Network Rail has a contract with JCDecaux for advertising on the interiors of its railway stations.
In the UK, an organisation called the Quran Project planned to place posters in five major London Railway Stations - Waterloo, Victoria, Liverpool St, Marylebone and St Pancras International during 10 - 24 December 2012.
The chairman of project Dr Wleed Haq said that the billboard campaign was designed to tackle the causes of Islamophobia in the UK by distributing 1,000 free copies of the English translation of the Quran to non-Muslims. To date, the charity has
distributed 50,000 copies since its formation two years ago.
The London railway posters went up at different times between Mon - Thurs last week. The campaign had been six months in the planning and the sites were reserved by JCDecaux who had approved the campaign, at a cost of £
30,000, two thirds of which was raised online with JustGiving, a popular crowd funding platform.
On Monday, 17 December, these billboards advertising free Qurans, were taken down. An email from JCDecaux explained that the rail companies found the adverts to be unacceptable and so had been taken down.
Both JCDecaux and Network Rail have allowed similar campaigns for other religious groups over the last two years, in particular The Trinitarian Bible Society and the Alpha Course, who have advertised widely including at Marylebone station (operated by
Commentator Mohammed Ansar said in the Huffington Post:
This in itself must raise questions about how we go about tackling pandemic Islamophobia, if policies and those who police them are not only beyond reproach but advocates of such prejudice. In the end we have the irony that an anti-Islamophobia campaign
has been entirely derailed by precisely the potentially discriminatory policies of Network Rail, JCDecaux and the railway companies, which they are attempting to challenge in the first place.
The Quran Project has since tweeted that the ads have now been restored, with the exception of Marylebone station where Chiltern Railways claim that they operate a blanket ban on all religious advertising.
Ann Summers is facing a potential investigation by the UK's advert censors, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after claims that its latest TV ad is too sexual .
Four whingers have kindly complained to the ASA so generating good publicity for Ann Summers from articles such as this.
The ad, which aired for the first time last week during a live episode of the Only Way is Essex , is part of the sex toys retailer's Christmas For Grown Ups campaign.
The advert has a 9pm variant and an 11pm variant. It depicts a plushly decorated Christmas dinner setting only lacking diners. They are soon shown enjoying fireside fun of the sexy kind.
A spokesperson for Ann Summers says:
We have not been made aware of any complaints following the airing of our Christmas advert throughout the last week. Our current advertising campaign was designed in the spirit of Christmas For Grown Ups, and as a responsible retailer we have worked in
conjunction with the approving body and the advert has only been aired after the watershed.
A blog entry titled RASPBERRY HEAT WAVE stated Colour blocking is the hot clothing trend of 2011. Everyone
from Chezza to Nicole Scherzinger to Leona Lewis are getting their bright colour game on. As a very brightly coloured bunch, we're bang into it too! We've been seing [sic] loads of pink, which we LOVE - as it's totally an homage to our new Sourz
Raspberry flavour ;) Pink is not just for girls either ... lads have been getting in on the trend too with raspberry skinny jeans, shirts, belts and ties. Don't believe us? Check out this lot, who were more than happy to strike a pose and show off their
latest colours on Threadz . Images showed male and female models in various outfits, with each photo including glasses of brightly coloured pink (and in one case green) drink. Issue
Alcohol Concern, on behalf of the Youth Alcohol Advertising Council (YAAC), challenged whether:
the models shown were under 25 years of age, because they believed some of them appeared to be under 18 years of age; and
the references to celebrities and the use of an emoticon winking smiley face were likely to appeal to people under 18.
Maxxium UK Ltd provided photographic ID for each of the models, including their dates of birth and their ages. They said the five models were aged 29, 27, 26, 25 and 25 at the time of the launch, but acknowledged that one of the models was just short of
her 25th birthday at the time of the shoot.
2. They said the Sourz blog was hosted on a website which could only be accessed once a date of birth was provided and which stopped anyone under the age of 18 from legally seeing any content on the website, including the blog. They considered that all
the website content appealed to and was exclusively consumed by people of a legal drinking age and if anyone under the age of 18 attempted to access the site they were re-directed to drinkaware.co.uk in line with their commitment to responsible marketing
They referred to Yahoo Survey research, which found that respondents from the ages of 19 to 25 were the most avid emoticon users, with 68% in this age group using emoticons on a daily basis, but that it was not just the younger generation who embraced
emoticons, with nearly half (48%) of respondents over the age of 50 using emoticons in their everyday communication.
ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld
We noted that the Code required that marketing communications for alcoholic drinks should not show people who were, or appeared to be, under 25 years of age in a significant role. Although we noted that the models were all over 25 when the shoot was
published, we nonetheless considered that some of the models in the fashion shot, namely the girl featured in the pink dress and turquoise cardigan and the girl in the hat, would be considered to be some years under the age of 25 by many consumers, and
could be seen by some consumers as being under 18. Although the models were not featured drinking, we noted that the shoot appeared to have taken place in a bar and that Sourz drinks appeared in some of the images. We also understood that one theme of
the shoot was homage to our new Sourz Raspberry flavour .
Because we considered that two of the models, who featured prominently in the images, were likely to be seen by consumers as under 25, we concluded the ad breached the Code.
On that point, the ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 18.16 (Alcohol).
We noted that the blog used informal, colloquial language, including the use of a winking emoticon, and considered that that tone and approach were youth-orientated and likely to appeal to young people. We also noted that one aspect of the fashion
shoot was to promote brightly coloured, fun fashion, which the ad claimed was likely to be worn by celebrities like Cheryl Cole, Nicole Scherzinger and Leona Lewis, and we considered that the ad associated that fashion style with the alcoholic Sourz
drink. We noted that the celebrities mentioned were pop singers, associated with the X-Factor, who were popular with under 18s. We also considered that the models looked very young, with some models appearing to be around 18 years old, and, in light of
that, considered that the fashion shoot would appeal to young people, rather than an older readership.
Because of the colloquial language, young-looking models and the references to X-Factor celebrities in the ad, we considered that it would have particular appeal to young people and concluded, in an ad promoting an alcoholic drink, that that approach was
irresponsible and in breach of the Code.
On that point, the ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 18.14 (Alcohol).
Virgin Mobile US has pulled an advert that seemingly made light of rape after Richard Branson slammed the online
commercial as ill-judged and a dreadful mistake .
The offending ad depicted a man holding a gift while shielding the eyes of a woman, an accompanying caption asks: The gift of Christmas surprise. Necklace? Or chloroform?
The implication of chloroform being used to render attack victims unconscious, were immediately attacked on Twitter, with some posters alerting Branson to the ad.
Branson responded via the Virgin group website, saying:
Having just seen, for the first time, the Virgin Mobile US advert which has upset many today, I agree it is ill-judged. Although I don't own the company, it carries our brand. I will speak to the team there, make my thoughts clear and see what can be
done about it.
In an update to the post, Branson confirmed that the people behind the ad had acknowledged that a dreadful mistake was made and had agreed to remove the advert within the hour.
A spokeswoman for Virgin Mobile USA said:
This image was not approved by Virgin Mobile USA. We apologise deeply to anyone who has been offended by this posting. It was removed early this morning.
The Stockings & Hosiery section of the website www.americanapparel.co.uk showed images of
the products for sale and included images of models wearing the tights or stockings.
a. The first showed a black and white photograph of a woman and her mirror image. She was lying on her back with her legs raised in the air, wearing shoes and patterned tights but nothing else. One of her breasts was visible.
b. The second showed several small photographs of women wearing tights but nothing else. One woman had her back to the camera and was bending over, touching her toes and looking back at the camera.
c. The third showed three identical photographs of a woman sitting on a window sill sideways to the camera wearing stockings and a long, flowered shirt.
d. The fourth showed three different photographs of a woman in pink tights and a blue top standing sideways to the camera.
e. The fifth showed five women wearing bras and different coloured tights lying on their stomachs but looking back towards the camera.
f. The sixth showed three pairs of women's legs raised in the air wearing different coloured stockings.
g. The seventh showed a woman lying on her stomach, sideways to the camera but turning her face towards it, wearing black, cut-out tights with the bottom exposed.
h. The eighth showed a woman on her hands and one knee, with her other leg raised in the air, sideways to the camera but turning her face towards it, wearing tights, shoes and a top.
i. The ninth showed a black and white photograph of a woman wearing sheer black tights and a top. She was sitting with her bottom facing the camera.
j. The tenth showed a woman on her hands and one knee, with her other leg raised in the air, sideways to the camera but turning her face towards it, wearing pink, footless, high denier tights and a bra.
k. The eleventh showed five pairs of women's legs wearing different coloured, high denier tights.
l. The twelfth showed the lower halves of four women wearing patterned or coloured tights. Three were sideways to the camera and one faced the camera.
m. The thirteenth showed a black and white photograph of two women wearing black, patterned tights but nothing else. One stood with her back to the camera and one stood sideways to the camera, but both had turned their heads to face the camera. One woman
covered her breast with her hand.
n. The fourteenth showed a photograph of a woman lying on her stomach on a bed with her face turned towards the camera. She was wearing white stockings, knickers and a bra and was cuddling a pillow.
o. The fifteenth showed the lower halves of four women wearing coloured, high denier tights. Three were sideways to the camera and were bending over.
p. The sixteenth showed a black and white photograph of a woman wearing high denier tights but nothing else, bending forwards with her back to the camera.
q. The seventeenth showed a photograph of a woman wearing patterned tights and a flesh-coloured top. She was sitting on the floor, facing the camera and doing the splits.
r. The eighteenth showed a photograph of a woman wearing white tights but nothing else, curled up on a sofa, facing the camera. One of her breasts was visible.
s. The nineteenth showed a photograph of a woman lying on her side with her back to the camera, wearing coloured, high denier tights.
t. The twentieth showed a photograph taken from above of a woman lying on her side, wearing coloured, high denier tights.
u. The twenty-first showed a black and white photograph of the lower halves of nine women standing close together wearing tights. Two stood facing the camera; the others stood sideways to the camera.
v. The twenty-second showed a black and white photograph of two women with their backs to the camera wearing black, cut-out tights with the bottoms exposed. Both women had turned their heads to face the camera.
w. The twenty-third showed three photographs of a woman lying on her back on a sofa with her legs raised in the air. She was wearing coloured, high denier tights and a top.
A complainant, who had wanted to look at the website with her 12-year-old daughter, objected that the images were unnecessarily sexual and inappropriate for a website that could be seen by children.
American Apparel (UK) (American Apparel) believed it was standard practice to market hosiery, intimates or lingerie in the way done on their website. They supplied links to other retailers' websites which they considered portrayed similar products in
similar ways. They said children could access any website; that their website sold a variety of products in addition to hosiery and lingerie and that hosiery and lingerie were labelled as such.
ASA Assessment: Upheld in relation to ads (p), (r) and (v).
The ASA considered that ads (c), (d), (e), (f), (h), (j), (k), (l), (o), (s), (t), (u) and (w) showed women in poses that were natural or artistic but which did not appear to be overtly sexual or otherwise inappropriate in hosiery ads on a website that
could be seen by children. Because of that, we concluded that those ads were not in breach of the CAP Code.
Although no nudity was visible, we considered the pose of the woman in ad (p) was sexually suggestive and gratuitous in an ad for hosiery. Because of that, we concluded that the image was inappropriate in a hosiery ad on a website that could be seen by
We saw that one of the woman's breasts in ad (r) was visible and considered her pose was submissive and sexually suggestive. Although we considered it was reasonable for ads for hosiery to feature women in limited amounts of clothing, we considered that
the image, together with her pose and the appearance of a breast in an ad for hosiery, was gratuitous. Because of that, we concluded that the image was inappropriate in a hosiery ad on a website that could be seen by children.
Although no nudity was visible, we considered the poses of the women in ad (v) were flirtatious and sexually suggestive; that the poses emphasised their bottoms and that they were gratuitous in an ad for hosiery. Because of that, we concluded that the
image was inappropriate in a hosiery ad on a website that could be seen by children.
Ads (p), (r) and (v) breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).
We investigated ads (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g), (h), (i), (j), (k), (l), (m), (n), (o), (q), (s), (t), (u) and (w) under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find them in breach. Action
The United Arab Emirates has tightened its law on internet use, making it a criminal offence to mock its rulers or organise unauthorised demonstrations.
A presidential decree says anyone who creates or runs a website or uses the internet to deride or damage the state or its institutions faces imprisonment. The institutions include the rulers and senior officials across the federation of seven
semi-autonomous Gulf emirates.
Activists have criticised the move as a further restriction to freedom of speech. The authorities have also been accused of deporting and harassing human rights defenders, denying legal assistance to political detainees, and intimidating and deporting
lawyers seeking to assist detainees.
The amendments to the UAE's existing law on internet crime focus on issues such as online fraud, privacy protection, and restrictions on prostitution, pornography and gambling. However, a major section imposes restrictions on online dissent. The
legislation now stipulates:
penalties of imprisonment on any person who creates or runs an electronic website or uses any information technology medium to deride or damage the reputation or stature of the state or any of its institutions.
The minimum prison sentence will be three years. Foreign nationals will also be deported. The law also prohibits information, news, caricatures or any other kind of pictures that authorities believe could threaten security or public
A museum in Austria has covered up hundreds of male genitalia on posters advertising an exhibition after complaints from 'outraged'
Nutters took exception to the large full-frontal photograph of three French football players used to advertise an exhibition on the naked male form at the city's Wiener Leopold Museum.
The image is Vive La France by artists Pierre & Gilles. The three players, wearing nothing but socks and boots, and with a football between their feet, had appeared on 250 billboards across the city.
One complainant described the posters as pathetic and pornographic , and one angry local lady threatened to paint over the offending parts unless action was taken.
A museum spokesman told the newspaper Wiener Zeitung:
We don't want to disturb either children or adults, and if it's clearly something people don't want to see then we have to respect that. But the men are clearly not sexually aroused so we thought it would not cause offence.
Despite the nutter furore, the museum said it would retain a massive sculpture of a reclining male nude entitled Mr Big , which lies outside the museum.
A press ad in Dirt Mountainbike , a specialist mountain and dirt biking magazine, featured a man crouching next to a mountain bike,
making a devil horns sign with his left hand. Text in the bottom right corner of the ad read: YT-INDUSTRIES.COM FUCKING GOOD BIKES!
A complainant challenged whether the use of the slogan FUCKING GOOD BIKES! was offensive and inappropriate, particularly in a publication likely to be read by children.
YT Industries said they developed and produced high-end mountain bikes for the extreme sport market. They said their customer target group was 16- to 30-year-olds and they targeted young people with a tolerant, open mind, who were focused on fun sports.
They said the man featured in the ad was team rider Andreu Lacondeguy, who was one of the top mountain bikers in the world and was a hero for many mountain bikers. They said he was well known for performing the biggest tricks on his bike, as well as
partying and listening to heavy metal. They said the slogan fucking good bikes was intended to convey that they offered outstanding bikes and the slogan was used because they considered it would fit with and appeal to the target group. They said
it was not their intention to provoke or insult any readers or to negatively affect children.
The ASA acknowledged that the magazine was targeted at young adult males, but noted the readership also included older teenagers. Because the ad was placed in a specialist mountain and dirt biking magazine, which was an activity which would appeal to
children as well as adults, we considered that the ad was likely to be seen by some children. We therefore concluded that the use of the phrase FUCKING GOOD BIKES! in that context was likely to cause serious or widespread offence to readers.
The ad breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).