”.

The advert was published on Spotlight, a talent agency which helps performers find employment, and later on Twitter.

A spokesman for Action on Sugar, a health campaign group, said it was “sure the Advertising Standards Authority would not stand for this”.

Why will the ASA not stand for this?

They’re casting for an actress, the looks of the actress are relevant. And?

24 comments on “Umm, why?

  1. And once again, the company cowers in the face of criticism, thus ensuring other companies will be targeted further down the line.

  2. I’m astounded that the “right on” ASA hasn’t come down on this like a ton of bricks. Haven’t you noticed, that thanks to ASA demands, virtually every couple shown in TV adverts is mixed-race, or, in the extreme rarity of a “white” couple, their children are mixed-race…

    I’m not being racist, just observant. 🙂

  3. @Baron

    You’re right. It is pathetically predictable. Most relationships in the UK are same race. That’s a statistical fact. Ethnic minorities make up around 10% of the UK population.

    Yet believe the commercials and you would think that every second relationship is mixed race.

  4. Baron, I agree with you.

    However, I assume that this policy is successful in shifting product, or they would not be doing it?

  5. It may be observation bias on my part, but from watching adverts it seems that a good 20% of the UK population are Chinese.

  6. BF: However, I assume that this policy is successful in shifting product, or they would not be doing it?

    Yes, interesting point. Given the ‘aspirational’ nature of advertising messages, certain aspects may be attractive to one demographic, neutral to another and off-putting to a third so the advertiser needs to understand how the market segment he is talking to will react.

    For example, I would guess that an expensive performance car likely to be bought by a wealthy middle-aged white man would not have ads in which the putative owner was a woman or was non-white.

    On the other hand, an expensive yacht also likely to be bought by a wealthy white bloke in his middle years might well feature a coloured man who looked physically fit because in this latter case it is the physical condition of the actor/model that is paramount for the target customer and a bit of wokeness ticks a subliminal inclusivity box which doesn’t hurt.

    Of course, you were probably thinking about toothpaste ads and cat food commercials so just ignore me.

  7. jgh: it seems that a good 20% of the UK population are Chinese.

    Not so much woke as wok, perhaps?

  8. @Baron,

    Its difficult to do target advertising on the broadcast media so they try to pick some neutral middle ground. As BraveFart says, it must be working, at least to the extent of not pissing off any particular group.

    I’ll bet if we go to specialist media, say The Voice, we’ll find that the people used in adverts more reflect the readership.

  9. It may be observation bias on my part, but from watching adverts it seems that a good 20% of the UK population are Chinese

    According to “Back 2 Skool” ads from every supermarket, the other 80% are frizzy-haired mulattos.

    However, I assume that this policy is successful in shifting product, or they would not be doing it?

    Why do you assume that the goal is to get you to buy the product?

    Or, put it another way – when woke advertisers push the black-fella-with-blonde-girl pairing, trannies, sassy homosexuals and dopey white loser Dads, they’re definitely trying to sell you a product, just not necessarily the one you think.

  10. So instead, you remove those requirements and a casting director has to filter out all the fat gingers?

    Because that’s what is going to happen anyway.

    Also, the ASA isn’t law. It’s a body paid for by the ad industry. Their rulings have no power in law

  11. BTW – obviously the goal of the sugar gestapo is to force chocolate companies to put disgusting cigarette-style “health warnings” on their products.

    “No, Charlie, you may not have a Scrumdiddlyumptious Bar. It’s now called the ‘Morbidobesitydiabetes Vector’ and it has a nice picture of a toothless paraplegic woman
    screaming in eternal pain on the packaging. That’ll be £12.50 please, and Merry Christmas!”

  12. The oddball mixes of race are occurring in U.S. TV advertising as well.

    As always, the campaigners are selling . . . their campaign. This about Action on Sugar getting their name out. Could be just a couple of guys in their mother’s basement with a fax machine.

  13. This about Action on Sugar getting their name out. Could be just a couple of guys in their mother’s basement with a fax machine.

    More likely it’s a massively overstaffed fake “charity” paid for by the taxpayer, with a huge office in the middle of the City and high-6-figure salaries for the directors.

  14. Dear Mr Worstall

    Action on sugar wittering on about an advert for an advert? Seems a bit like mission creep to me.

    Action on sugar is the sugar arm of consensus action on salt, sugar and health, previously consensus action on salt and health (cash – says it all). Salt didn’t seem to be a big draw so they added sugar to the mix.

    It is a front for some academics at Queen Mary University of London. It employs no staff, who are all seconded from – presumably – QMUL, so the taxpayers’ main contribution is hidden from public view. It subsists on an pot of ‘designated funds’ (£640k) from before 2013 and a few grants from another charity and unspecified sources, plus very variable donations and legacies. It has many names:

    Action On Salt
    Action On Sugar
    Cash
    Wash
    World Action On Salt
    World Action On Salt And Health
    World Action On Sugar

    It’s primary function seems to be to nanny via Food Salt and Sugar Surveys, FoodSwitch, National Salt Awareness Week and National Sugar Awareness Week – I wasn’t aware of those – and by arm twisting companies via the government in the time honoured fashion of petty tyrants.

    Their office is hosted by a department of QMUL, so another hidden taxpayer ‘donation’.

    Read all about it:

    https://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-details/?regId=1098818&subId=0

    DP

  15. M&S advert the hands and arms are all light skinned, I imagine the outrage that would be expressed over showing BAME kids as animals occurred to someone at the ad company

  16. We would never approve the use of such a notice, and are urgently reviewing the situation with Spotlight UK to understand how and why it has happened.

    In English, they mean: “We will accept kids who are fat, redheaded, or have bad teeth at the casting call, but they will still not get the part. The idiot who tried to hurry the process along by being specific is now looking for work”

  17. @Baron Jackfield

    I have noticed and it angers me and puts me off brand. Tesco Christmas ad 2018(17?) backfired on then.

    @DP

    M&S missed one: Gym kit for your little monkey – monkey head climbing rope/bars

    @BniC

    Quite

  18. TV ads are increasingly global or at least pan-European, just dubbed (badly) into the local language.

  19. @Chris Miller

    imo there are fewer dubbed ads in UK now than 5-10 years ago, don’t know about other EU countries.

    Guess what: they’re huge majority white too, thus the multi-culti & PC Woke ads probably anger them too.

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