Kaye's Holiday Extras ad escapes ban over racist accusation
LONDON - A viral ad featuring comedian Paul Kaye as a drunken Irish car park owner for Holiday Extras has escaped a ban from the advertising watchdog following a complaint that it was racist towards Irish and Romany travellers.
The viral, which appeared in paid-for space on kontraband.com, showed Kaye playing a drunken Irishman called Seamus Murphy who runs a budget holiday car park service with his family.
Kaye stumbles around smoking and swearing in a strong Irish accent as he chases after children and throws a chair at them.
The ad ends with a shot of Murphy and his family with a car on fire in the background and on-screen text reads: "Murphy's holiday car park. 100% security."
It cuts to a blue screen with the text: "Park your worries with your car", and then to the Holiday Extras logo and text stating "Airport parking and hotels, done right".
The Advertising Standards Authority received a single complaint that the ad, created by Flame Digital, was offensive because it was racist towards Irish and Romany travellers.
Holiday Extras, the airport parking and airport hotels group, said that the aim of the ad, which it did not believe was offensive, was to show a light-hearted and extreme contrast between Holiday Extras attention to customer service, trust and security and companies who place less of an emphasis on those qualities.
Flame Digital said that Kaye played an extreme caricature that bore little or no resemblance to reality because his actions were so far removed from what would be considered normal behaviour.
The ASA rejected the complaint deciding that the ad was intended to show a humorous contrast between a fictional caricature and a company that valued security.
It noted that the character spoke with a heavy Irish accent and ran his business from a caravan but because he displayed extreme behaviour from which the humour in the ad was derived it did not consider that the ad suggested that the behaviour was typical of Irish or Romany communities.
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