Literally Wicked. Campers still offend.
January 16, 2015
‘Wicked Campers Owner, John Webb wishes to acknowledge the prevailing community opinion by REMOVING the slogan in question and making a commitment over the coming six months to changing slogans of an insensitive nature. Bear in mind however, many of the images presented in the media of our vehicles are from up to 8 years ago, and the vehicles simply do not exist anymore.’ (From Press Release: July 16 2014)
I have to say, now that the commitment John Webb made in his Press Release expires today, I was probably the only chump who actually held hope that he and his team – including Ross Dudgeon, who wrote and spoke to me on John Webb’s behalf six months ago – would keep their word. It appears, however, that their ‘concern’ for what a great deal of people perceived as crossing-the-line, was a mere flash in the pan to divert any more attention toward the business and its practices because, the simple fact is, their promise has not been kept.
I contacted Wicked Campers a few weeks ago but they have not responded to me in regards to this matter. The campaign I initiated six months ago, which started with my 11 year old seeing a very offensive slogan, attracted world-wide attention with 133 articles written – had a Change.org petition won in 4 days with 127, 000+ signatures – inspired Greens Senator, Larissa Waters, to put forward a motion to the Senate to condemn Wicked Campers, which received a rare, unanimous vote – but, regardless of all this, Wicked Campers have still decided to discard their own commitment to change.
Over the last few weeks, more and more people have been coming forward with images of Wicked Camper vans, that have been photographed around Australia, and they’re not impressed. The most frustrating component continues to be the fact that parents find themselves powerless when their children read aloud inappropriate slogans they sight and then scramble to try and create a ‘child-friendly’ explanation; as well as the fact that a wider community – outside the tiny 20s, backpacker demographic Wicked Campers aims at – are also not wishing to read them either.
Let’s not forget that this violation of the public space, encapsulates the biggest problem. Noone is denying that people can’t share a ‘joke’ amongst themselves, but it is the intrusion and face-rubbing of these ‘jokes’ in the common spaces of society, that infuriates a large portion of people. It must also be made clear that this does not mean that Wicked don’t have any vans with good slogans – on the contrary, there are some good ones out there with beautiful art work.
But that is not what all of this is about.
** Addition: On April 24 2015, John Webb released the following Press Release. Please note the dripping contempt of this person.
So let’s have a look.
[I have been updating this post with photos sent to me from around Australia as they come. I recently put up the latest batch sent by the public from this year – 2016]
** Addition photographed at a Splendour in the Grass carpark Byron Bay, NSW, 22 July 2016. Splendour in the Grass made a commitment to tape over – or deny entry to – any slogans that would be deemed inappropriate for its all-age event. This one either slipped through the cracks or the commitment was not honoured. This slogan is pretty anti-woman.
** Addition photographed in the Garden City Westfield’s carpark QLD, 20 June 2016.
So – according to Wicked – either way, women are ‘f**ked’, right?
** Addition photographed at Noosa National Park QLD, 16 June, 2016.
More objectification of women’s bodies.
** Addition photographed in the carpark of tourist site, Sky Tram, Blue Mountains NSW, 17 April 2016
This doesn’t even pretend to be clever – just hyper sexualising females, diminishing any respect that can be held.
** Addition: photographed in Byron Bay NSW, 14 April 2016
Simply against females.
** Addition: photographed in Queenstown Tasmania, 3 April 2016
It’s not shower with your neighbour’s son, now is it?
** Addition: photographed Brighton, Victoria 30 March 2016
This is an appalling example, where not only are women being objectified through the hyper-sexualised image of spreading her legs – they are referred to as GIRLS.
** Addition: photographed Easter Saturday 26 March 2016 on the Tasmanian Peninsula with an 8 and 10 year old asking questions.
The disturbing thing about this van is how the slogan on the back is coupled with a male sculling alcohol with the tag, Gone Drinking – a pissed male talking cunnilingus; not a good combination to advertise in this current climate.
** Addition: Filmed in the Blue Mountains 9 March 2016 in front of a park with children.
** Addition: photographed 5 March 2016 – Melbourne, VIC
** Addition: photographed 29 Feb 2016 – Byron Bay, NSW
When you see the definition of the word – it is one of the worst slogans on the road. I spoke with a young adult recently about this word and she said she knew what it meant because young males seem to be using the term often.
PS On 16 May, the Chief Censor of New Zealand banned this slogan as it was seen as ‘an expression of misogyny that degrades and dehumanises women.’ If this slogan is seen on the streets of NZ, John Webb will cop a $200, 000 fine. Australian Censorship Board cannot do the same, therefore this van is still on our streets.
** Addition: photographed 27 Feb 2016 – Lawson, Blue Mountains, NSW
Bitch is a hugely used derogatory slur against women – or men who are being put down by being compared to women. Plus wrong use of ‘your’.
** Addition: photographed 27 January 2016 – on Princes highway, leaving Pambula NSW.
…because ‘landing’ on men is all women are good for, right?
** Addition: photographed 17 Jan 2016 – Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains, NSW
** Addition: photographed 18 December 2015 – Hobart, Tasmania
This is a slogan that passive-aggressively tries to silence and throws everything into the ‘it’s a joke’ department.
** Addition: photographed 12 April 2015 – Bruny Island, Tasmania
** Addition: photographed 12 April 2015 – Gold Coast M1
** Addition: photographed 21 April 2015 – Ballina
** Addition: photographed 25 March 2015 – Broadway, Sydney
Side of van:
The back (for the number plate):
** Addition: photographed 1 March 2015 – near Hobart.
** Addition: photographed Feb 25 2015 – Darwin
I have a BIG PROBLEM with this following slogan. Today is the 18th March and we have just heard of the 24th woman murdered in Australia so far this year – 2015 is 11 weeks old tomorrow. That’s 2 women a week over last year’s one. There is some buzz in the media about this statistic wondering why it’s happening. Well, of course, there are many factors that contribute to the perceptions of women in a society but they all play a role.
This van PARTICIPATES in perpetuating a toxic and violent perspective about women.
SHAME ON YOU, WICKED CAMPERS!
** Addition – yesterday, the 9th April, the 29th woman was murdered due to male violence, in 2015 so far. That’s jumped from one woman a week to #OneEveryThreeDays – just one year to the next. This is an emergency.
** Addition photographed 12 February 2015 – Blenheim, New Zealand
I have included this photo because the slogan perpetuates a very dangerous perspective about women in this current paradigm. THIS COMPANY HAS NO INTEGRITY!
It reads: ‘I’ve often wanted to drown my troubles, but I can’t get my wife to go swimming.’
** Addition: photographed 6 March 2015 in a Big W carpark; Ballarat VIC.
It reads – ‘Your thighs won’t touch if my head’s between them.’
** Addition: photographed 7 March 2015 – Eildon Road, St Kilda Melbourne
** Addition: photographed 24 Feb 2015 in a Coles Supermarket carpark, Port Adelaide
** Addition photographed 20 Feb 2015 – Seacliff Esplanade, Adelaide
** Addition photographed 2 Feb 2015 – Surfers Paradise Queensland.
This one is ABHORRENT and I’m not speaking about the spelling mistake. I have been informed that an abused girl burst into tears when she found herself behind this van. Not insensitive enough?
** Addition photographed 9 Feb 2015 – Main Beach, Queensland + Dec 27 2014 – King Georges Rd Sydney
** Addition photographed 23 Jan 2015 – Robina, Queensland
** Addition photographed 1 Jan 2015 – near Movieworld in QLD
Students of mine, sent me the following two images they saw on their travels:
Photographed in October 2014 – Canberra.
*** ^^^ So much for getting rid of misogynistic slogans. ^^^ ***
Photographed in Jindabyne in August 2014.
This one may have been sprayed over as I sent the image to Wicked Campers. Without the clear image of the number plate, however, meant it made it harder to locate.
The slogan below (taken on the 26th December in Sydney) actually comes from a cigarette ad from the ’70s (an ad I’ve shown students when we were studying sexist advertising from the days of yore) but most would not know this fact. Those reading this would assume the ‘money-shot’ from porn – ejaculating in a woman’s face. Abhorrent misogyny.
** Addition seen on the 26 Feb 2015 – West Melbourne.
‘Slut’ – that derogatory term applied to females, now attached to a child’s toy:
(Image from Instagram site)
The van below caused a mother, Christine King, to contact Wicked Campers due to the fact this particular van was parked outside a busy cafe area in Brisbane in November – at the school pick-up time – the main part that was visible to her and her kids (as seen from her photo below) said: You’re F#ckin’ Out! I’m F#ckin’ In!
I was under the impression that the use of the word ‘fuck’ is not permitted in public advertisements and yet… voilá!
Then there’s what’s actually written on the back of the same van:
Wicked Campers brushed Christine off when she contacted them, so she registered an official complaint to the Advertising Standards Bureau – which was upheld – but again, Wicked Campers have failed to comply to that ruling.
Christine also wrote to Brisbane City Council, the State Premier, the Police Commissioner and Police Minister and all have come back with the same conclusion – outlined succinctly by her local MP Aaron Dillaway. He wrote:
‘Under the current system, outdoor advertising relies heavily on self-regulation, and those who refuse to comply are not penalised. For this reason, the Attorney-General announces that he is committed to exploring options to properly enforce the decisions of the ASB, which raised in the HCSC report.’
Dillaway also wrote to the Hon Jarrod Bleijie – The Queensland Attorney General and Minister for Justice – and below was his response.
In short, consequences are being looked into for those who breach ASB rulings, but for now, Wicked Campers continues to ride the loophole they have always exploited.
This exploitation has allowed the following, appalling slogan to exist (even though the ASB found the play on words to be sufficiently clever to not uphold a complaint against it); saying a woman can’t wrestle + you should see her box (vulva). Just take the word ‘but’ out and this becomes something more sinister. Why anyone would write that a female can’t wrestle in these contentious times of domestic and social violence against women – is beyond me.
** Addition 13 March 2015 in Melbourne
Finally, I saw on the Instagram page of one of the artists, (from November 2104) that the van with ‘Random Breast Test’ had been sprayed over by a disgruntled person (something John Webb said people could do in his Press Release:
‘In the spirit of being ‘actionist’, Wicked Campers also invites anybody who feels strongly offended by a slogan to either paint or tape over it.’
Well, redo they did – the van below being seen on Jan 2 2015 near Kings Cross, Sydney – which makes me wonder why Wicked Campers didn’t respray it with something else – AS THEY PROMISED.
Question #221: How is it possible that these vans are permitted on the streets with NO consequence?
No other platform is permitted to do the same – so why are Wicked Campers?
This is now my next step and am currently working toward there being a consequence.
I cannot speak for anyone else – but I am more incensed now than I was six months ago.
Misogyny aside, I will leave you with these other slogans which demonstrate the gutter level of ‘humour’ they can utilise – ones generally obsessed with sex.
** Addition Jan 25 2015
Seen just before Christmas 2014 in Coffs Harbour:
** Addition Jan 24 2015
Seen on 23rd November in Coffs Harbour.
A video blog from a few weeks ago by blogger Eden Riley describes the fury she had when her 6 year old son read out the following slogan:
Caption on the back reads: ‘I know the perfect place for us to dry hump”.
Image from Instagram page.
Mia Freedman of Mamamia saw the following van in a Woolies carpark in a holiday coastal town, on Boxing day.
The remaining images are from the Wicked Campers Instagram page – all posted in the last few months.
Note the comments written about this van. In Bondi; late September 2014.
I also want to add, that as a parent, there are a whole lot of other perspectives that I want to navigate my children through, at the age appropriate time. One of these is the issue of drugs and there are also many WC vans that also make reference to drug taking.
I found the following (from their Instagram page) to be in ridiculous poor taste, as well as one that would particularly draw the attention of children:
People power must prevail as these perspectives are breaking Community Standards but being thrust into our public sphere regardless.
I am working on getting legislation passed to hold those who don’t take down advertisements deemed inappropriate by the Advertising Standards Bureau. I’ll need your support.
I would like to importantly add – that this needs to be tackled without any threatening comments or violent threats to anyone at Wicked Campers. That solves nothing and creates more of the same.
I will keep you posted from my end.