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Canada bans "beer" ad

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

CANBERRA(Reuters): First it was banned by Britain for its use of the word ''bloody'' and now Canada has vetoed a scene in a controversial Australian tourism campaign where a character lures visitors by saying ''We've poured you a beer!'' Just days after Britain's television advertising regulator lifted its ban on the ad, which centres on the slightly risque phrase ''bloody hell'', Australian Tourism Minister Fran Bailey said Canadian regulators had now lost their sense of humour. ''Buying a mate a beer is about as Australian as you can get. But the Canadian regulator has banned the shot because implied unbranded alcohol consumption (a part-empty beer glass) is unacceptable,'' Bailey said in a statement.

While Canada doesn't appear to have a problem with the word ''bloody'', it has also prevented the ad from being broadcast during two family programmes because of the word ''hell''. The ads begin with characters saying: ''We've poured you a beer and we've had the camels shampooed, we've saved you a spot on the beach ... and we've got the sharks out of the pool''. They end with a bikini-clad woman on a beach asking ''so where the bloody hell are you?'' The furore over the British TV ban provided an unexpected windfall of free publicity for Tourism Australia, which said it had created ''an on-line traffic jam'' around the A$180 million (129 million dollar) campaign. Bailey hopes the ''astonishing'' Canadian decision to ban part of the ad would earn Australia more free publicity.

''What this decision shows is that Canada lags behind Americans, Brits and even Germans in the sense of humour stakes,'' Bailey said.The campaign is already running in the United States and New Zealand as well as Britain and will also target China, Japan, India and Germany. The full advertisement can be seen at http://www.wherethebloodyhellareyou.com/.

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