Sometimes it seems that almost anything will offend someone. Take the latest round of complaints filed with the Advertising Standards Authority in London (actual ASA Web-site complaint button shown here). Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, a new British agency formed recently to improve tax collection, launched a national ad campaign last month encouraging people to help the government catch self-employed people who do not pay taxes on their wages. The ad showed a plumber hiding under a kitchen sink with the tagline, “With your help, we’ll make sure self-employed people who don’t pay their tax have nowhere to hide.” The ad raised the ire of the Federation of Small Businesses, which promptly filed a complaint, calling the ad “offensive.” “We are disappointed that a campaign that could have gained widespread support has instead resorted to a clumsy advert that tars all the U.K.’s 2.72 million self-employed people with the same brush,” the FSB said. “We find it particularly offensive that the implication in the advert is that all self-employed people do not pay their taxes.” No word from the ASA about an investigation yet. Perhaps they are too busy busting gansta rapper 50 Cent for his poster promoting the Get Rich or Die Tryin’ soundtrack.
—Posted by Jim Lovel