A TV ad for Paddy Power, seen in February 2012, had a voice-over which stated Ian Reed wrote on our Facebook wall 'Can't wait to see some beauties at Cheltenham Ladies Day' and showed the comment on their Facebook page. The ad then showed
various shots of Cheltenham racecourse while the voice-over stated We hear you Ian and we're going to make Ladies Day even more exciting by sending in some beautiful transgendered ladies! Spot the stallions from the mares! . The words Stallions
and Mares appeared on screen in large text and were shown to mate with each other. The voice-over then stated Here we go and the ad showed a series of brief shots of people at the event while the voice-over attempted to guess their
gender. Their actual gender was not given. In one scene a woman was shown holding a dog while the voice-over stated woman then hesitated while the shot changed to show a woman walking out of a men's toilet and stated dog, I mean, man . At
the end of the ad the voice-over stated And remember, all the runners, all the riders, right in the palm of your hand with Paddy Power Mobile. We hear you Ian Reed!
The ASA received 92 complaints:
The Kent Transgender Forum, LGBT Diversity and 90 other complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive.
The Kent Transgender Forum and LGBT Diversity and 24 other complainants challenged whether
the ad condoned and encouraged harmful discriminatory behaviour and treatment.
Paddy Power plc (Paddy Power) said they sought to comply with the CAP and BCAP Codes and were mindful of the regulation around the betting and gaming industry. They said, because their customers were adults, the ad contained adult
humour directed to an adult audience.
Paddy Power said they took their responsibilities as an advertiser very seriously and had carefully considered the issues associated with the idea at the concept stage. They said, in following
what they considered to be best practice, they consulted the Beaumont Society, which they understood was the largest and longest established transgender support group in the UK. They said they had shared the script for the ad with the Beaumont Society
and worked with them and Clearcast to ensure the ad met with broadcasting and decency standards and argued that the ad had therefore been prepared responsibly.
Paddy Power said, at the time of responding, the ad was still on
YouTube and had attracted a large number of views and had been liked by the vast majority.
Clearcast said they worked very closely with the advertising agency prior to approving the ad to ensure that the treatment complied
fully with both the spirit and letter of the BCAP Code. They said, when the ad was first submitted they had expressed concerns about the offence that may be caused to members of the transgender community and had therefore directed Paddy Power to seek a
view from the Beaumont Society, whom the ASA had previously recognised as an appropriate place to seek advice on scripts concerning possible transgender related issues.
Clearcast said, whilst they acknowledged that the ad might
not be to everyone's personal taste, they also took into account the view received by the Beaumont Society, that the ad fell short of encouraging negative stereotypes of transgender people and women in general. They said, once the ad went to air, the
response from certain groups in the transgender community as well as viewers, made them uncomfortable with the advice which they had received. They said, given the level of discomfort that was expressed they consulted with the broadcasters and jointly
agreed that the clearance for the ad should be revoked.
ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld
The ASA noted the response provided by Clearcast and that Paddy Power, at Clearcast's direction, had sought a view
on the concept and script from the Beaumont Society who were a national self-help body run by and for those who cross-dressed or were transsexual. The Beaumont Society explained that they had advised Paddy Power to use transgendered believing that
that phrase was not problematic, but that they now understood that some sections of the transgender community were offended by it. They provided a copy of the script on which they had advised and pointed out that it did not include the scene in which a
woman left a men's toilet and was referred to as a dog, and said they did not agree with its inclusion. They said, while the script they were provided with did make reference to stallions and mares , they were not happy with the manner in
which those terms were used in the finished ad, which they had not seen prior to broadcast. We noted that, following negative feedback, Clearcast had now revoked the clearance for the ad.
The ASA also sought advice from Trans
Media Watch whose specific area of work was the media portrayal of transgender issues and people.
We considered that the suggestion that trans people could be segregated into the gender
stereotypes stallions and mares as part of a guessing game, trivialised a complex and difficult issue and objectified them in a way that was likely to cause them serious offence.
We noted that, in one scene, a person
was shown holding a dog, while the voice-over hesitated, before saying dog , by which time the scene had changed to show a woman leaving a man's toilet. We considered that the suggestion that a trans woman would need to, or should, use a men's
toilet and the reference to a woman as a dog were also likely to cause serious offence to women generally and trans women specifically. We concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence.
On this point the ad breached
BCAP Code rule 4.2 (Harm and offence).
We considered for the reasons given in point 1 above, that the ad trivialised a highly complex issue and depicted a number of common negative stereotypes
about trans people. We considered that by suggesting that trans women would look like men in drag and that their gender could be speculated on as part of a game, the ad irresponsibly reinforced those negative stereotypes and, particularly by framing the
game in a way that involved a member of the public who had commented on Paddy Power's Facebook page, the ad condoned and encouraged harmful discriminatory behaviour and treatment.
On this point the ad breached BCAP Code rules 1.2
(Social responsibility) and 4.8 (Harm and offence).
The Australian TV stations ABC has deemed Madonna's ad for her new her perfume, Truth or Dare, too sexy.
The 30-second television commercial shows the singer cavorting in a low-cut corset and fishnet stockings, while singing and writhing to
the dance beat, I'm a bad girl.
Now network executives have ordered the black-and-white perfume ad to be digitally altered to cover the offending shots of her cleavage.
Among the content changes that have reportedly been requested
are digitally altering the singer's bra to make it bigger and extend higher, covering more of her chest, and also making her corset longer to cover more of her behind.
Once the requested changes have been made, ABC will only air the perfume ad
after 9pm, with the exception of the daytime talk show The View.
Last month the advertising censors at the ASA banned a christian group, Healing on the Streets - Bath, from making nonsense claims about their healing services.
They censured a leaflet which stated:
NEED HEALING? GOD CAN HEAL TODAY!
Do you suffer from Back Pain, Arthritis, MS, Addiction ... Ulcers, Depression, Allergies, Fibromyalgia, Asthma, Paralysis, Crippling Disease, Phobias, Sleeping disorders or any other sickness?
We'd love to
pray for your healing right now! We're Christian from churches in Bath and we pray in the name of Jesus. We believe that God loves you and can heal you from any sickness.
Now MPs from the Christians in Parliament group are challenging
the ASA decision. Gary Streeter (Con), Gavin Shuker (Lab) and Tim Farron (Lib Dem), have written to Chris Smith, Chairman of the Advertising Standards Agency:
We are writing on behalf of the all-party Christians in
Parliament group in Westminster and your ruling that the Healing On The Streets ministry in Bath are no longer able to claim, in their advertising, that God can heal people from medical conditions.
We write to express our concern
at this decision and to enquire about the basis on which it has been made. It appears to cut across two thousand years of Christian tradition and the very clear teaching in the Bible. Many of us have seen and experienced physical healing ourselves in our
own families and churches and wonder why you have decided that this is not possible.
On what scientific research or empirical evidence have you based this decision?
You might be interested to know that I
(Gary Streeter) received divine healing myself at a church meeting in 1983 on my right hand, which was in pain for many years. After prayer at that meeting, my hand was immediately free from pain and has been ever since. What does the ASA say about that?
I would be the first to accept that prayed for people do not always get healed, but sometimes they do. That is all this sincere group of Christians in Bath are claiming.
It is interesting to note that since the traumatic collapse
of the footballer Fabrice Muamba the whole nation appears to be praying for a physical healing for him. I enclose some media extracts. Are they wrong also and will you seek to intervene?
We invite your detailed response to this
letter and unless you can persuade us that you have reached your ruling on the basis of indisputable scientific evidence, we intend to raise this matter in Parliament.
It seems that the Lib Dems were not impressed by their MP, Tim Farron, signing the letter.
Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron has now apologised for the wording of a letter which called for a ban on adverts that claimed God could heal sick
people to be overturned, but stood by his belief that prayer could help.
Following the publication of the letter Farron apologised to Liberal Democrat members, many of whom disagreed with his decision to sign the letter. In a post on the
grass-roots Liberal Democrat Voice website, Farron said it was not a well-worded and that he should not have signed it as it was written . He said:
The reference to the ASA providing indisputable evidence
is silly, and the implication that people should seek faith healing at the expense of medical intervention is something that I just don't believe in
For what it's worth, I also think that the Fabrice Muamba reference is crass. So
on all those fronts, I should just say sorry and not bother defending myself. I shouldn't have signed that letter as it was written, so I apologise for putting some of you in quite a difficult position.
Australia's advert dutifully ban Mossimo Peep Show advert on the grounds that it somehow condones sexting
Australian anti-sexualisation nutters Collective Shout! , launched a campaign against an Australian clothing store, Mossimo , who introduced an advertising campaign in shops and on Facebook alluding to peep shows.
reported the campaign to Australia's advertising censors at the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB).
The ASM report explained:
Window display with the words Peep show and take a peek inside accompanied by
images of men and women in lingerie. In one image the woman is pulling at the man's underpants so that they are coming away from his waist
These windows are in plain view of
children and provide complete approval of something that is illegal. It takes away the choice I get to make as a parent regarding the view my children should be allowed to make but it also made me feel the complete objectification of women. On the one
hand I am being encouraged as a parent to protect my children from this sort of thing on the internet and provide strict parenting controls to protect and value my children but in a shopping centre they are being confront with something that not only
provides a distorted perception for women but ok's doing this in secret. This is entirely unacceptable material for display to the general public.
Mossimo is a cheeky, irreverent and
light-hearted brand! In the same vein, the Mossimo Peepshow Facebook campaign is a cheeky, irreverent, light-hearted and slightly controversial promotion that is consistent with Mossimo Underwear's brand positioning.
believes that the Mossimo Peepshow Facebook app represents the best way to talk to its target audience in a language and a medium with which they are both familiar and use regularly. In this respect, the company believes that is no different to underwear
advertisements in catalogues, print or other media channels, which are employed by other brands to talk to their customers. Indeed you could argue that the annual Victoria's Secret Parade which airs on Channel 10 despite being rated PG is far more
ASB Decision: Breach of the code for condoning sexting
The Board considered that the overall impression of the images was suggestive of images taken in a person's home and is suggestive of
sexting - the practice of, in particular, young people sending explicit photographs of themselves via mobile phones.
The Board noted that sexting is an issue of concern in Australian society. The Board considered that the
woman appears young and that the issue of sexting is of particular concern where it concerns young men and women and older children. The Board considered that the images of Liz on the website were sexualised and suggestive of sexting .
The Board considered that these images were not appropriate considering that the target audience of the advertisement is likely to include young men and women - the same audience considered to be at risk with regards to the
issue of sexting .
The Board determined that these images did not treat sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience and that the images breached section 2.3 of the Code.
then considered section 2.6 of the Code:
Advertising or Marketing Communications shall not depict material contrary to Prevailing Community Standards on health and safety.
accepting the Advertiser's commitment to refusing to publish inappropriate photos, the Board considered it possible that younger people would see the current advertisement as condoning or at least giving some legitimacy to the behaviour of uploading
images of themselves in underwear and that this is a message that the community views as unacceptable.
The Board considered that this advertisement depicted material contrary to prevailing community standards on online behaviour
and safety and was in breach of section 2.6 of the Code.
A Turkish TV advert for men's shampoo, featuring Adolf Hitler, has been withdrawn following complaints from the country's Jewish community. Turkey's Jewish community
threatened legal action over the unacceptable use of Hitler to promote the product.
The Istanbul-based advertising firm, Marka, and the company that produces the product, Biota Laboratories, both confirmed that, after just ten days on air,
the decision had been taken to withdraw the advert for Biomen shampoo.
The Jewish community seemed more upset than they were supposed to be, Beril Mardin, account director with the Istanbul-based advertising firm Marka told the BBC.
The owner of the Northampton Sofa King furniture has appealed an advert by the Advertising Standards Authority.
Last month, the ASA found an advert reading The Sofa King -- Where the prices are Sofa King Low! was supposedly likely to
cause serious or widespread offence because it alluded to ''so fucking low'. The ASA claimed that the advertisement alluded to a word so likely to offend that it should not be used in advertisements at all.
But Mark Kypta, who has run Sofa King
and used the slogan for 10 years, has argued the decision was not consistent with similar cases, including the ASA's rejection of 52 complaints against Burger King advertisements in 2010.
In 2010, 52 complaints were made against a Burger King
advertising campaign that used phrases such as king tasty , king delicious and no king parking . The ASA allowed the advertisements, stating they were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence because they did not contain any
explicit bad language.
Kypta is arguing that this reasoning should apply to the Sofa King's advertising too.
An ad uploaded onto YouTube by Harvey Nichols, titled A Harvey Nichols Christmas 2011 - Ever Faced the Walk of Shame? , was viewed between 6 and 12 December 2011. The ad showed several women in evening wear making their way home in the early
morning, apparently after a night out. The women all looked dishevelled and uncomfortable, and some were given second looks from passers-by. On-screen text then appeared, which stated Avoid the Walk of Shame this Season , followed by footage of a
smartly-dressed woman approaching the entrance of a flat and confidently acknowledging a postman.
The ASA received several complaints:
One complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because it reinforced negative stereotypes of women, and in particular those women who chose to have casual sex.
One complainant challenged
whether the ad was offensive and sexist, because it was demeaning to women.
One complainant challenged whether the ad, and in particular a scene of a woman wearing ripped tights, was offensive, because it implied sexual
Three complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive, because it suggested that lower class women who had one-night stands should feel shame, whilst more wealthy women who behaved in the same way should feel
One complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because it mocked less wealthy women and those who did not have model figures.
Harvey Nichols & Company (HNC) said they were sorry to hear that the ad had offended or caused concern. They said their intention had been to raise a smile by reminding people of a familiar hazard of the Christmas party season --
of waking up somewhere unfamiliar the day after a night out and having to embark on the journey home in attire that was less than suitable for the morning rush hour. HNC said that, in the past few years, that phenomenon had been popularly referred to as
the Walk of Shame , but the ad was intended to convey the idea that women did not have any reason to be ashamed. Rather, it was intended to highlight the fact that society tended to be judgemental, and to suggest, playfully, that a woman's choice
of outfit could go some way to offsetting that tendency. They said their intention was to show that women could also do the Stride of Pride , which was how men were popularly referred to in the same situation.
HNC said the
response to the ad suggested that the vast majority of people who saw it had enjoyed it and taken it in the spirit with which it was intended. They said it had been enjoyed and celebrated by women's magazines and, after 725,000 views on YouTube, the ad
had received 1223 likes and only 221 dislikes.
ASA Assessment: Complaints Not upheld
The ASA noted HNC's view that the women had not necessarily had one-night stands. However, like the complainants, we
understood the term Walk of Shame to be popularly understood to refer to an early morning journey home specifically after a one-night stand. We therefore considered that, by referencing the Walk of Shame , the implication of the ad was that
the women had had casual sex the previous night. Nonetheless, we noted that whilst the ad mainly depicted women on the Walk of Shame who looked dishevelled and uncomfortable, the final scene showed a woman who appeared neat and confident. We
considered the ad did not, therefore, reinforce negative stereotypes of women generally, or women who chose to have casual sex in particular, nor that it was sexist or demeaning to women.
We understood one complainant believed the
ad was offensive because the scene of a woman wearing ripped tights implied sexual violence. However, we considered the majority of viewers would not interpret the scene in that way, because ripped or laddered tights were common in everyday situations.
We noted the ad depicted women of a range of sizes and in a variety of dress styles. We also noted they were shown in a range of locations and situations which did not necessarily suggest they belonged to a specific social class
or had a certain level of wealth. We therefore considered the ad did not imply that lower class women who had one-night stands should feel shame whilst more wealthy women should feel proud, or that it mocked less wealthy women who did not have model
We acknowledged that some people might find the theme of the ad distasteful, but we concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
On all points, we investigated the ad
under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.
Three TV ads for the film Paranormal Activity 3 broadcast in October 2011. The ads, each ten seconds in length, featured quickly changing scenes shot in the style of video-camera footage.
a. The first ad featured a young girl sitting in a garden, while a man said Kirsty has been talking to this imaginary friend . This was followed by a young girl whispering in the corner of a darkened room, then standing
in a darkened doorway watching a woman sleeping. A woman said Oh My God! and a girl asked Did you hear that? ; furniture was shown moving around violently, before a girl was seen screaming. On-screen text that stated DISCOVER HOW THE
ACTIVITY BEGAN was interspersed throughout the brief scenes.
b. The second ad featured a man who said There was something in the house , which was followed by shots of darkened interiors of a home. A woman
said We're getting out of here before she was invisibly pulled backwards and, screaming, violently thrown onto a bed. On-screen text that stated DISCOVER HOW THE ACTIVITY BEGAN was interspersed throughout the brief scenes.
c. The third ad showed two young girls standing in front of a mirror with a video camera set up behind them. One of the girls said Remember the rules? and turned off the light. The red recording light of the video-camera was
shown on screen, while the girls chanted Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary . One of the girls shone a torch under her chin and screamed. The other girl screamed as well and said Katie, it's not funny! before they left the room. The
light from the hall revealed a silhouette of a figure standing in the room.
All three ads were cleared by Clearcast with a post 7.30 pm restriction.
1. Twenty nine viewers challenged whether the ads were likely to cause distress to children and adults. 9 reported that
their children, aged between 10 and 16 years, had been upset by the ads, and 11 reported personal distress.
2. Fifteen of the complainants challenged whether the ads were suitable for broadcast before 9 pm.
Clearcast said all three ads were approved with a post 7.30 pm timing restriction, which prevented the ad from being shown in and around children's programmes. They said, when they viewed the ads, they recognised the potential to
cause distress to some viewers and in particular children, but nonetheless believed the short duration of the ads alleviated the potential for harm or offence, because they did not maintain a level of sustained threat and tension for a period long enough
to leave a lasting impression on the average consumer.
ASA Decision: Complaints Upheld
The ASA considered that, although the ads were brief, the general tone was one of fear and threat, with young
children screaming in both ads (a) and (c) and a screaming woman being thrown violently backwards in ad (b). We noted the ads appeared to have been shot on a home video camera and took place in a recognisable domestic setting, with ordinary people, which
added to the sense of threat.
We noted the ages of those children reportedly upset by the ads ranged from 10 to 16 years. Although we acknowledged that the restriction preventing the ads from being shown before 7.30 pm had kept
the material away from younger children, we considered that the overall atmosphere of fear and menace portrayed was nonetheless likely to be upsetting to some older children watching television after that time. We considered that a post 7.30 pm
restriction was not sufficient and a post 9pm restriction ought to have been applied in order to minimise the possibility of children seeing the ads.
We also noted some adult viewers were unsettled or disturbed by the ads.
However, although we sympathised with their reaction, we nonetheless considered that the ads did not go beyond what viewers would normally expect from ads promoting a 15-certificate horror film.
We considered that a post- 9 pm
restriction should have been applied in order to reduce the likelihood of children seeing the ads and concluded that they were unsuitable for broadcast before that time.
The ads breached BCAP Code rules 4.1 (Harm and offence) and
32.3 (Scheduling), but did not breach rule 4.10 (Harm and offence).
A Red Bull commercial has caused huge controversy for allegedly mocking Jesus' miracle of walking on water, and could be banned in Brazil by the National Advertising Council (CONAR), according to Brazilian publication Globo.
In the cartoon ad,
Jesus and two of his disciples are sitting inside a small fishing boat. Jesus suddenly gets up and with frustration says: Well guys, that is it! Nothing is going to happen today! I am getting out of here! He leaves the boat and apparently walks on
the water. Eventually explaining: There is no miracle here! You just have to be smart and find the rocks to step on.
Local media outlets are reporting that the Catholic Diocese of Rio de Janeiro is considering legal action.
has denied any intention of mocking Jesus. The communication department explained:
Red Bull's intention was just to kid around. We even mentioned on the advertising that Jesus didn't need to drink a Red Bull to walk on
the water. All we did was to suggest that you need to be smart to walk on the water.
According to CONAR, if the latest commercial is deemed offensive, it will have to be banned unless modifications are made.
Red Bull South Africa has pulled its Jesus walks on water television campaign following complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority
Father Christopher Townsend said religion and faith should never be ridiculed. [Even if it's being ridiculous]: We are used to Red Bull advertising being very cheeky and satirical ...BUT... there
is a certain level where it oversteps the mark.
A TV ad for VIP 212 fragrances featured a line of people waiting outside a nightclub and a doorman pointing towards a sign which stated THIS IS A PRIVATE PARTY . A woman was seen surreptitiously crawling through the crowd and a man was
prevented from trying to enter via a back door. Various people were seen socialising inside the party. A woman was shown from behind, apparently topless, facing a large stuffed polar bear. Another woman was shown, again from behind, throwing open her
coat causing a shocked reaction from another woman standing in front of her.
Four complainants objected that the ad was offensive and inappropriate for broadcast at a time when children might be watching.
Puig said that the ad for the
VIP 212 perfume was created in line with the overall brand concept of Are you on the list? . They believed the ad would not in any way cause serious or widespread offence and that the levels of nudity were of the kind expected in other ads
for fragrance or shower products and were not inappropriate for broadcast around programmes which children would be likely to be watching.
Clearcast believed the ad was not offensive or inappropriate for broadcast at a time when
children would be watching and stated that the content was typical of its genre and featured beautiful people in a stylised backdrop. They stated that the ad had been shot in black and white and illustrated the avant garde nature of the party through the
fancy dress costumes and the stuffed polar bear. They stated that within this surreal party there were some slightly risque' elements but believed it was commonplace in perfume ads to include artistic shots of provocatively dressed women. They agreed
with Puig that ads for shower products often included more flesh and believed the woman seen with the polar bear was sensual, but not overtly sexual.
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
The ASA noted
the ad featured young, attractive and glamorous characters at an exclusive party. We also noted the ad featured a brief image of a naked woman with her back to the camera, facing a stuffed polar bear and an image of another woman, also with her back to
the camera, opening her coat causing a shocked reaction from the person standing in front of her. Although we understood that some viewers may have been uncomfortable with the innuendo presented in the ad, we considered that the black and white images
provided a stylised image of a modern, slightly fantastical, party scene and that any partial nudity was fleeting. We considered that the brief images of the women were not presented in an excessively sexual or provocative way and that the content was
likely to be in line with most viewers' expectations of a perfume ad. We therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence and that a timing restriction to prevent the ad from being broadcast at a time when children were
likely to be watching was unnecessary.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 4.2 (Harm and offence) and 32.3 (Scheduling) but did not find it in breach.
A video on the Agent Provocateur website, viewed on 4 November 2011, showed a woman in a nightgown in her home. She was shown answering the telephone before several women, who were wearing revealing lingerie with stockings and long boots, appeared at
the window. The women were shown dragging the other woman through the house and adopted a series of poses, some sexual, alone and with the other women. The group of women appeared to attack the woman's body; she then she re-appeared wearing similar
revealing lingerie to the group. Issue
The complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because she believed it was disturbing and misogynistic.
Agent Provocateur said the video was produced in
support of the online launch of their new Soiree 2011-2012 collection, because the limited edition range had previously been available only in global destination boutiques. The film was a unique take on the horror genre with a signature Agent Provocateur
sensibility and eroticism. They said one of the gowns in the collection reminded the film's director of the type of gown that was worn by victims in classic 1950s Hammer horror films. The style suited Agent Provocateur perfectly, because in the
past horror was the only way of showing sex in a film. Sex and horror had always been woven together but, they understood, had never been parodied in a film for a fashion label. They said the online video had been viewed over 450,000 times since its
launch and there had not been any other complaints. They said they always tried to communicate with a sense of humour and did not condone violence in any form.
ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld
noted the online video appeared in the context of the website of a luxury lingerie retailer. We acknowledged some viewers might find some of the scenes distasteful but considered the highly stylised nature and clearly fictional content of the video meant
it was unlikely to be interpreted by most viewers in the way the complainant suggested. We considered the ads did not demean women and were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to visitors to the Agent Provocateur website. We also considered
the ad was unlikely to cause fear or distress without justifiable reason. We therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence) but did not find it
Governments are justified in using the law to prevent modelling agencies from using very skinny women on catwalks and stop magazines from printing adverts and photographs that suggest extreme thinness is attractive, according to research from the London
School of Economics.
The first-ever economic analysis of anorexia, studying nearly 3,000 young women in the UK and the rest of Europe, found that the social and cultural environment influences decisions by young women to starve themselves in
search of what they perceive to be an ideal body shape.
Anorexia, say the researchers, is a socially transmitted disease and appears to be more common in countries such as France, where women are thinner than the European average. It mostly
affects girls and women between the ages of 15 and 34, they found, who were willing to trade off their health against self-image.
LSE economist Dr Joan Costa-Font and Professor Mireia Jofre-Bonet from City University say that reducing the mass
circulation of pictures of emaciated models and celebrities and restricting adverts in which they feature could lift some of the social pressure women feel to be thin.
Government intervention to adjust individual biases in self-image would be
justified to curb the spread of a potential epidemic of food disorders, they write in their paper, to be published in the academic journal Economica later this year.
Footballer Pepe Reina got caught up in a nonsense race row in Spain after a television commercial starring the Liverpool goalkeeper was pulled by broadcasters due to its apparent racial and sexual stereotyping.
The 26 second advertisement for
the Spanish insurance firm, Groupama, shows Reina in a jungle scene, being greeted by a spear-carrying tribe and their leader.
With Reina's name translated as Queen in Spanish, the tribe leader appears to suggest a sexual relationship with
Reina by saying: Me King, you Queen. Reina responds with raised eyebrows, before sarcastically saying: I feel safe, la la la.
The tone of the clip prompted condemnation from campaign group Operation Black Vote, and was subsequently
removed from the screens of Spanish television. Simon Woolley, a director of Operation Black Vote, said:
I'm shocked on so many levels. Firstly, how would the Spanish feel if the English stereotyped Spanish people as
backward, stupid and animalistic homosexuals?
Secondly, what does this say about Pepe Reina? The Liverpool goalkeeper has lived and worked in the UK for nearly a decade -- does he think it's OK to characterise black people this
way? Does he think his black team-mates will laugh at his joke?
Groupama Seguros does not consider that this advert contains either offensive or any discriminatory content.
A magazine ad for ice cream was headed, THE THREE VERY WISE ICE CREAM MEN . The ad featured a traditional Christmas nativity scene but it had Mary holding a spoon and the three wise men bearing gifts of ice cream. Issue
complainants objected that the ad was offensive on religious grounds, particularly at Christmas time.
Antonio Federici said they did not believe that the ad would cause offence to the majority of people of saw it. Assessment
ASA Decision: Complaints not upheld
The ASA noted that the ad was based on the biblical story of the wise men visiting the baby Jesus, but featured the wise men bearing gifts of ice cream rather than gold,
frankincense and myrrh. We also noted that Mary was holding a spoon. We noted that the ad appeared at Christmas time, which the complainants found offensive on religious grounds. We acknowledged that the ad might not be to everyone's taste; however, we
considered that most consumers would understand that it was light-hearted take on the biblical story rather than a mockery of Christian belief. Because we did not consider that the ad would cause widespread or serious offence, we concluded that it had
not breached the Code.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.
A regional press ad for The Sofa King, published on 4 August 2011, stated The Sofa King - Where the Prices are Sofa King Low! .
Three readers challenged whether the phrase Where the Prices are Sofa King Low! was
offensive and unsuitable for general display.
The Sofa King said they had used the slogan Where the Prices are Sofa King Low! as their company strap line since they began trading nine years previously and that it was used
on their premises and on their vehicles as well as in their advertising. They said complaints made to Northamptonshire Police in 2004 were not taken further by the Crown Prosecution Service and that no complaints had been made direct to them. They said
the slogan simply used their company name to refer to pricing and that the words had not been changed or run together or punctuation used in a way that was intended to cause offence. They did not believe the slogan caused serious or widespread offence.
The Northampton Herald & Post said they had received two complaints about the slogan. They noted that the slogan also appeared on the advertiser's shop front and on their vehicles, and so could be seen by the public at any
time. They said they had run the ad for some time with no complaints until now.
ASA Pronouncement: Complaints Upheld
The ASA noted that the phrase ... Sofa King Low! used the advertiser's company
name but considered that it could be interpreted as a derivative of the swear word fuck , which consumer research had found to be a word so likely to offend that it should not be used in ads at all, even when it was relevant to the name of a
product. Because of that, we concluded that the slogan was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and that the ad breached the CAP Code.
The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and
Controversy baiting bookmakers Paddy Power have released another YouTube video which is causing the intended stir.
Last week the firm's Lady's Day advert for the forthcoming Cheltenham Festival which featured transgender actresses was
TV censors suspended it from being broadcast in the UK and the latest video looks set for an internet only airing.
In the new advert a man is seen loading a tranquiliser dart gun at a horse racing meet. He proceeds to
shoot a variety of people not deemed appropriate for the Cheltenham Festival.
A Paddy Power spokesman said:
Shockingly, our last TV Ad has been banned after just four days on TV. That's some kind of record,
even for us. This commercial, dubbed 'Chavs', didn't even pass the powers that be so it will never be seen on TV.
One has to suspect that it was never actually shown to the TV 'powers that be'.
ASA: likely to cause serious or widespread offence
The people:. Eye-catching, harmless, light-hearted, funny and suitable for the product
Credos which styles itself as an advertising think tank has published a report for the trade group, the Outdoor Media Centre examining the public offensiveness of some of the more controversial outdoor advertising campaigns.
The report, Public Attitudes Towards Outdoor Advertising
, found that outdoor advertising is bottom on the list of offensive advert formats that the public are exposed to, with the internet; rap music; music videos; computer games and TV all being rated higher.
Credos asked 1051 GB adults aged 16-64
what they thought of twelve outdoor ads, four of which were banned by the ASA, with the other eight having received complaints.
It was found that while some ads provoked a strong emotional reaction, the public are generally unlikely to consider an
advert so offensive that they would complain about it.
Respondents were asked to choose key words to describe each ad, out of the following list: funny, light-hearted, suitable for the product, harmless, depends on location and eye-catching. Harmless
was the word used most often.
The perfect 10 ad for a gentlemen's club was found to be the ad which offended the most people, (31% of all adults) with inappropriate, vulgar, rude, eye-catching and sexist the top five words used to describe it.
Bookmaker Paddy Power has stirred up a controversy with the release of a new TV advert shown on Sky Sports that some trans groups say is offensive.
LGBT Lib Dems Northern Ireland said Paddy Power has brought shame on itself and that the
marketing tactic was in poor taste at a time when the UK government is trying to wipe out all forms of prejudice in sport.
The Irish bookmaker is well known for their edgy Television campaigns. Now ahead of the upcoming 2012 Cheltenham Festival,
Paddy Power has launched a new advert which focuses on Ladies' Day at the Cheltenham horse racing festival. It is thought that the initial reaction to the ad will lead to another referral to the advertising censors of the ASA.
The advert had been
cleared with Clear Cast, a body funded by the broadcasters that checks adverts against ASA rules on their behalf. Paddy Power had also consulted with a leading transgender organisation before putting the ad together.
that the ASA will be discussing the advert in the coming days as a result of complaints.
In the advert, the commentator references a Facebook post made by a fan, saying they can't wait to see some beauties at Ladies' Day . The Irish firm
claim to agree, but make things interesting by sending in some trans ladies . They then ask the viewers to spot the Stallions from the Mares . The tongue in cheek video then shows a number of different ladies, some of whom are women, and
some not, obviously added for effect by the producers.
The firm advertised the advert on Cheltenham racing site CheltenhamFestival.net, with a number of readers who had watched the video expressing their opinions and stating that they had already
contacted the ASA.
Broadcasters Channel 4 and BSkyB are planning to continue airing Paddy Power's spot the trans lady advert in the face of fierce criticism.
The advert has been pulled by sports network ESPN but Channel 4 told the Guardian while it had a duty
to ensure broadcasts comply with advertising codes, but beyond that it was policy to leave it up to our viewers to make their own judgment about the adverts they have seen .
BSkyB reportedly has no intention of removing the adverts from its
The Guardian reported that nearly 500 complaints had been made to the Advertising Standards Authority and a spokesperson for broadcaster ESPN, which is owned by Disney, said it had reviewed the commercial in question, and have made
an internal editorial decision that it will not run on ESPN .
Paddy Power's Ladies Day commercial has been pulled from TV.
The decision to suspend the clip wasn't made by us -- it was done by the British TV advertising regulator along with television broadcasters.
This is especially frustrating given the commercial was already pre-approved by British television advertising clearance body Clearcast, just one week ago, who then considered the humour in the advert, while not to everyone's taste, fell short of causing offence.
Additionally, Paddy Power reached out to leading UK transgender group, The Beaumont Society, for feedback on the script.
The Beaumont Society said there was nothing untoward with the advert concept and felt it was not inappropriate since
the entire campaign would be a tongue-in-cheek look at the Ladies Day race meeting where these days a large number of cross dressers make a day of it .
Furthermore, Paddy Power cast members of the trans-community in the
various transgender roles in the commercial. Given the attention and diligence we demonstrated throughout the development of this commercial, we are very disappointed by today's decision.
Finally it is worth pointing out that the
commercial, which went live on YouTube less than one week ago, has almost 250,000 views with more likes than dislikes .
The next commercial in Paddy Power's We Hear You advertising campaign, CHAVS ,
will be broadcast on the company's YouTube channel shortly.
A TV ad for the film The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Cert 18), seen December 2011, showed fast edited scenes which included a fight between two people on an escalator, a man being shot at in the woods, a woman with a large tattoo on her back
standing in a shower as if in pain, a knife being drawn from a kitchen knife block, a man lying face down on the floor as if he was dead, two people kissing passionately and a large explosion. For the first six seconds of the ad, on-screen text stated:
Contains strong sex and sexual violence .
Five viewers challenged whether the ad was overly violent, distressing and unsuitable for children and was inappropriately scheduled.
Clearcast said the ad
was given a post-7.30 pm timing restriction. They felt that, as with all film trailers of that nature, it was a matter of judgment and they had come to the conclusion that the action scenes were very brief, did not linger on any particular shot, and were
comparatively restrained in tone, given the nature of the film.
ASA Assessment Complaints Not upheld
The ASA noted that Clearcast had applied a post-7.30 pm timing restriction and that the ad was
therefore not shown around programmes commissioned for, or likely to have particular appeal to, under 16-years-of-age.
We noted that the trailer was promoting a film about a murder investigation, based on a best-selling book, and
considered that, while there was some tension and suspense in the ad, the scenes which depicted action such as an explosion, a fight, a shooting, a shower scene, a knife, a man lying face down on the floor as if he was dead and two people kissing
passionately, were all very fast-cut and brief scenes, and were not strongly violent, visually clear or sexually explicit. We considered that the overall effect of those action scenes was mild and did not consider that the cumulative effect was
inappropriate or distressing, when broadcast after 7.30 pm.
We noted that the ad included on-screen text which stated Contains strong sex and sexual violence , and considered that that explained what viewers might expect
from the film, but did not consider that that on-screen text was inappropriate or offensive, in and of itself.
Although the ad featured some images which might be inappropriate for a very young audience, we concluded that the ad
was not overly violent and distressing and that the scheduling restriction that had been applied was sufficient.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 4.1, 4.2 (Harm and offence) and 32.5.3 (Television Scheduling:
Children), but did not find it in breach.
A poster for Scruffs Hardwear promoting a competition to win the ultimate lads' bash for you and 3 mates , seen in November 2011, featured an image of the inside of a workman's van, as if seen from the rear. The image included a man reclining at
the front of the van with two women at the back. One of the women was shown in her underwear and high heels and was holding on to a vertical pole that was fixed to the van and the other was shown in a short white dress, sitting on a spare tyre covered in
material. The image also included bottles of champagne and a bra hanging from a ladder. Further text included scruffs HARDWEAR IT'S GONNA GET DIRTY . Issue
Eight complainants challenged whether the ad was:
offensive and demeaning to women; and
unsuitable to be seen by children.
BSS Group stated that the WIN THE NIGHT BEFORE ad campaign was used to target tradesmen with a competition to promote their Scruffs safety footwear and work wear brand. They stated that the objective of the ad was to promote the
competition in good humour and that many of their ads used double entendres and innuendo to create a Carry-On style humour. They stated that this was illustrated through the strap line It's Gonna Get Dirty , which alluded to the tradesmen
getting soiled on site during the course of their working day. They said that on the flipside, it also related to the good humoured use of insinuation to appeal to their customers. They added that whilst they strove to be different, they worked hard not
to be overtly sexual or sexist.
ASA Decision: Complaints Upheld
The ASA noted the ad was intended to be a tongue-in-cheek representation of the morning after an ultimate lads' bash
, which was the prize that was the subject of the ad. However, whilst the concept of the lads' night was linked to the competition prize being advertised, we considered that consumers would interpret the portrayal of the woman in back of the van,
particularly the woman in her underwear, as a suggestion that they had played a sexual role in the lads' night out and morning after story that was being portrayed. We considered that this was further implied by the text IT'S GONNA GET DIRTY ,
which we considered would be understood by consumers to be a reference to sexual activity that was likely to take place. We concluded that, in the context of a promotion for work-related clothing, the portrayal of the women within such a strong sexual
context was demeaning and offensive and that the ad was therefore unsuitable for public display.
On this point the ad breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).
understood from the complainant that the poster ad had appeared near to a nursery school in one location and a primary school in another. We noted BSS Group stated that one of the outdoor media contractors had failed to follow their instructions that the
poster ads should not have been placed near schools or near sensitive community sites. We considered that the images, alongside the text IT'S GONNA GET DIRTY, presented the women in a sexually provocative way and that as such, the poster ad was
not suitable to be placed in areas where it was more likely to be seen by children. We considered that whilst a placement restriction had been put in place, the ad had appeared in areas where it was more likely to be seen by children. We therefore
concluded that the ad breached the Code.
On this point the ad breached CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility).
Channel 4 adverts for Big Fat Gypsy Weddings has prompted about 100 complaints over alleged racism
Channel 4's billboard campaign, which feature the words Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier printed over images of Gypsy girls and
children, led to complaints being lodged by the London Gypsy & Traveller Unit and London assembly members Jennette Arnold and John Biggs.
The Advertising Standards Authority said that it has so far received 97 complaints about the ad campaign,
with most concerned that it is offensive to Gypsies. Some of the complainants also raised concerns about the use of the word gypsier, which they believe is racist.
A spokesman said that the ASA is currently assessing the complaints to see whether
there is grounds for launching an investigation into whether Channel 4 has broken the advertising code.
Christine Cawley, an Irish Traveller who lives in London, criticised Channel 4's ad campaign in a piece for the Guardian's Comment is Free,
arguing that the broadcaster seems to be using who we are against us in a way that feels very hard to take .
The London Gypsy & Traveller Unit delivered a letter of complaint to Channel 4 on Tuesday, addressed to the chief creative
officer, Jay Hunt, and chief executive, David Abraham, raising concerns over the stereotyping inherent in the campaign.
We wonder if Channel 4 would have been so ready to use the adverts with similarly compromising phrases for other ethnic
groups: 'Jewisher' or 'more Asian' or 'blacker', said the unit, which also asked Channel 4 to remove the ad campaign and apologise.
One of Channel 4's biggest sponsors admitted it was displeased with the broadcaster's controversial Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier campaign for its hit documentary series, Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.
Honda, which sponsors all of Channel 4's
documentary output, said that it had informed C4 of our unhappiness with this poster campaign in an email sent to the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain.
The billboard campaign, which features the words Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier over
images of Gypsy girls and children has been criticised as offensive and racist and prompted more than 100 complaints to the advertising watchdog.
Honda had also received about 35 complaints from unhappy members of the public. Paul Ormond, Honda
UK's general manager, corporate affairs, said:
We have had concerned members of the public ringing us thinking we have some control over editorial content. We have responded by saying we have no control over content
but we have made our concerns known to Channel 4 that we are unhappy that we are being linked to this through the tone of the advertising campaign.
Australian anti-sexualisation nutters write about a promotional campaign by the Mossimo store featured on the store's website, Facebook page and shop windows.
Mossimo Peepshow is sexist rubbish .
The promotion is called Peepshow. Through the use of peephole imagery and words like strip on their signage, the promotion makes clear reference to the sex industry and voyeurism.
message to women here is, you are valued for your appearance and your ability to sexually arouse men. That's your role in society.
The message to men, Peeping at women in their underwear isn't a crime after all, stalking is
just a bit of sexy fun and women like it. Look how happy Miss Universe is!
Did we mention Miss Universe is involved? The Mossimo facebook page has created an app that not only invites you to peep at Miss Universe
, it also allows users to create their own peepshow. Just upload your photo, allow Mossimo to assign you a ridiculous name like Naughty Nadia and you're on your way to winning a prize.
These ads are retro-sexist. They mimic tired old sexist attitudes in an
ironic way. They are funny only to people who are happy to laugh at put-downs of women.
The ads say that men should judge women just on how they look, that women are stupid and that it's okay to laugh at them.
Demeaning women in these ads is harmful whether the ads are funny or not. Valuing women only for how they look has a corrosive effect on women's sense of self-worth. Men who demean women like this are more likely to be violent to
them, and we have a huge problem with violence against women in New Zealand.
The campaign will use Facebook, an online petition and other social media to gain support and put pressure on Tui owner, DB Breweries, to drop the ads.
Auckland Feminist Action is a new group acting on what it sees as persistent inequalities between women and men in New Zealand.
A regional press ad and a mobile poster ad for a glazing company:
a. The regional press ad was headlined Others Measure - We Fit and featured a photograph of a naked woman seen behind a window, shown from the neck to the
waist. The woman's breasts were mostly covered by two large flowers.
b. A poster ad, seen on a mobile poster site situated in various locations including a field next to a main road was headlined Other Measure - We Fit .
The ad featured a photograph of a naked woman seen behind a window, shown from the neck to the waist. The woman's breasts were mostly covered by two large flowers. Text underneath the image stated Massive deals! .
complainant challenged whether:
1. press ad (a) was offensive because they believed the image objectified woman; and
2. poster ad (b) was offensive for the same reason.
The ASA challenged whether:
3. poster ad (b) was irresponsible because it could be seen by children.
1st Choice Glazing believed that the press and poster image
did not objectify women and stated that they had been tastefully shot in order to ensure decency. They stated that the image was no more revealing than others that appeared in some ads for cars or drinks and believed that the tongue-in-cheek image was
unlikely to cause offence. They agreed that children might have seen the poster but stated that they were exposed to far more explicit images whilst watching popular programmes set on beaches, or during pop star videos and TV shows.
Smartlocal stated that the image had been widely used in the advertising campaigns for a number of years and that to date they had not received any complaints from their 120,000 readers.
The ASA noted the woman's breasts were partly covered by the flowers and that the image was not presented in an overtly sexual way. However, we also noted the woman's head was not included in the image and
considered that consumers would understand from the ad that they were being invited to view her naked torso and, in particular, her breasts. We considered that, because the product being advertised was unrelated to the image, the nakedness was
incongruous and the image was likely to be seen to be an objectification of the woman in the ads and therefore of women in general.
We further considered that the text Others Measure - We Fit and Massive deals! in
conjunction with the images were likely to be seen as innuendo and contribute to that impression. We therefore concluded that ads (a) and (b) were likely to cause serious offence. We also concluded that ad (b) was irresponsible because it could be seen
On these points ads (a) and (b) breached CAP Code 4.1 (Harm and offence). Ad (b) also breached CAP Code rule 3.1 (Social responsibility).
A double glazing boss, whose advertising campaign was banned after it was deemed supposedly offensive to women, has launched a new billboard featuring a picture of a half-naked man.
Owner of 1st Choice Glazing in West Lothian, Derrick Findlay, was
recently ordered by the easily offended advert censors of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to remove adverts from Boghall Roundabout and the M8 motorway. These featured an image of a naked woman behind a window with flowers covering her breasts.
Derrick was left deeply disappointed with the ruling, which followed just one complaint in nearly two years. [A frequency of complaints the ASA define as 'serious offence'. If the advert had received one
more complaint it would have surely moved up into the 'widespread offence' category].
Now he and his team have come up with a new design which uses an image of a half-naked male model behind the glass -- accompanied by the slogan fantastic packages available!
We have had some fantastic responses already. People can't believe that one complaint brought the original adverts down. We just thought we should do the same thing again but with a man.
Everyone walking into the shop has been talking about it and has said it's great.
A TV ad in Urdu, for Islamic Taweez lockets, stated DM Digital Global Network is presenting an Islamic locket, which consists of ninety nine sacred names of Allah Almighty and these sacred names has [sic] been recited with specific numbers.
Wearing this locket, you can constantly increase blessings, call right now and book your locket today .
The ad also stated ... Any incurable patient who recites the name of Allah excessively and prays for recovery will be
restored completely ... ; ... childless women use this sacred name ... will be awarded with a baby ... ; ... a person who eat four bites of bread for forty days after reciting this name ... will be save of problems of appetite, thirst,
wounds and pain ... ; ... recite this name excessively over the water at the time of break and drink it, Inshaa Allah (Allah willing), syndrome will cured ... ; ... a woman unable to feed his [sic] baby, recite Ya-Matin over water and give
her, Inshaa Allah... will have plenty of milk ... ; ... an ill person who recite Ya-Muhyiy excessively or recite it on other sick person will Inshaa Allah ... be better ... ; ... a person who recite Ya-Hayy three thousand times daily will
Inshaa Allah ... never get ill ... A person who will write this name with camphor and rose ... will be restored completely ... ; ... a person who daily recite Ya-Ghaniy seventy times, Allah will increase his wealth, and he will not be dependent of
[sic] anyone ... ; ...A person having any internal or external infection or disease, recite Ya-Ghaniy all over his organs and body, s/he will Inshaa Allah be restored to health ... ; ... A person who recite [sic] this name excessively, all
of his problems and troubles will Inshaa Allah ... be solved and money and children will be good ... ; ... A person who have any income problems, or any other distress, grief, or sorrow, recite this name forty one times daily, will Inshaa Allah
... be free from all these problems ... ; ... A person having disobedient wife or children held his/her forehead and recite Ya-Shahid twenty one times, Inshaa Allah ... s/he will become obedient ... ; ... The person who recite Ya-haqq on
all four corners of a square paper, raise upwards placing it on the palm, and pray, Inshaa Allah ... misplaced person or article will be found and will stay save from loss ... Call now and buy your locket ... ; ... If anyone place a hand over the
belly of pregnant woman and recite Ya-Mubdi ninety-nine times, Inshaa Allah ... her pregnancy will neither waste ... nor a premature birth ... ; ... A person who recite Ya-Ar-Ra'uf excessively will Inshaa Allah ... be kind to and have kindness of
Throughout the ad, text stating This locket is not for medical purposes scrolled along the bottom of the screen.
A viewer challenged whether the claims that wearing the locket would positively affect the wearer in multiple ways were misleading.
The ASA challenged whether the claims that wearing the locket
provided health benefits for wearers and those they knew, particularly sick or incurable patients, were irresponsible, because they could discourage consumers from taking appropriate medical advice.
1. & 2. DM Digital TV Ltd (DM Digital) said the ad was a teleshopping feature shown during the month of Ramadan to promote religious faith, via the recital of 99 names of Allah. They said the various lockets with the difference
names of Allah were worn by those who believed in the Islamic faith, in order to receive blessings as described in the Holy Quran and that those who regularly prayed and recited the specific 99 different names of Allah, during Ramadan, could expect to
receive rewards. They also said the ad was not intended to be educational or to be construed as medical advice, and that it was for entertainment purposes only. They said this was made clear by the on-screen text throughout the feature which stated this programme does not give any medical advice. Please seek your GPs advice before any treatment. This is a teleshopping presentation and entertainment feature brought to you by DM Digital Television
ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld
The ASA noted the ad was shown during the month of Ramadan in 2011 and had not been shown since. We noted DM Digital said the
feature was not intend to be construed literally by viewers. However, we were concerned that, while the ad made claims that the locket and act of reciting would provide many benefits, we had not seen evidence relating to those claims. We considered that
the ad was therefore likely to mislead viewers into believing that wearing the locket would positively affect the wearer.
On this point the ad breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.12 (Exaggeration).
We acknowledged the ad contained on-screen text which indicated that the programme did not give medical advice. However, we were concerned that the main text of the ad stated that people with
infections or diseases would be restored to health. Because of the nature of the claims made, we considered that the ad was socially irresponsible and, furthermore, could discourage people, particularly those who were vulnerable, from seeking essential
On this point the ad breached BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social responsibility), 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.12 (Exaggeration) and 11.3 (Medicines, Medical Devices, Treatments and Health).
PETA's ongoing shock tactics have landed them in hot water with women's rights campaigners. Their latest campaign features the message that violent sex is good sex.
The ad is a spoof of a PSA about a fictional syndrome called WVAKTBOOM, or,
Boyfriend Went Vegan and Knocked the Bottom out of Me... a painful condition that occurs when boyfriends go Vegan and can suddenly bring it like a tantric porn star.
The advert shows a woman wearing a neck brace trudging painfully back from
shops. Under her parka coat she appears to have forgotten her skirt.
Back at home her sprightly (newly vegan ) boyfriend, wearing only his tighty whiteys , is fixing a hole in the wall, another casualty of last night's sextravaganza, a flashback
Critics have been quick to accuse PETA of joking about domestic violence or implying that good sex should be rough enough to warrant medical care. The Daily Mail cited a few example forum posts form Mumsnet.
Columnist Sunny Hundal
chipped in that Peta's new ad campaign is absolutely atrocious. Before kindly providing links to two more in the series whilst proclaiming: WTF were they thinking?
This is just a nasty, puerile piece of work. Not because of the sex. Talking up the virility of a man who has forsworn all animal products is not a bad way to counteract the general impression
of vegans as anaemic, pale weaklings.
But domestic violence? Really? Don’t chortle and say it’s “tongue in cheek” and “playful” and point out the chick’s “mischievous smile” as
though really, she was asking for it. She’s wearing a neck brace, and you’re merrily jesting about needing protective equipment.
It will be interesting what the advert censors at the ASA make of it. They will no doubt
require a little verification that a spinach diet sends men super insatiable.
a. The first ad, published in The Guardian, showed a woman in a bra and pants. She had one hand on her hip and pulled her pants slightly down with the thumb of the other. The headline stated RED
HOT FARES & CREW!!! ONE WAY FROM £ 9.99 . Further text stated BUY THE 2012 CABIN CREW CHARITY CALENDAR ON RYANAIR.COM! , and in the bottom right corner of the photograph, ORNELLA FEBRUARY .
b. The second ad, published in The Daily Telegraph and The Independent, showed a woman in a bra and pants. The headline stated RED HOT FARES & CREW!!! ONE WAY FROM £ 9.99 . Further text
stated BUY THE 2012 CABIN CREW CHARITY CALENDAR ON RYANAIR.COM! , and in the bottom right corner of the photograph, GILLIAN MARCH .
Thirteen complainants, who believed ad (a) was sexist and objectified women, particularly female cabin crew, challenged whether it was offensive and unsuitable for display in a national newspaper.
complainants, who believed ad (b) was sexist and objectified women, particularly female cabin crew, challenged whether it was offensive and unsuitable for display in a national newspaper.
Ryanair said the ads promoted their 2012 cabin crew charity calendar and used images taken directly from it. They said, because members of their cabin crew volunteered their time to produce and promote the calendar, it was not sexist
and could not be seen to objectify the women who appeared in it. They said, because similar images of women and men often featured in the same media, the ads could not be deemed offensive or unsuitable for public display.
Assessment: Complaints Upheld
The ASA noted both ads promoted one way fares from £ 9.99 and a cabin crew charity calendar. We also noted the women, featured in ads (a) and (b), were wearing
underwear and looking directly at the reader and considered that, although the images were not overtly sexual in content, the appearance, stance and gaze of the women, particular the one in ad (a), who was shown pulling her pants slightly down, were
likely to be seen as sexually suggestive. We also considered that most readers would interpret these images, in conjunction with the text RED HOT FARES & CREW!!! and the names of the women, as linking female cabin crew with sexually suggestive
behaviour. Although we acknowledged that the women in the ads had consented to appear in the calendar, we considered that the ads were likely to cause widespread offence, when displayed in a national newspaper, and therefore concluded that they breached
Ads (a) and (b) breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence). Action
An investigation has been launched into a suggestive ad campaign for a Manhattan's nightclub in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.
The Advertising Standards Authority has received a formal complaint and said the complainant had objected that the
ad, which includes an image of a woman whose facial expression is suggestive of sexual activity, is offensive .
The club's owner, Andy Lieshman, said it was never meant to be offensive. He added: It wasn't meant to offend anybody at all. It
was just all in the aim of good fun. There was really no seediness behind it. The bar has now removed the poster from outside its premises and made changes to the advert on its Facebook page.
The ASA said it was only able to investigate
promotional materials on the club's website as its remit does not extend to anything displayed on companies' or organisations' own property.
McDonald's has apologized and pulled a radio advert from airing in Kansas City.
The ad said eating a Chicken McBite was less risky than petting a stray pit bull, shaving your head, naming your son Sue or giving friends your Facebook password.
Easily enraged pit bull owners and their supporters soon started complaining. A campaign against the ad circulated on social media sites, and an apology was quickly delivered in the same way.
Ashlee Yingling, spokesman for McDonald's Corp
The ad was insensitive in its mention of pit bulls. We apologize. As soon as we learned of it, we tracked the source and had the local markets pull the ad immediately. We'll do a better job next time. It's
never our intent to offend anyone with how we communicate news about McDonald's.
Rachele Lizarraga, who owns a pet-sitting business and is social media coordinator for Chako Pit Bull Rescue, started a Facebook page called Pit Bulls
Against McDonald's . She launched an online petition calling for an end to the ad and started one of many Twitter threads.
A pit bull is any of several breeds of dog. The name
can refer to almost any short-haired, muscular, and aggressive-looking dog. These dogs are often cross-bred to produce winning fighters. The American Pit Bull Terrier is considered to be the strongest dog in the world.
For a century prior to the
1970s, pit bulls were revered in America as a symbol of strength and independence. But because of their particular traits, the dogs have been mistreated and poorly bred for criminal purposes like dog-fighting and for the protection of drug trafficking
operations. This mistreatment, cross-breeding, and training for aggressive behavior have led to many incidents between these animals and people.
Guy Parker, the chief executive of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has highlighted a 40%rise in complaints to the advert censor. He said in excess of 20,000 campaigns provoked complaints to the ASA in 2011.
Parker said the UK was
now responsible for more complaints over advertising than the rest of Europe put together:
They say that British people don't complain. They don't complain face-to-face... but they don't mind complaining remotely. Now
far more than half of all the complaints made to advertising regulatory bodies in all 27 EU member states are made by the UK public to us, it's 60-65 per cent.
Parker, giving evidence to Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry into media
standards, said that it was not in the interest of British business for there to be mistrust in advertising:
Trust in advertising has been declining for a number of years and this is not good news. [If] people trust
individual ads less...then companies' advertising spend is going to be less effective.
The surge in the ASA's workload in the past year has been due partly to an extension of the censor's remit on 1 March to include claims made on
company websites. The ASA workload rose by 44%in the following seven months, and 36% of the cases related to websites. The ASA has taken on a dozen extra frontline staff to cope with the added complaints.
When new rules governing the way companies collect and use data about our movements online come into force, a little i symbol will appear on screen to reveal adverts generated by cookies . Many internet users find these digital devices,
which are used by websites to create personal profiles based on use of the Internet, intrusive.
The data is used for Online Behavioural Advertising, allowing companies to direct their display adverts at individuals who, through the websites they
have visited, have indicated an interest in certain goods or services.
The warning system, to be introduced by the European Advertising Standards Alliance and the Internet Advertising Bureau of Europe, will allow users to opt out of all Online
like Yahoo!, have already begun using the triangle icon on a voluntary basis in Britain but from June all ad networks will be required to display the symbol or face sanctions.
A website and a leaflet, for Healing on the Streets - Bath, viewed on 10 May 2011:
a. The website home page stated Our vision is to :- Promote Christian Healing as a daily life style for every believer, through
demonstration, training and equipping. We are working in unity, from numerous churches outside the four walls of the building, In order to :- - Heal the sick ... .
A page headed What people have told us afterwards ... included five testimonials in which people stated that after receiving prayer their conditions had been improved.
b. The leaflet was available for download on the website under the heading Download a healing flyer by clicking below . The leaflet stated NEED HEALING? GOD CAN HEAL TODAY! Do you suffer from Back Pain, Arthritis, MS,
Addiction ... Ulcers, Depression, Allergies, Fibromyalgia, Asthma, Paralysis, Crippling Disease, Phobias, Sleeping disorders or any other sickness? We'd love to pray for your healing right now! We're Christian from churches in Bath and we pray in the
name of Jesus. We believe that God loves you and can heal you from any sickness . Issue
A complainant challenged whether:
the claim in ad (b) that the advertiser could heal the named conditions was misleading and could be substantiated;
the testimonials in ad (a) misleadingly implied that the advertiser could heal the
conditions referred to; and
the ads were irresponsible, because they provided false hope to those suffering from the named conditions.
The ASA challenged whether the ads could discourage essential
treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought.
ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld
1., 2. & 3. Upheld
The ASA acknowledged that HOTS sought to promote their faith and the hope for physical healing by God through the claims in
their ads. However, we were concerned that the prominent references in ad (b) to healing and the statement You have nothing to lose, except your sickness in combination with the references to medical conditions for which medical supervision should
be sought such as arthritis, asthma, MS, addictions, depression and paralysis, could give consumers the expectation that, by receiving prayer from HOTS volunteers, they would be healed of the conditions listed or other sicknesses from which they
suffered. We also considered that the testimonials in ad (a) could also give consumers that expectation, and furthermore, noted that a video on the website also made claims that HOTS volunteers had successfully prayed for healing for people with cancer,
fibromyalgia, back pain, kidney pain, hip pain, cataracts, arthritis and paralysis. We noted the testimonials on the website and in the video but considered that testimonials were insufficient as evidence for claims of healing. We therefore concluded the
ads were misleading.
We acknowledged that HOTS volunteers believed that prayer could treat illness and medical conditions, and that therefore the ads did not promote false hope. However, we noted we had not seen evidence that
people had been healed through the prayer of HOTS volunteers, and concluded that the ads could encourage false hope in those suffering from the named conditions and therefore were irresponsible.
We acknowledged that HOTS had
offered to make amendments to the ads, and to remove the leaflet from their website. However, we considered that their suggested amendments were not sufficient for the ads to comply with the CAP Code.
On these points, ads (a) and
(b) breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility), 3.1 and 3.6 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.47 (Endorsements and testimonials), 12.1 and 12.6 (Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products).
We understood that HOTS volunteers were instructed to give a letter to the recipients of prayer which told them they should not stop taking their medication or following the advice of medical
professionals. We also noted their offer to add a prominent reference along the lines of that letter to their website. However, we considered that, because both the leaflet and the website made claims that through the prayer offered by HOTS volunteers
people could be healed of specific medical conditions for which medical supervision should be sought such as arthritis, asthma, MS, addictions, depression and paralysis, the ads could discourage people, and particularly the vulnerable or those suffering
from undiagnosed symptoms, from seeking essential treatment for medical conditions for which medical supervision should be sought. We concluded the ad breached the Code.
On this point, ads (a) and (b) breached CAP Code rule 12.2
(Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products). Action
The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told HOTS not to make claims which stated or implied that, by receiving prayer from their
volunteers, people could be healed of medical conditions. We also told them not to refer in their ads to medical conditions for which medical supervision should be sought.
We are disappointed with the ASA's decision, and will appeal against it because it seems very odd to us that the ASA wants to prevent us from
stating on our website the basic Christian belief that God can heal illness.
The ASA has even demanded that we sign a document agreeing not to say this, which is unacceptable to us - as it no doubt would be for anyone ordered not
to make certain statements about their conventional religious or philosophical beliefs.
All over the world as part of their normal Christian life, Christians believe in, pray for and experience God's healing; our ministry, in
common with many churches, has been active in praying for God's healing (of Christians and non Christians) for many years.
Over that time the response to what we do has been overwhelmingly positive, and we find it difficult to
understand the ASA's attempt to restrict communication about this. Our website simply states our beliefs and describes some of our experiences.
We tried to reach a compromise, recognising some of the ASA's concerns, but there are
certain things that we cannot agree to -- including a ban on expressing our beliefs.
Film posters for a new French film, Les Infideles, about adultery have been taken down in Paris because they are supposedly too provocative.
The adverts show Jean Dujardin and Gilles Lellouche implying sexual positions which campaigners
have claimed degrade women.
On poster showing a girl with her head at the groin of a guy on a phone is captioned It's going to cut out, I'm just entering a tunnel
In the other advert a woman's legs are in the air and are being held
by Dujardin. It says underneath I'm just going into a meeting .
ARPP, the French advert censor, has ordered that the billboards be taken down. Stephane Martin, who works for the censor, told French newspaper Le Parisien:
We already feel that this campaign is against the rules, even if it relates to the subject of the film, a comedy about adultery.As a preventative measure, we've already counseled JC Decaux, who are in charge of the billboards, to take
ASA has unveiled a new logo following a rebrand to coincide with the start of a year in which it celebrates 50 years of what it likes to consider as keeping UK advertising legal, decent, honest and truthful.
The ASA was established on
24 September 1962 to regulate non-broadcast advertising. Since then the remit has been extended to TV + radio ads and more recently to cover online ads.
The ASA will be marking this milestone through a variety of activities over the next 12
A poster promoting an album by a rock band, seen in October 2011, showed an image of a woman leaning back with her eyes closed. She was shown wearing a skimpy halter-neck outfit which covered her nipples but left her stomach and the bottom of her
breasts uncovered. Her right hand was placed by her crotch and she was holding a string with two silver balls attached, which dangled between her legs. The band's name appeared in the middle of the image and beneath it, large text stated BALLS OUT
Underneath, the ad showed an image of the four members of the band and text which stated THE NEW ALBUM UNLEASHED FOR HALLOWEEN... Issue
Imkaan, a charity devoted to raising awareness and offering
support to women from ethnic backgrounds who were victims of abuse and violence, and four members of the public challenged whether the ad was:
offensive, because they considered the image of the woman was demeaning and overtly sexual in its nature.
Imkaan and three of the members of the public also challenged whether the ad was unsuitable for
public display where it might be seen by children.
Universal Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Ltd said that the poster depicted the album cover for the rock band, Steel Panther who were a pastiche of an 80s heavy metal band who took their inspiration from bands
such as Whitesnake and Bon Jovi. The band's stage performance and persona were very tongue in cheek, nothing about them was serious and their concept was a send-up of the typical 80s band, although their music was new and original. They said the poster
was designed to have a retro 80s look which was not done seriously and poked fun at the ridiculousness of the attitude to women, outfits and music in that era. The poster was meant to be ludicrously over the top and not meant to undermine women.
ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld
The ASA noted Universal Island Records' argument that the poster was not meant to cause offence or be seen as demeaning to women. However, we considered that the main image on
the poster was overtly sexual. We noted that the pose of the woman showed her with her legs apart, her hand between her legs and her breasts partially exposed and considered that her facial expression was suggestive of an orgasm and sexual activity. In
addition to this, we considered that the album title Balls Out was sexually suggestive particularly when viewed in the context of the poster, where the woman was seen dangling two silver balls between her legs in a way that we considered was
suggestive of male genitalia.
We noted Universal Island Records' argument that the poster was meant to be viewed humorously and not to be taken seriously as it was meant to represent the over-the-top image of the band featured in
the poster. However, we considered that most people would not view the poster in this way and even if they had viewed it in that context, the poster was overtly sexual when taken as a whole. Given its placement in a range of public locations, we
concluded that it was likely to cause serious and widespread offence, was unsuitable to be seen by children and therefore was not appropriate for outdoor advertising.
The poster breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility)
and 4.1 (Harm and offence).
A women's campaign group has struck out at a change in advertising codes it claims will lead to more sexist beer commercials on television.
The director of the Women's Health Action Trust said the New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority had
cut guidelines which prevented alcohol adverts from depicting unduly masculine themes or portray unrealistic behaviour .
Director of Women's Health Action Trust, Maree Pierce, said they were stunned the ASA would chose to weaken its
rules at a time when New Zealand communities:
have made such a strong call for more rigorous control of alcohol advertising and its content.
Plenty of evidence has shown how beer advertising,
both in New Zealand and abroad, draws heavily on stereotypical masculine themes and routinely portrays sexist, derogatory and degrading behaviour by men, towards women, as part of beer drinking culture and lifestyle.
Advertising Standards Agency said a flood of alcohol advertisements which were derogatory towards women was very unlikely. Following a review late last year of the Code for Advertising Liquor, the ASA removed the requirement that alcohol advertisements
shall not depict unduly masculine themes or portray unrealistic behaviour .
A poster advertising lingerie, seen on the side of buses in early November 2011, stated Introducing Naked Glamour Calvin Klein Underwear and featured five images of a model wearing a bra and briefs.
The complainant, an
Orthodox Cherdi Jew, objected that:
the ad was offensive to the large Orthodox Jewish population of Stamford Hill, whose religious beliefs required them not to see images of women wearing only underwear;
it was irresponsible to display
the ad in untargeted media in public as it would be seen by children.
Calvin Klein said they did not believe that the ad was offensive or socially irresponsible. They said the ad merely featured the product, their underwear range, being worn by a model. They believed it was reasonable to feature models
wearing underwear when advertising these products, and that the ad was neither sexually suggestive nor overtly sexual. They also said their media vendor had not believed that the ad fell into the risky category, and had been happy for the ad
campaign to proceed.
ASA Decision: Complaints not upheld
1. Not upheld
The ASA noted that there was no explicit nudity in the images, and that the ad was for an underwear range. We
considered that the nature of the product meant that viewers of the ad were less likely to regard the ad as gratuitous or offensive, and noted that the poses of the model were natural. We considered that the ad might be viewed by some as mildly sexual in
nature, as the underwear featured in the largest image appeared sheer in nature, and the product name Naked Glamour was featured. However, although we recognised that some people with strongly held religious views may find the ad distasteful, we
did not consider that the ad was likely to cause widespread offence or serious offence to those with religious views.
On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.
2. Not upheld
We noted the complainant's concerns that this ad, displayed on buses, was likely to be seen by children. We considered that the ad may be viewed by some as mildly sexual in nature, as the
underwear featured in the largest image appeared sheer in nature, and the product name Naked Glamour was featured. However, we did not consider that the images were overtly sexual, and considered that the ad was acceptable for use in outdoor media
likely to be seen by children. We therefore concluded that the ad was not socially irresponsible.
On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find it in breach.
An internet video ad, for the 12A rated film Abduction , was viewed on YouTube on 15 September 2011. It appeared before an animated clip called The Duck Song and included action sequences that involved shooting, vehicle chases,
punching, a couple kissing and a man who kicked his way through a glass window. The voice-over stated, An assassin wants him dead ... , which also appeared in text on screen.
A complainant, whose two-year-old saw the ad,
challenged whether it was irresponsible, because she believed it was inappropriate to be shown during a video that was addressed to children.
Lions Gate UK Ltd (Lions Gate) said the film Abduction was rated 12A. They said they
expected viewers of YouTube to be aged 13 years or over and that YouTube had accepted the online ad and scheduled its appearances. They said the TV version of the ad had been cleared by Clearcast with an ex-kids restriction and the online version was
substantially the same. Lions Gate said they worked hard to avoid causing offence or distress to viewers.
YouTube said they were not able to verify whether the ad had appeared before The Duck Song clip. They said it must
have appeared on a YouTube partner page, however, because those were the only pages on which advertising could appear. They said if content on partner pages was flagged as being suitable only for adult users, no ads would appear. YouTube said their terms
of service meant that viewers must be aged 13 or over and stated If you are under 13 years of age, then please do not use the Service. There are lots of other great websites for you. Talk to your parents about what sites are appropriate for you .
They said if viewers aged under-13 viewed the site regardless, there was a risk they would see content or ads that were not suited to children under the age of 13. They said the exact ads they saw would depend on a number of factors, including whether
the parent had signed into their YouTube account before viewing, whether they had enabled safe search on their account and what targeting methods the advertiser had used when they placed their ad.
They said there were other
methods of targeting for advertisers who wanted their ads to reach as many consumers as possible; for example a banner ad at the top of the homepage or First Watch ads, which allowed advertisers to run an ad so it was seen only once by a user visiting a
YouTube partner page on any given day. Those ads could appear on any partner page. However, all advertisers were contractually obliged to make sure the ads were family safe and complied with all terms and conditions and YouTube ad policies,
including, for First Watch ads, the more restrictive policy that was specific to the home page. YouTube double-checked compliance with the home page policy before accepting ads via First Watch. They said the Lions Gate ad was placed via First Watch and
therefore it could appear to any YouTube user, regardless of whether or not they had logged in. They said they considered the ad to be family safe because although the scenes were cut quickly and much of the filming was dark and suggestive, there
was no explicit violence, no blood or scenes of death, no shooting victims (only sounds of shots fired) and no adult language or explicit sexual content.
They said the website was merely a platform and they were not responsible
for the content of videos or ads that might appear. It was for advertisers to ensure their ads were targeted appropriately, and partners who did not want ads, including First Watch ads, to appear against content they uploaded did not have to do so. They
said they were always willing to listen to comments and suggestions from their users, who could report ads they felt violated their community guidelines or ad policies.
ASA Decision: Complaint Upheld
ASA noted the ad reflected the content of an action film. We considered, however, it included some scenes, in particular those of shooting, explosions and punching, that were unsuitable for younger children. We noted that in order to create a YouTube
account, users were required to confirm that they were at least 13 years old. We also noted, however, material on the site could be viewed without logging in and therefore it was not possible to prevent under-13-year-olds from viewing material. We noted
that users could also be unaware of that policy. We also noted that information YouTube provided indicated to potential advertisers that, based on US figures from 2010, they understood seven per cent of unique visitors to be aged two to eleven and a
further nine per cent to be aged 12 to 17, with those audiences described as having 39% and 61% Reach of Online Universe respectively. We acknowledged that data was relevant to a different market but considered it nevertheless indicated that
children were likely to view footage, and therefore ads, on YouTube. We noted YouTube offered advertisers the option of age-gating their marketing material, whereby the ad was targeted via the date of birth registration held for users; only users
who were logged in and met the relevant age criteria would see such an ad. We considered the The Duck Song clip during which the ad appeared, was likely to appeal to children and noted the ad was served in such a way that it could be viewed by all
YouTube users, even if they had not logged in. Because it included scenes that were unsuitable for younger children and it could be viewed by all YouTube users, we considered the ad was inappropriately targeted. We therefore concluded that it breached
The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 5.1 (Children). Action
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Lions Gate to ensure that future marketing
communications addressed to, targeted directly at or featuring children contained nothing that was likely to result in their physical, mental or moral harm.
A church advertising campaign that depicted atheists as empty headed has been banned by South Africa's advert censor.
South Africa's Advertising Standards Authority ruled that a billboard that suggested non-believers considered their existence to
be accidental was likely to be found offensive.
The offending poster showed a picture of a man holding his hands against his temples in thought above the line An atheist is a man who believes himself to be an accident , famously attributed
to British poet Francis Thompson. It was erected last year in a prominent position on the property of the Rivers Church in Johannesburg.
However, the ASA noted that it was obliged to consider the advertisement's content after it received a
complaint from a non-Christian member of the public. The ASA wrote:
The church submitted that the advertisement is based on Psalm 14v and Psalm 53v1, which say "only foolish say in their hearts there is no
It is apparent that the proverbial line is drawn when advertising propagates statements that undermine the dignity and constitutionally protected right to freedom of religious beliefs of any identifiable sector of
The visuals of a man holding the sides of his empty head suggest that atheists are 'empty-headed or lack intelligence, presumably as a result of the above belief communicated.
something that would likely offend all atheists in a manner that the Code seeks to prevent.
The church was ordered to pull down the advert immediately and was banned from using the material again.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dismissed a complaint from the National Secular Society which had accused the ASA of unreasonably restricting freedom of expression by banning advertisements too readily if they risk offending even a few
In a long justification of its enforcement of the Code of Advertising Practice, the wording of which the NSS also attacked, James Best, chairman of the CAP, refused to accept any of the NSS's points about its banning of ads that poke
even mild fun at religion.
The complaint arose from the banning of a series of advertisements from the ice cream company Antonio Federici, which, in the ASA's word were offensive, because they believed they mocked Catholicism .
Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society, said:
When the adverts were banned, the NSS said that the ASA was introducing a new sort of blasphemy law through the back door. This response from the
ASA gives us no reason to change that opinion. When did it become illegal to satirise Catholicism?
We have become increasingly concerned about an unreasonable deference to religion by the ASA. We were particularly irked by the
banning of the ice cream ads, one of which (in the ASA's own words) showed two priests in full robes who looked as though they were about to kiss. One of the men also wore rosary beads and held a spoon in his hand; the other held a tub of ice cream. The
ad included text that stated We Believe in Salivation.
The advertisements were ruled by the Authority to have breached the Code of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the number of complainants is often pitifully small, just six in the
case of the priests and ice cream ad.
The Code of Advertising Practice includes the ruling that ads:
should contain nothing that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care should be taken
to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or disability.
The NSS complained last year to the ASA, and a high level meeting was arranged between the ASA's chair, Lord Smith of Finsbury
(supported by senior executives), and Keith Porteous Wood and NSS senior campaigns officer, Tessa Kendall.
We emphasised the importance of freedom of expression and pointed out that one of their
adjudications had recently been overruled by the courts on grounds of freedom of expression. Ironically, the case had been brought by a fundamentalist church, in respect of the banning of its advert criticising Gay Pride parade inBelfast. The ad was
headlined 'The word of God against sodomy' and invited those who opposed the parade to meet peacefully.
South Africa's Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that a Tracy McGregor billboard in Johannesburg was harmless.
The advert censor dismissed complaints that the billboard depicted women as objects for sexual gratification , degrades the dignity of women
and encourages sexual promiscuity .
Tracy McGregor, the 2008 FHM Sexiest Women winner, is shown on the billboard wearing black stilettos and black lace underwear, with one arm over her head. Next to her are the words: Playboy
Playmate Parties and the Playboy SA website address is given below.
But a handful of motorists and residents were less than titillated. One said that the billboard promotes pornography and that he was uncomfortable having to explain
such images to his young nieces and nephews.
In its response, Playboy SA said the magazine carried far tamer content than some magazines on local shelves, and suggested that those who were offended should focus on the message detergent
adverts sent to society about women.
And it seems the advertising body agreed, saying in its ruling that Playboy had chosen not to gratuitously depict a lustful, sexual image . The billboard is not overtly sexual and imagery of a
seductively dressed woman is a product relevant to the advertiser.
A circular for a club night at Riverside in Newcastle, delivered as a door drop in October 2011, featured an image of a woman crouching in front of a man with her buttocks on display from beneath her dress. Foam spurted from the man's crotch. Text stated
every Wednesday TEQUILA come and swallow . A cartoon image of a mouth appeared in the top-left corner with the slogan dedicated to oral pleasure . The reverse of the circular featured the same image and additional text about the club night.
A review stated A spirit-fuelled den of hedonism and debauchery . Other text stated Tequilas [sic] coming to Newcastle ... will you swallow? ... we are here for your pleasure and your pleasure alone ... Tequila is where your hottest and sexiest
experiences will take place! What you can remember is sure to be one of your greatest memories of university. Newcastle ... get ready to be seduced . Issue
1. A complainant challenged whether the circular was offensive and
unsuitable for an untargeted medium, where it could be seen by children.
The ASA challenged whether the circular:
2. condoned irresponsible consumption of alcohol; and
alcohol with sexual activity.
Stage One Events Inc. (Stage One Events) apologised that the circular had caused offence in the local community. They said that it had been put through doors in the local area over one weekend as part
of a campaign to launch a new student event in a very diluted market. It was felt that this would help the business and would offer a new event to the students of Newcastle and add to the social life of those attending university in the city, whilst also
creating jobs in a stagnant market.
ASA Decision: Complaints Upheld
We noted Stage One Events' argument that they created the circular to launch a new business in the
area. We considered, however, that the image on the circular was sexually explicit and noted that claims on the circular come and swallow and dedicated to oral pleasure were clearly intended as sexual innuendo. We considered the text on the
reverse of the circular which promised the hottest and sexiest experiences and ended with the claim Newcastle ... get ready to be seduced were sexually suggestive. We concluded therefore that the circular was likely to cause serious and
widespread offence and was not appropriate for an untargeted medium, where it could be seen by children.
On this point, the circular breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).
We noted that the CAP Code required marketing communications to contain nothing that was likely to lead people to adopt styles of drinking that were unwise, including excessive drinking. We considered
however that there was a clear inference that excessive drinking was acceptable and condoned from anyone attending the event advertised in the circular. Aside from the fact that the event was called Tequila , named after a well-known high-strength
spirit, we noted that the circular included an apparent quote from a newspaper which described the event as a spirit-fuelled den the inclusion of which we considered took a celebratory tone which highlighted the fact alcohol consumption was
condoned. We also considered that the claim What you can remember is sure to be one of your greatest memories of university encouraged the excessive consumption of alcohol to the point where guests would be so drunk that they could not recall what
they had done during the previous evening. Because of a clear association with alcohol and excessive drinking, we considered that the circular condoned irresponsible consumption of alcohol.
On this point, the circular breached CAP
Code rule 18.1 (Alcohol).
We noted that the CAP Code required marketing communications not to link alcohol with seduction, sexual activity or sexual success. We considered that the image on the
front of the circular was sexually explicit and the accompanying text will you swallow , come and swallow and dedicated to oral pleasure was sexually suggestive. We further considered that the claims on the reverse of the circular
Tequila is where your hottest and sexiest experiences will take place and Newcastle ... get ready to be seduced had sexual connotations. Because these claims and the image appeared in the circular which advertised an event which was heavily
linked to alcohol consumption, gave details of drinks prices and was called Tequila , we considered that there was a link to sexual activity, and the circular gave out the message that drinking alcohol was preliminary to sex or made sexual
activity very likely. We also considered that the newspaper quote a spirit-fuelled den of hedonism and debauchery condoned reckless and irresponsible sexual behaviour and alcohol consumption. Because of this, we concluded that the circular was
On this point, the circular breached CAP Code rule 18.5 (Alcohol).
A Libra tampon commercial featuring a trans woman has been labelled transphobic by implying that transgender women are not real women.
The advertisement depicts a blonde woman and an obviously trans woman competitively applying make up and
arranging their clothes while in a nightclub bathroom.
The blonde woman then takes a Libra tampon out of her bag which causes the trans woman to storm out of the bathroom.
Sally Goldner of Transgender Victoria told Gay News Network:
It's just an incredibly thoughtless ad. It is pretty clear that it is implied that a transgender woman is not a real woman.
It raises questions to me how the company making the product, the ad
company and standards board could allow it to go to air.
I think this really highlights the lack of teeth that groups like the ACMA and the press council have in these areas of respect where vilification happens but there needs to
be more respect. It's not just transgender people who are affected.
Goldner added that suggestions have been made calling for an apology and for Libra to do something to support the trans community: Some people have suggested they
should fund some positive message about transgender people and really show that they are concerned.
UK transgender activist Jane Fae commented:
It is unfortunate, in this day and age, that some companies
still consider that a good way to sell their products is by picking on a minority and making fun. As society has grown up, with the offense given by many everyday jokes better understood – and in many cases also made specifically unlawful through
equalities legislation – the range of minorities left for advertisers to pick on has grown ever more eccentric.
Following worldwide outrage, an ad campaign for Libra feminine hygiene products, which had been circulating in Australia and New Zealand, has now been put on hold.
A spokeswoman for Libra product, which is the leading brand of
feminine hygiene product in the Australasia region, said today that they were completely taken by surprise by the strength and ferocity of the reaction. They had tested the ad and achieved a positive reaction from their core audience. She said:
It was never our intention to hurt or to offend. The ad was intended as a piece of humour designed to promote a positive image of women.
We were shocked by the reaction from the trans community --
although now that we have had a chance to reflect on comments made, we can understand better their perspective.
We are aware that trans women make use of feminine hygiene products.
She went on. It is the
summer holiday period in Australia now, which means many of the marketing team are not available.
However, we will be putting this campaign on hold -- and when the marketing team are back next week, we will be re-evaluating this
campaign. It is very unlikely that it will ever air again in its present format.
A Tui beer advert in the yeah right series of billboards has wound up New Zealand nutters.
The billboard reads Santa only comes once a year. Yeah right .
It has 'offended' Bob McCoskrie, national director of Family First New
Zealand, who has slammed it as tacky and adult humour .
McCoskrie said the billboard showed a lack of Christmas cheer from Tui and would prompt questions from innocent children. The sexual innuendo of the billboard was adult
humour which parents would prefer not to have to explain to children who ask . He continued:
The 'Yeah right' billboards are well known for making people smile. We'd just ask that they do it without embarrassing
parents with awkward questions from kids. Keep adult humour to an adult audience - although many adults would be offended by the sign as well.
We'd encourage families to show their disapproval by boycotting the company products.
Family First is considering laying a complaint about the billboard with the Advertising Standards Authority, but does not expect a ruling in its favour:
By the time they even consider it, the sign
will be gone and the damage done. That's why we want a pre-vetting system with community and family representation on the board.