One complainant said the advertisement gave children the impression bullying was OK.
“M&M’s is the most influential product on the market and needs to ensure the message that children receives is positive and assisting in their growth and development,” the complainant said.
“When marketing a product the message should be about development of our children not showing them that the red M&M can dominate the rest of the group. Children will see this as a normal way of life as the M&Ms portray to them those they mix with at school.”
After deliberating for two months, the ASB determined the advertisement was “humorous rather than bullying”.
The ASB spokeswoman said the complaint was one of about 3500 the bureau received each year, most of which were investigated for an average of 28 to 35 days before a judgment is made.
Complaints most often relate to sexual content, nudity, discrimination and vilification, but while she said the vast majority were “obscure” and “unrealistic”, the process to determine whether the advertisements are breaching the Advertisers Code of Ethics was still a lengthy one.
In another complaint lodged with the ASB, a viewer objected to a Boost chocolate bar being “naked” as it did not have its “wrapper” on.
“Do we really need to have a chocolate bar being overtly sexual? I mean to say, really poor standards Cadbury – you ought to be ashamed,” the complainant said.
The board determined that “most members of the community would understand that the advertisement was ridiculous and intended to be light-hearted and funny”.
Read more candy news in our BLOG.