Newspaper ordered to withdraw Oscar ad

Johannesburg - A newspaper advert by an advertising company referring to murder accused Paralympian Oscar Pistorius being sent for psychiatric evaluation must be withdrawn, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled.

The advert, "Oscar's Psychiatric Evaluation" by Toast Media was placed in The Times newspaper on 27 May.

"The process to withdraw the advertisement must be actioned with immediate effect on receipt of this ruling," the ASA said in a recent ruling.

"The advertisement may not be used again in its current format and context. The complaint is upheld."

Pistorius underwent a month-long psychiatric evaluation at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital, after which the court heard he did not suffer from general anxiety disorder.

On 20 May, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled three psychiatrists and one clinical psychologist would evaluate Pistorius to determine whether his general anxiety disorder and his disability had an effect on him when he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

A consumer complained about the advert which contained an image resembling a Rorschach ink-blot. Two handguns on either side as well as what appears to be a heart broken in two can be identified.

Underneath the image "... for alternative creative results" is written with Toast Media's contact details.

‘Offensive and twisted’

A consumer complained that the advert was offensive and presented a twisted mental image of Pistorius and what the psychiatric evaluation would reveal.

The complainant said it was "insensitive and offensive" to Pistorius's family and friends.

Toast Media replied and said the advert was not created to offend or depict vulgar views about the situation or subject.

"The advertising came about as a result of The Times newspaper’s challenge to creative houses, compelling them to look at current affairs in fresh and creative ways," Toast Media said in its response.

"The Oscar Pistorius trial was of interest to the public, and the respondent deemed it appropriate to not only highlight the situation, but to do so in a creative way."

The ASA said the "tragedy" surrounding Steenkamp's death at the hands of Pistorius had grabbed international attention and because of his trial so did his referral for psychiatric evaluation.

ASA said it accepted Toast Media's argument that the information in the advert was in the public domain, but it did not negate the fact that the advert was "capitalising on the tragedy for commercial gain".

"It communicates as a matter of 'fact' that Oscar Pistorius is preoccupied with guns, which led to this tragedy, and in doing so is likely to be perceived as offensive against current public sensitivities."

"The advertisement must be withdrawn," ASA said in its ruling.

Final argument in Pistorius's trial will be heard on Thursday.

He claims he shot Steenkamp by accident through the locked door of his toilet in his Pretoria home, thinking she was an intruder.

The State contends he killed her during an argument.

Jason/Michelle 2014/08/06 04:05:49 PM
Who cares?
Nin Ja Kitty 2014/08/06 04:09:06 PM
I have changed my mind. Who really gives a Cr@p. Justice must prevail, no newspaper ad is going to make an ounce of difference.
Raymond Randall 2014/08/06 04:13:16 PM
Lock the douche bag up stumps and all !!
FastnEasy Loans 2014/08/06 04:21:17 PM
Guerilla Marketing gone wrong
Valerie Widmann 2014/08/06 05:06:14 PM
Looking forwards to more Court room drama tomorrow!
Sliesje Evony 2014/08/06 05:14:40 PM
His lawyers get richer, they are counting but he will still go to jail. Poor spoiled kid, I hope they give him hid running legs in jail or he will become a girl
Allison Pennell 2014/08/06 05:26:08 PM
Have they ordered the Steenkamp family to stop cashing in too?
Ros 2014/08/06 05:36:43 PM
I thought this was about insensitive advertising. And it is
Heather Malcherczyk 2014/08/06 07:25:47 PM
Where can one lodge a complaint about the sick, twisted and hate filled comments that seem to go unchecked every time there is an article about Oscar Pistorius? To the consumer who lodged a complaint about this offensive advertisement, I salute you, you are a rare thing - morality appears to be in very short supply.
Charmaine Wilders 2014/08/07 12:21:11 AM
@ Alison and all the other Oscar freaks. The Steenkamps lost a child!!!! due to the irresponsible actions of a little spoilt boy that has all the money in the world to try and defend his sick lies, I do not blame them even if they took the very last cent he owns. Any spinnoff "cashing in" that comes their way is also a result of his actions and we are all just as guilty. We have become consumers of this entire bizare sick sensation!!!!