'Horrible and hateful' Toffee Pops biscuit ad ruled not racist

The Advertising Standards Authority's (ASA's) Complaints Board has found a commercial advertising new caramelised white chocolate biscuits was not racist.

The ruling comes after the board received a complaint that a TV advertisement for Griffins' Toffee Pops had "offensive dialogue with racist overtones".

When a milk chocolate biscuit asks if it tastes "delicious", former All Black Carlos Spencer bites into the white chocolate biscuit and says "Mmm, that's delicious". 

The commercial featured three milk chocolate and one white chocolate biscuits on a plate, with the white biscuit saying it was a "luxurious caramelised" biscuit when told its coating looked "interesting" by a fellow biscuit.

However, the complainant said the narrative of the commercial was racist.

"The colour of a biscuit character's face is called into question in terms of whether they might be as good to eat as the other characters," they wrote.

"It encourages racism and with the animated style is likely to appeal to children. Horrible and hateful role modelling in a multicultural society." 

The advertisers defended the commercial, saying it was using "tongue in cheek" humour and was targeted towards home shoppers of 25-54 years old, not children.

The Complaints Board agreed, and said the humorous illustration promoted the message that it was just as delicious as the original Toffee Pops.

There was a minority on the board that said there was "a judgemental tone" in the advertisement, due to it singling out the white chocolate biscuit for looking different.

However, the board ultimately ruled the advertisement had not breached the Code of Ethics or Children and Young People's Advertising Code.

Spencer had previouly appeared in a controversial 1990s Toffee Pops commercial.