By Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism and Blue Mountains City Council
Official regional tourism organisation Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism (BMLOT) and Blue Mountains City Council applaud the efforts of the successful community action calling for Wicked Campers to remove offensive vehicle slogans and imagery from public view.
On Monday, July 13, media reported that high school teacher Paula Orbea had launched an online petition to “eliminate misogynistic and degrading slogans and imagery’’ from Wicked Campers, a Brisbane-based car rental company after a Wicked campervan was seen in the Blue Mountains with a slogan which read: “In every princess, there’s a little slut who wants to try it just once’’.
Within four days of launching the online petition, Ms Orbea had secured more than 110,000 signatures and the support of the Federal Parliament Upper House.
Despite staunchly defending their signature graffiti-style artwork and refusing to respond to community demands in the initial aftermath of the petition, on Thursday, July 16, Wicked issuing an apology and has committed to changing insensitive slogans during the next six months. BMLOT chairman Daniel Myles said BMLOT and the council had a role in protecting the integrity of the Blue Mountains brand.
“As a high-profile tourism destination, we recognise the importance of tourism to the regional economy. Aside from being grossly inappropriate and distasteful, the slogans and imagery displayed on many Wicked campervans are an unwanted souvenir for visitors to the Blue Mountains.
“I’m all in favour of free speech, but I also defend the right of the public to choose the information, advertising and branding they consume. Mobile advertising such as Wicked campervans deny people this choice to be spared from advertising that is demeaning and offensive.’’
Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill said: “I was in the process of bringing this matter to the attention of the Council on 22 July, asking for their support of this campaign and upholding community standards. I am very pleased to see the success of the community campaign meant I no longer needed to take this action.
“Clearly, it is a widely held view that this slogan, and the many other equally offensive slogans, are, at best, degrading to women, and at worst, condone and normalise sexual assault and rape culture.
“The use of slippery advertising tactics and the argument that sexual objectification or racial vilification is merely cheeky self-expression and colourful artwork does not, in my view, meet with community standards.’’
BMLOT and the council believe the claim by Wicked, that their trademark artwork on the campervans does not constitute advertising, is unacceptable. Mr Myles and the Mayor agree with the public view that such artwork should be classified as a form of outdoor advertising and subject to the same rules and standards as commercial billboards.