Two complaints against a radio advert for Endon Ford Garage in Stoke-on-Trent have been thrown out by the advertising watchdog.
A couple of listeners believed the ad used an outdated stereotype of Irish people as stupid and found the ad offensive.
The ad featured two Irish men talking on the phone, with the sound of a running stream in the background. One man said: "Patrick? It's me, Mick. You know you sent me to Endon Ford to get the van serviced?" The second man replied: "Yes, Mick".
The first man continued: "Well, I'm here but the only thing that's happening is that me boots are filling with water". The second man responded by saying: "Water? You idiot, you're standing in the ford at Endon, not in the new Ford dealer at Endon services. You took the wrong turning at the monument, Mick". The voice-over went on to explain that Endon Ford was an approved Ford dealer.
Signal Radio said the characters of Mick and Patrick had been used in Endon Ford radio advertising for the past eight years. It believed this was the first time there had been a complaint of this kind and said there had been no intention to upset listeners. Both characters were Irish, one the foreman and the other the comedy sidekick, and were based on classic comedy duos, such as Laurel and Hardy, Father Ted and Dougal and The Chuckle Brothers.
The Advertising Standards Authority noted that Mick and Patrick were well-established characters in a long running series of radio ads and the humour was based on the widely recognised comic device of having one character frustrated by the others stupidity.
It considered that, because both characters were Irish and one was clearly intelligent, listeners were likely to understand the humour to be based simply on Mick’s stupidity, not on a negative stereotype of the Irish.