ASA shuts down complaints Government's COVID-19 ad is too sexual

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has shut down multiple complaints over the sexual nature of the Government's 'two shots for summer' COVID-19 advert.

Kiwis had complained last year that the ad, which promotes double vaccination against COVID-19, was inappropriate.

The Unite Against COVID-19 advert, which promotes vaccination against COVID-19, lists various freedoms Kiwis could enjoy this summer if they were double-jabbed, including "long days and warm nights" and "sharing a feed".

At one point, the narration says it would take two shots "to do the deed", alongside video of two ladybirds mating, a couple kissing and a firework exploding.

The complaints claimed the ad made sexual references that were inappropriate for children viewers.

"The takes 2 jabs add makes sexual references that it is teaching our young kids about sex way before they need to know," one complainant told the ASA.

"I am shocked at the current "two shots covid ad". It has sexual undertones and messaging, it has been shown during hours my children are watching TV and I think it breaches good taste and decency and children interest sections of the broadcasting Standards," said another.

"I hope it will be stopped from being aired."

ASA Complaints Board Chair Raewyn Anderson acknowledged their concern, but having reviewed the ad, found it was not in breach of the Advertising Standards Code.

Anderson said the likely consumer takeout of the ad was to encourage people to get vaccinated.

"The sexual references in the advertisement: the phrase "two to do the deed" combined with the fleeting images of two ladybirds copulating and two people kissing, did not reach the threshold to cause serious or widespread offence," she wrote.

In November, the Government responded to confusion over the 'two shots to do the deed' line, which some said implied Kiwis needed to be fully vaccinated in order to have sex this summer.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said he does not write the advertisement so he was not sure what would have been referred to there.

"But I'm sure people need all manner of different incentives to be vaccinated, so whatever it takes," he added with a chuckle.