Advertising News

 2017: Jan-March

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  Distressing censorship...

ASA bans Royal Mail bank raid video advert from post watershed video on demand


Link Here 15th November 2017

royal mail heist video A paid-for video ad on Twitter and a Video On Demand (VOD) ad for Royal Mail:

a. The video ad on Twitter, seen on 27 July 2017, featured a scene with customers and staff in a bank. A short while later a gang of men in balaclavas with baseball bats entered the bank and shouted, This is a robbery. The staff and customers in the bank were made to get on their knees with their hands held up and were threatened with the baseball bats. One female member of staff was grabbed repeatedly by the shoulder and the wrist and asked her full name and date of birth by one of the assailants. Other customers were asked similar questions about their personal identity, passwords and log-in details, while a member of the gang appeared to type the information on a hand-held electronic tablet. One customer offered a gang member money to which he said, We don't want your money. Throughout the scene the members of the public, which included a child, were shouted at aggressively by the assailants, appeared scared and some were crying. One gang member asked another, Got it? they replied, Got it all, after which the gang left the bank. On-screen text stated Your identity is now your most valuable possession. Text at the end of the ad stated, LET'S BEAT IDENTITY FRAUD followed by text that stated Visit our ID Fraud Centre for help and advice, accompanied by the Royal Mail logo and the text, The future in safe hands.

b. The VOD ad, seen on ITV Player on 9 August 2017 at approximately 9.00 pm during an episode of Coronation Street, was the same as ad (a).

Seven complainants challenged whether ads (a) and (b) were likely to cause fear and distress without justifiable reason, particularly for those who had been victims of violence, and whether ad (b) was inappropriately placed at a time when children could have been viewing.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA noted that Royal Mail had sought and followed advice regarding the ad's placement from Clearcast and CAP's Copy Advice team, and acknowledged that the ad had not been shown on VOD before 9 pm. We concluded therefore, that it was unlikely that children had seen ad (b).

We acknowledged that identity fraud was a growing problem and it was important that steps were taken to inform the general public about how serious it was and how they could protect themselves. While we understood that the scenario of a bank robbery was chosen to emphasise the seriousness of the crime, we noted that this was not among the common scenarios in which identity fraud was perpetrated. As a result, we considered that consumers would not be able to clearly see from the ad how they could protect themselves, for example by avoiding certain actions that could make them potentially vulnerable to identity fraud. We noted the ads' reference to the Royal Mail's ID fraud centre, but it did not appear until the very end of the ad, during which time the scenario was presented without explanation or context.

Furthermore, because the setting of the ad was recognisable and showed ordinary people, including a child, being shouted at aggressively by criminals, lying on the floor and trying to hide behind furniture, and looking visibly frightened, the impact was heightened and there was an added sense of threat. Because of this, we considered it to be reminiscent of other crimes or situations that people may have experienced that extends beyond the bank robbery depicted and therefore could trigger negative emotions for those who had been victims of violence. We did not consider that the use of baseball bats made the ad less violent than if knives and guns had been used, as the bats were often shown held in a threatening manner by the criminals or positioned next to customers heads.

We understood Royal Mail and ITV's view that the ad served to highlight a serious and growing crime and to assist customers to find information to protect themselves. We noted from the results of the test sample of viewers that the ad may have increased ID fraud awareness for those who had seen it. We also noted that Royal Mail had amended the Twitter ad so that a warning appeared accompanying the video and that they did not intend to use the ad again. However, we considered that the overall presentation of the ads, as seen by the complainants, was excessively threatening and distressing to the extent that it overshadowed the message the ad intended to convey. We concluded the ad was likely to cause fear and distress to viewers, in particular to victims of violence, without a justifiable reason.

We told Royal Mail to ensure that in future their ads did not cause fear or distress without justifiable reason.

 

  Twas the night before Puntmas...

When some Christians were stirred, claiming twas blasphemy that they'd heard


Link Here 12th November 2017
puntmas Australia's advert censor has dismissed a swath of complaints about supposedly offensive Sportsbet adverts that some felt denigrated Christians.

A Sportsbet advertising campaign which used the word Puntmas to describe the racing season has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Bureau following complaints of blasphemy.

The ads feature four men at the racetrack, humming and singing Christmas carols, with a voiceover promoting a new feature of the betting app which allows users to cancel their bets. They end with an appearance from former sprinter Ben Johnson who featured in an earlier ad for the bookmaker which was banned for making light of drug use .

The Advertising Standards Board received a number of complaints, many of which took issue with the association of Christmas and gambling. For them to use it in a gambling ad reaches new lows in the gambling industry, one complaint read.

Regrettably, we live in an era where it has become acceptable to denigrate our Christian heritage, another said. This advertisement deliberately tries to associate gambling with the spirit of Christmas. No doubt gambling will ruin Christmas for many families this year. I find this ad to be in very poor taste.

One person said it was beyond offensive to associate betting with one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar, while another said they especially don't want my children to recognise the tune and start to relate Christmas and gambling.

In its response, Sportsbet rejected that the ads in any way discriminated against or vilified any section of the community on account of religion.

The Advertising Standards Board sided with Sportsbet, dismissing the complaints. In its determination, it said many members of the community consider Christmas as a cultural holiday more so than a religious one. [Though] Christmas has significant meaning to some, the use of 'Puntmas' in the context of a promotion of a gambling product may be considered tasteless but such a connection of words does not denigrate Christianity or Christians, the ASB said.

 

  Censorship doesn't come cheap you know!...

South African advert censor seeks to raise funding in an industry levy


Link Here 7th November 2017  full story: Advert Censors in South Africa...ASA vetting of advertising
asa sa logoIn the second phase of rescuing the self-regulation of advertising in South Africa, the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) has introduced a voluntary levy system on advertising spends.

The scheme sets a voluntary levy of 0.1% of advertising spend and is to be collected by advertising agencies that implement advertising campaigns.

ASA have noted that companies with a massive spend, such that they consider 0.1% is too high, then ASA will be willing to negotiate the figure down.

 

  Bucket loads of complaints...

Bus adverts for the movie Jigsaw generate a few complaints for being frightening


Link Here 25th October 2017
jigsaw busParents say images promoting a new horror film on the side of buses are too scary for children to see.

Posters for Jigsaw have been seen on the side of Stagecoach buses in Kent and around the country, alongside other marketing on television and online. The bus adverts are based on the Jigsaw poster right.

Ashford father-of-two Chris Paine says the image, which depicts a ghoulish serial killer character called Billy the Puppet, is inappropriate for children. He said his daughter saw the posters when they were leaving the train station. He said:

My children are aged 12 and 15 and they just don't watch those sort of films. I really don't think it's appropriate.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says it has received 24 complaints about the adverts from across the country, 21 of which are about bus posters. ASA press officer Estelle Yuen said: The nature of complaints have generally been that the imagery is frightening and unsuitable for public display where children can easily come across them.

 

 Updated: Lamb of gods...

Australian lamb marketing advert offends the easily offended


Link Here 15th September 2017
lamb advert video Australia's Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) will investigate complaints made about an lamb marketing campaign that has angered the easily offended.

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) launched an amusing advert featuring actors portraying Jesus, Lord Ganesh, L. Ron Hubbard and Buddha.

So far the ASB has received about 30 complaints about the ad. An ASB spokesperson told SBS World News most people who complained about the ad cited discrimination and vilification on the grounds of religion.

MLA Group marketing manager Andrew Howie explained the advert:

Lamb is the meat that brings people together. Our 'You Never Lamb Alone' campaigns have promoted the value of unity and inclusivity. This latest campaign instalment is no different, 

Our intent is never to offend, but rather acknowledge that lamb is a meat consumed by a wide variety of cultures and capture how the world could look if people left their differing views at the door and came to the table with open arms, and minds.

Howie also pointed out Ganesh was sitting across the table from Buddha, another vegetarian. Neither of them are eating meat or drinking wine but they were willing participants at the party which we would hope everyone can come together and celebrate their difference.

Not all deities were represented at the dinner table. To save offending muslims with a depiction of Mohammed, he was conveniently unable to make the dinner party.

Hindu Council of Ausralia spokesperson Balesh Dhankhar said they were very hurt and angry about this ad campaign. The reason being the Hindu community cannot imagine their deity, Lord Ganesh in this case, as eating meat. Dhankhar said most people who follow Hinduism were vegetarians and seeing Lord Ganesh in this manner was very insulting. He said the Hindu community was one of the fastest growing in Australia and seeing the deity depicted in this manner went against the country's values.

Update: India is offended

10th September 2017 See article from bbc.com

high commission of india logoThe High Commission of India in Canberra said it had made a demarche to three Australian government departments. It also urged Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) to withdraw the advertisement because many people considered it offensive and hurting their religious sentiments.

A number of community associations have also registered their protest with government of Australia and Meat and Livestock Australia, the high commission said in a statement.

Update: And of course Rajan Zed

12th September 2017 See article from rajanzed.org

rajan zed website logoEternal whinger Rajan Zed has called for a ban of the Meat & Livestock Australia lamb advert.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that it was highly irresponsible of MLA to continue with this ad despite the clear expression by Hindus that it was very inappropriate and hurt their feelings.

Rajan Zed also urged Australia Advertising Standards Bureau to act urgently on the various complaints received by it regarding this ad.

Besides withdrawing the ad immediately, MLA Board Chair Dr. Michele Allan and Managing Director Richard Norton should resign for apparently working against the interests of the organization by upsetting consumers instead of charming them, and using cheap tactics to attract attention instead of seriously attempting to prevent consumers from reducing their lamb consumption, Rajan Zed indicated.

Zed had sought ban on You Never Lamb Alone video ad, which seemed to make fun of Lord Ganesha. Zed pointed out that Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and he was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling lamb meat for mercantile greed. Moreover, linking Lord Ganesha with meat was very disrespectful and highly inappropriate, Zed added.

YouTube logoUpdate: Censored by YouTube

14th September 2017 See  article from thedrum.com

YouTube has removed the You Never Lamb Alone advert by Meat & Livestock Australia in India after requests from the Indian government.

A message on the video now reads for Indian viewers: this content is not on this country domain due to a legal complaint from the government.

Update: Banned in Thailand

15th September 2017 See  article from khaosodenglish.com

Thailand flagFight of Gods is no longer available for purchase from within Thailand on Steam. This item is currently unavailable in your region, notes the entry in Steam's online store.

After the game was released, Buddhist officials in Thailand expressed outrage. Booncherd Kittitharangkoon, the director of a state agency that governs monks and temples, told reporters that the game could damage Buddhism.

Booncherd said he had asked the Culture of Censorship Ministry to send a complaint to Taiwanese game developer Digital Crafter. He warned that Thai authorities could take legal action if some characters were not removed.

A spokesman for British developer, PQube acknowledged that Thailand has formally demanded that the game be removed from sale in their territory.

 

 Update: Dangerous Thailand...

The Vogue for Thailand making commonplace social media postings into a criminal offence


Link Here 19th August 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Thailand...Thailand implements mass website blocking
vogue august 2017Vogue fashion magazine has been reporting on the dangers of social media posts that contain images which included alcohol brands. Vogue magazine writes:

Tourists might not realize as they make their guidebook-mandated pilgrimage to nightlife hotspots like Khao San Road, is that despite the country's many Full Moon parties and bar girls, alcohol advertising is illegal. And posting a photo on social media of your beer by the beach could count as advertising.

Recently police have begun to strictly enforce 2008's Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, which bans displaying the names or logos of products in order to induce people to drink such alcoholic beverages, either directly or indirectly.

Last month, police announced their intention to more closely patrol social media and charge those found breaking the law. That means even if your favorite actress wasn't being paid for her endorsement and really was just sharing a photo with a drink by the pool or on a night out, she could find herself facing a 50,000 baht (about $1,500 USD) fine for indirectly inducing drinking.

Earlier this month, eight local celebrities were fined for posting selfies with alcoholic drinks on social media, with Thai Asia Pacific Brewery and Boon Rawd Brewery Co. (the producer of Singha beer) also implicated in the case. But police aren't just monitoring the accounts of the rich and famous -- at the beginning of August, three bar girls found themselves arrested after making a Facebook Live video inviting people to come enjoy a beer promotion.

 

  ASA uses its scissors...

PC censor bans Femfresh bikini line shaving advert


Link Here 12th July 2017

femfesh advert video A Video on Demand (VOD) ad for Femfresh bikini line shaving products, seen on ITV Player and 4oD in March and April 2017, featured several women, who were wearing briefs and swimwear, dancing. It included multiple close-up shots of the women's crotches.

Seventeen complainants, who believed that the ad objectified women and portrayed them in an overly sexualised way, objected that it was offensive and socially irresponsible.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA noted that Church & Dwight had received advice from Clearcast, which set out Clearcast's view that the ad was OK for VOD. However, we noted that the advertiser had primary responsibility for ensuring that VOD ads complied with the CAP Code.

The ad promoted products for shaving the bikini line, and given their intended use, it was relevant for the ad to focus on that area of the body and show women wearing swimwear and fitness wear that exposed it. We also noted that many of the dance moves used in the routine reflected those that might be seen in some exercise classes. However, overall we considered that the dance sequence was highly sexualised, in the style of a music video, and featured many thrusting dance moves. The ad focused to a large extent on the women's crotches, with relatively few shots of their faces, and some of them wore high-cut swimsuits that were more exposing than many swimsuits. Even taking into account the nature of the product, we considered that it had been presented in an overly-sexualised way that objectified women. We concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and therefore breached the Code.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Church & Dwight Ltd not to use advertising that objectified women and which was likely to cause serious or widespread offence to promote their products.

 

 Update: Don't insult those that are protected by PC...

YouTube adds new censorship rules to define which videos will barred from monetisation through advertising


Link Here 5th June 2017

YouTube logoIn response to recent boycotts by high profile advertisers, YouTube has clarified its censorship rules to enable video-makers to know which content it considers to be advertiser-friendly.

In a blog post, the video-sharing website said it would not allow adverts to appear alongside hateful or discriminatory content. It will also refuse to place ads next to videos using gratuitously disrespectful language that shames or insults an individual or group. The guidelines also discourage film-makers from making inappropriate parody videos using popular family entertainment characters.

YouTube has detailed new censorship rules in a blog post:
  • Hateful content: Content that promotes discrimination or disparages or humiliates an individual or group of people on the basis of the individual's or group's race, ethnicity, or ethnic origin, nationality, religion, disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other characteristic associated with systematic discrimination or marginalization.

  • Inappropriate use of family entertainment characters: Content that depicts family entertainment characters engaged in violent, sexual, vile, or otherwise inappropriate behavior, even if done for comedic or satirical purposes.

  • Incendiary and demeaning content: Content that is gratuitously incendiary, inflammatory, or demeaning. For example, video content that uses gratuitously disrespectful language that shames or insults an individual or group.

However, the announcement has met with some criticism from video makers. Captain Sauce, pointed out that the algorithm used to detect whether a video may contain inappropriate content was not perfect.

Whilst Eugenia Loli pointed out that mainstream news networks often post inflammatory studio debates that could be judged incendiary and demeaning, while music videos often pushed the boundaries of sexually-explicit content, but these still carried advertisements. He wrote:

Why punish the little guy, but not the big networks? This is a double standard.

 

 Update: Emasculated with censor's scissors...

New Zealand miserablists think the censorship of jokes on Wicked Campervans has been effective


Link Here 21st January 2017
wicked van virginWicked Campers are known as a brash, unapologetic company that built its reputation on homourous slogans plastered across its vehicles.

But almost a year on from a nationwide furore that saw New Zealand's Chief Censor ban a handful of its vans from the road, the feeling is that the company has been somewhat tamed. Golden Bay's Pohara Campground assistant manager Leigh Johnson said:

They are not like they used to be 12 months ago. It think they have toned it down.

The film censor's ban meant that the specific vans were banned from public places in New Zealand and Wicked could face a fine of up to $200,000 per offence if it continued to use them.

Murchison's Riverside Holiday Park, leaseholder Robin Sandford, said it seemed:

All the bad ones had disappeared. I don't know if they have taken them off the road or what but we don't see a lot of them coming in here. I saw two in the last two weeks and there was nothing offensive on them. They were funny but they weren't offensive.

 

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