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No bite in bank ad complaint

Westpac has had a complaint over a home loan rate advertisement showing a a child laying on the lawn laughing as a dog licks the child's neck.

The complainant, R Shaw, said:" Westpac has an image of a dog licking a child's face. Allowing dogs to lick faces is appalling, disease and worm carriers. This is mad."

However, the Advertising Standards Authority said there were no grounds for the complaint to proceed.

In its decision the authority's chairman noted the Complainant’s concern that it was unhygienic to show a dog licking a child’s face.

"The chairman acknowledged the image of the dog licking the child’s neck showed a practice which was not particularly hygienic. However, unlike the sharing of food or drinks between children and young people, which had well defined public health warnings, ‘dog licking’ was not something on which guidance had been proffered by government agencies."

It would be up to Public Health Authorities to provide guidance before a complaint relating to an advertisement of this nature could be upheld.

Despite the real concerns of the complainant, the advertisement did not meet the threshold to cause serious or widespread offence to most people and had not breached the Code of Ethics.