"An ad for a TV dating show has been banned for suggesting that people with ginger hair were unattractive, Britain's advertising watchdog said. Virgin Media's newspaper advert for the program Dating in the Dark included the text: "How do you spot a ginger in the dark?"
Virgin said the premise of the show was to challenge people's perception of attractiveness and to encourage decisions based on personality as well as looks.
However the Advertising Standards Authority agreed with three complainants that the ad was likely to cause serious offence and should not be used again. "We considered the text was likely to be interpreted ... as a statement that reflected a choice between looks and personality ... being a suggestion that people with ginger hair were unattractive," the ASA said. "We considered the ad was unlikely to be interpreted to be light-hearted in tone and was instead likely to be seen as prejudicial against people with ginger hair."
There are all sorts of nicknames for red hair. "Ginger" is of course common, even though all the ginger I have ever seen is an off-white color. The oddest may be "carrot top", since carrot tops are green. And a nickname that seems to be used only in South Australia is "ranga", after Orang Utans, which do have red hair. Most Australian redheads are however addressed as "Blue" or "Bluey", with no offence being taken or intended. It's part of traditional Australian jocularity. In a similar spirit, German immigrants with the Christian name "Heinz" -- a common name in Germany -- are sometimes referred to as "57 varieties".
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