Serapelo complained that the man’s conduct is harassment, including sexual harassment, in the workplace.
“The second complainant [Harvey] submitted that sucking another man’s finger and going into ecstasy is highly inappropriate,” ARB noted in its ruling.
Doritos said it was an international advert and that no regulatory body elsewhere has banned it. Doritos added that during test screenings South Africans “enjoyed the commercial, particularly for its humorous nature”.
“The commercial is lighthearted and should not be taken literally, and one cannot reasonably interpret the commercial as condoning or promoting harassment in the workplace, or inappropriate behaviour. The scenarios in the commercial are clearly over the top.”
ARB dismissed the complaint on May 9 and said it is not the “taste police”.
“It is unrealistic that a colleague could or would openly suck one’s fingers or rip one’s pants off for Dorito crumbs as shown in the commercial. The manner in which these actions are depicted is clearly unrealistic and over the top… The commercial is clearly intended to be taken humorously and not literally,” the ARB said.
“While it is arguable that if the depicted actions were to actually happen in real life, depending on the circumstances, it would amount to sexual harassment, the actions are so unrealistic and over-the-top that no reasonable consumer would consider imitating the commercial. In addition, the commercial makes it clear, from the character’s strange demeanour and the reactions that his colleagues have, that this behaviour is not acceptable, normal or desirable.”