GERMAN budget retailer Aldi has escaped censure over an advert claimed to be racist towards Scots.

The supermarket discount chain raised hackles with a radio advert in Australia for its whisky range which features an Englishwoman translating for a Scot.

The advert for the retailer’s own-brand whisky range begins with the sound of bagpipes segueing into a Scot introducing himself as Aldi’s head distiller.

A woman with an English accent then starts to talk over him, translating what he says despite the distiller’s protests that he is speaking English.

The advert was investigated by the Australian Advertising Standards Board after an expat Scot complained it was racist.

“Advertisements like this perpetuate the stereotype that as a nation we cannot be understood,” the complainant said.

“This should be taken in the context of would it be acceptable to put an interpreter on an advert for an aboriginal product? No! There would be uproar. Why is it acceptable to be racist towards the Scottish?”

However the board rejected the complaint saying the advert was supposed to be humorous.

In a written ruling, the board said: “The board noted in the current advertisement that by using a translator the suggestion is that the man’s Scottish accent is unlikely to be understood by the average listener and considered that as the man’s Scottish accent is easy to understand the translation adds a humorous tone to the advertisement.

“The board noted that the advertisement presents a stereotype of a Scotsman with a strong accent but considered that the overall depiction is not negative: the translator is presented as silly, not the Scotsman, because she is unnecessarily translating.

“The board acknowledged that making fun of a person’s accent is not necessarily acceptable regardless of their nationality but considered that in this instance the advertisement is not making fun of a Scottish accent but rather playing on a common scenario whereby a strong accent, in this case Scottish, can be difficult for some people to understand despite the same language being spoken.”

Aldi told the board that the ad is part of a series of advertisements intended to be light-hearted and humorous.

French and New Zealand accents are also given similar treatment to the Scottish accent in the advert series.

The firm said: “While we have highlighted the varied accents of English-speaking people from different countries, we have not been unjust or prejudicial in doing so, as (a) differing accents are a fact given the broad geographical locations of English-speaking people.

“And (b) we have not stated nor implied that one is more correct than the other. Instead, we simply translated an accent from one region for a different accented audience in another region.

“As a consequence, we have not ‘discriminated against’, especially when considering the lighthearted and humorous tone.

“Nor have we been ‘abusive’ or ‘disparaging’, so have not vilified anyone of Scottish nationality or descent.”

A similar row was caused by Australian pastry company Patties Foods in 2011 which had a voiceover saying: “Scots have never been very welcome on the Australian worksite”.

The tagline followed the depiction of a kilted man lifting up his kilt to flash his workmates while apparently not wearing underwear.

The complaint was also rejected on the ground that it was humorous rather racist.