The silly season came to an appropriate close last week with reports of
the ITC’s ruling on 32 complaints of racism levelled at Persil’s recent
A mere ten news items on the ruling led to more comment in opinion
pieces, editorials and letters, as the media seemed to share a sense of
the ridiculous with the ITC portrayed as ‘busybodies’ by the Daily Star
and ‘in a particularly excitable state’ by the Daily Express. Both the
ITC and Lever Brothers fielded unnamed spokespeople to temper the
obvious embarrassment generated by the whole business.
Lever Brothers won the moral victory, seen as the innocent party merely
trying to come up with an improvement to the housewife and washing line
routine. Most commentators agreed that, not for the first time,
political correctness had gone too far. Lesley White in the Sunday Times
declared herself ‘just weary of the boring cliches which, more than
political accountability, are advertising’s biggest problem’.
Evaluation and analysis by Carma International. Cuttings supplied by The
Broadcast Monitoring Company. ‘What the Papers Say’ can also be found