For those who have the same warped sense of humour this Letter can also be had in French.
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Dear Mervyn King President of the Advertising Standards Authority,
As a former Judge I thought
you would be the best person to explain how your Authority (ASA) can come
to two different decisions on virtually identical facts.
BAT's billboard - sorry wrong pic
Last year complaints were made to the ASA that British American
Tobacco (BAT) was using a clever ploy to bypass the law that bans
tobacco advertising in South Africa. It
had billboards on major highways exhorting people not to buy illegal cigarettes. They carried the
fearsome warning that this may fundhijackers and
sidestepped the real issue and latched on to the bit abouthijackers and robbers. It ordered that the ads should be
pulled because BAT could not prove that this was true.
Fast forward to this year and it had a
complaint from Charles Maggs, myself and Tom Kallis.
A small point perhaps, but both these gentlemen were given the title of Mr while
I was just plain Jonwith both my first and surnames spelt
I suppose you can’t expect Watchdogs to be given a title can you?
Great minds evidently
think alike as we all felt that BAT was at it again (seeSmoke & Mirrors – cigaretteadverts by
another nameon my blog); this time by putting an advert, similar to the
billboard ones, in newspapers.
its best to spread alarm once more by telling readers that over R3-billion was lost in tax revenue (it forgot to mention the
billions lost through the devastation cause to people’s lives by smoking)
because people bought contraband cigarettes.
It then warned:But the price you could pay whensmuggled
cigarettes bring crime syndicates into your neighbourhood may be far, far
Was this message any different to the one
on the billboards? Could BAT substantiate this
No, of course it couldn’t.
Yet this time your
ASA didn’t bother about this aspect in dismissing our complaint completely.
It made matters worse by waffling on about having
taken into account its Code of Conduct which stipulates
that Advertising should not contain
anything which might lead orlend support to criminal activities, nor should
they appear to condone such activities.
then pathetically revealed that as it was not its job to decide on the legality
of adverts of this kind it was best to pass the buck to the Department of Health that administers the Tobacco Products Control Act.
Dying for a fag
Well, as we all know that Department has been very successful in running every
public hospital in South Africa into the
ground, so it’s hardly likely to be bothered about questionable cigarette ads.
BAT’s answer to the complaint was that is was
not promoting smoking. Heaven forbid that a tobacco company should do that.And the campaign did notadvertise its products. No, only its name British American Tobacco,
which in itselfadvertises tobacco.
What’s the point of such a week kneed ASA if it can’t even make a ruling in accordance with
its own Code of Conduct?
Surely at the very least theBAT newspaper ad mighthave
supported illegal activities(advertising
cigarettes) and it certainly appeared to
condone such activities otherwise the three of us would not have complained.
So didn’t the ad fall well within the ASA’s definition of whatAdvertising should not contain? Just asking,
Jon, Mr to the ASA,
the Consumer Watchdog who doesn’t win them all,
but that doesn’t stop him snapping at heels CONTINUOUSLY.
Buy my book 'Where have all the children gone' on Amazon Kindle It's a thriller with an underlying love story that defied generations of Afrikaner/ English prejudice.
My brother Anthony and I
wanted your help to hand out Easter Eggs to the poor in Masiphumelele (see Cape Town's Tourist Dump), a Black township
not far from my home in CapeTown.
Entrance sign speaks volumes
The name means We will succeed in Xhosa. But sadly there’s not
much sign of that in this sprawling collection of run down houses and tin
shacks where 38 000people survive some how.
As you were nowhere to be found, the two of us
had to do it ourselves.
Were you testing us? In South Africa many Whites have never
been into a Black township for fear of not coming out again. They associate them
with thieves, rapists and murderers who are waiting to get their own back
on Whites for what they did to them under the all White apartheid
government that was replaced by a Black one 18 years ago.
We thought that one of your Black, floppy eared relatives would blend in far
better than two six foot, something Whities.
Anyway as it turned out it was fun
for us two fossils – to begin with anyway.
It didn’t take us long to learn that humans
behave very differently in a group compared to when they are on their own. And
the principle remains the same whether they are adults or little nippers just
starting out in life.
We had about 100 eggs to distribute
and the aim was to make them go as far as possible – in other words one each,
for small children only.
Driving through the narrow streets we stopped
here and there when we saw little ones by themselves or with a grown up
relative. That’s when we got a polite Thank you,
as we handed out the gifts through the window of my car.
But as soon as a crowd gathered it was every boy
and girl for himself with the biggest ones pushing to the front and returning
shortly afterwards to try and grab another egg. If there were any Thank yous us FairyGodfathers would not have been able to hear them above
Our first experience of this mob behaviour was
when we stopped outside a playground and the children initially lined up in an
orderly fashion. But that didn’t last long with arms coming from all directions
like a giant octopus doing its best to thwart our one per child policy. On this
occasion we had the steel boundary fence between us and the kids to help
maintain a vestige of order.
A few streets away another mass of pleading,
waving hands enveloped our car. Several children climbed half way into the open
window on my brother’s side and clung to the door as I started slowly driving
away. They gradually dropped off as we went a little further.
Having learnt our lesson we gave the rest of the Happy Eggs away to individuals whose friends had to be
disappointed if there was any sign of a group developing.
Surprise, surprise we left that Black township richer for the experience with our lives intact;
still in our own car and with our wallets and cell phones still on us.
Our relief was short lived however. I’m writing
this to you from Cape Town’s, Pollsmoor Maximum SecurityPrison. It’s
no picnic I can tell you. But if we live through it we’ll be able to say we
were in the jail where Nelson Mandela
was once incarcerated.
You see in this wicked world two
old codgers can’t be seen in a poor area handing out sweets to little children
without being paedophiles. That’s a given.
So Easter Bunny it
looks as though you’ll have to do the job yourself next year.
I hope this gets passed the prison censors.
Buy my book 'Where have all the children gone'on Amazon Kindle It's a thriller with an underlying love story that defied generations of Afrikaner/ English prejudice.
Dear Silly Billy Chairman of Augusta National Golf Course,
Oops, sorry I’m behaving like a
I got the spelling of your name wrong but not the meaning. It’s BillyPayne isn’t it?
I’m sure you’ll agree with me that
things have hit a depressing low in America when women
don’t know their place in the land of the free.
You would think Virginia
‘Ginni’ Rometty (now known as ‘Uppity’ Rometty) would have known better than to
complicate your life by becoming IBM’s first woman Chief Executive shortly
before this year’s Master’s tournament began at your club.
To make matters
worse she’s a beautiful, dizzy blonde. She’s got brains as well and no man
Has the woman no shame? Just because IBM has been one of the main sponsors of the Master’s does she now think that she can become the first
woman member of your club?
Everything was fine as long as there was a man at
the helm of IMB. But nearly 80 years of chauvinist
pigtradition wouldbe for nothing if you were to allow Ginni to break the
spell at your stuffy club.
It just wouldn’t do old boy. We’ve
never allowed them to become members before and there’s no reason to start now.
It must be satisfying to head an exclusive clan
that was founded on solid grounds of good, old fashioned prejudice aptly put
into words by your co-founder Clifford Roberts
when he said,"As
long as I’m alive golferswill be white and caddies black."
That’s only right. You couldn’t have Whites
carrying those heavy bags could you?
It took 48 years
abolished the rule that players had to use the club’s Black
Women and Blacks are in the same inferior category presumably.
How long is it going to take you
and your members to hum and haw before you let women in? No wonder you don’t
want to talk about it.
Billy I hope you and the rest
of your 300 odd members haven’t got one of these
unacceptable females or even worse a Black
woman at home as a wife?
Wait a minute I see Bill
Gates and Warren Buffett, two of the
world’s richest men are on your member’s list. How do theirwives Belinda and Susan feel about
being stamped second class citizens by the Augusta Golf Classification Board?
It’s ridiculous to think what a fuss you Yanks kicked up about South Africa’s apartheid regime that kept the Blacks very much subservient to Whites. But even that disappeared 18 years ago.
I knew we shouldn’t have given a Green jacket to
that Black chap, Tiger somebody or other just because he won the Masters four times. They
don’t know how to behave. Look what he’s done to decorum, one of our founding
He’s now more famous for that, ‘You
can’t see the Woods for the birds’, joke than anything else.
You had to publicly admonish him for
his sexual exploits which were splashed all over the world. As you rightly said
he ‘disappointed all of us and in particular was no role model to our kids and
(Thinks: Discriminating against Blacks and women
is the role model to aim at)
It’s just as well our winners can’t
take those jackets with them. Imagine what it would do to our name if doing it
dressed only in one of them became the latest kinky, sex fad.
On top of that this chap was fined for
spitting on the 12th green at the Dubai Desert Classic. Putting
through that filth would be no joke?
And just when we thought it couldn’t
get any worse he throws a tantrum on our own course at this year’s Masters, swearing and
kicking his club because he shot a 75.
Billy you’ve got to
do something about him now. Forget about the women who the media are going on
about. This is much more important.
Fortunately our Ginni
is used to you men feeling inferior to clever girls. Fortune
Magazine has hadher in its 50 mostpowerful Women
in Business list for seven consecutive years ranking her 7th last year. Of course that was another
version of chauvinism.
We couldn’t have her beating a lot of men in the
list of the 50 Most powerful People in Business
now could we Billy.
Phil Michelson & Charl Schwartzel
Anyway I told her it’s not a big deal because
golf is not a game for real men. Can you think of any other sport Billythat allows you to move your ball to a better
position for the most trivial of reasons when you’ve hit it there yourself in
the first place?
And you complain about poor old Tiger, yet players are allowed to fiddle with their
balls on the greens in full view of everybody until they feel comfortable.
Not being too familiar with the game I’ve always
wondered how many strokes you are penalised if you get relief behind a bush –
one or two?