Racist ad mocking Asian man named ‘Ping Pong’ banned by advertising watchdog

Australia’s advertising watchdog has ordered a racist radio ad – which features an Asian man calling a concreting company for assistance because “Mama has bog in driveway” – off the air.


The ad was found to have breached rules on the grounds of discrimination and racial vilification.

The ad for TP Concreting in Queensland features the man speaking with an Asian accent and calling himself ‘Ping Pong’, demanding the company fix his driveway right away and offering them sushi.

In the background, a woman, who the man says is his mother, appears to be speaking “gibberish”.

“Mama has bog in driveway,” the man tells the concreting company, followed by a voiceover that says no job is “too weird”.

The ad ran on radio station, Kingaroy Hot FM, in November and the advertiser responded to the complaint denying it was racist and sexist.

“The ad you are referring to is not racist or degrading in any way, not sexist, and the language is English with an accent,” the advertiser said in its response.

“When it mentions food it is no different than saying a Vegemite sandwich.”

ad-standardsHowever, the ASB rejected the defence, saying the imputations in the ad were clear.

“The majority of the Board noted that while imitating an accent is not of itself discriminatory, ‘Ping Pong’ is not an Asian name: it is an offensive term that can be used to refer to a person of Asian descent,” it said in its determination.

“The Board noted that while Mr Ping Pong speaks English, albeit grammatically incorrect, in the background we can hear his mother speaking and considered that the words she speaks are not identifiable as any known language but rather it sounds like she is speaking gibberish.

“The majority of the Board considered that the advertisement normalises making fun of a person’s English language skills.”

It went on to say the ad mocked Asians because it suggested an Asian woman would go to the toilet in a driveway.

While the ASB said that each of the elements of the ad may not be considered racist in isolation, the combination created a racist message.

“The majority of the Board, however, noted cumulative effect of the man’s fake accent, the mother’s made up language, the naming of the man as ‘Mr Ping Pong’, the reference to the situation as ‘weird’ and the man’s offer of sushi and considered that this amounts to a suggestion that Asian people are being mocked,” it said.

“The advertisement presents Asian people in a manner which incites ridicule and that by mocking their command of English grammar and using a fake name, which is considered racist, rather than a real name, the advertisement is making fun of a difference between Western and Asian cultures which is humiliating for people of Asian descent.”

Responding to the determination, TP Concrete said the ad would no longer be run.

“We didn’t realise that it would in any way be inappropriate, we can see your point and are organising a new ad.”


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