Advertising News

 2018

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  Wash your mouth out with (Dove) soap...

Unilever boss lays into Facebook and Google saying algorithms do not produce a squeaky clean enough environment for the Unilever brand


Link Here 17th February 2018
lynx scrum
  Lynx advert from Unilever

Since their ascendance in the 2000s, Google and Facebook have largely defined how ads and other corporate content would appear, where they would flow, and the metrics of online advertising success.

On Monday, one top advertiser, Unilever, went public with its criticism, calling social media little better than a swamp and threatening to pull ads from platforms that leave children unprotected, create social division, or promote anger or hate. That comes a year after Procter & Gamble adjusted its own ad strategy, voicing similar concerns. ,

Keith Weed, Unilever's chief marketing and communications officer, said in a speech Monday to internet advertisers.

Fake news, racism, sexism, terrorists spreading messages of hate, toxic content directed at children -- parts of the internet we have ended up with is a million miles from where we thought it would take us. This is a deep and systematic issue -- an issue of trust that fundamentally threatens to undermine the relationship between consumers and brands.

Jason Kint, chief executive of Digital Content Next, a trade group that represents many big entertainment and news organizations added:

The technology, it appears, is actually allowing bad actors to amplify misinformation and garbage while at the same time squeezing out the economics of the companies that are actually accountable to consumer trust.

Update: Center Parcs outraged at the Daily Mail for its advert placement

17th February 2018. See  article from bbc.com

Center Parcs has announced it has stopped advertising in the Daily Mail. It took the decision after its advert appeared in an online article by columnist Richard Littlejohn that criticised diver Tom Daley and his husband David Lance Black, who are expecting a child . Littlejohn claimed children benefit most from being raised by a man and a woman.

Center Parcs was responding to a complaint from a person who tweeted:

My son so wants me to book at your parks, but how can I do that if you support homophobia?

Center Parcs responded:

We take where we advertise very seriously and have a number of steps to prevent our advertising from appearing alongside inappropriate content. We felt this placement was completely unacceptable and therefore ceased advertising with the Daily Mail with immediate effect.

 

  Stockholm goes shariah...

City council is set to ban anything sexy from outdoor advertising


Link Here 8th February 2018  full story: Sexist Advertising in Sweden...Sweden considers banning sexist advertising

stockholm council logoStockholm council is set to ban sexy outdoor advertising. Daniel Hellden, one of Stockholm's deputy mayors and a long-serving Green Party activist with a political and personal mission to:

Make sure women aren't made to feel uncomfortable by explicit or gender stereotyped advertising in public spaces. I know my daughters, they don't like it. They feel bad. We should not as a city be part of this sort of advertising. I have a responsibility to the citizens of Stockholm to ban this.

Hellden notes that  record immigration to the Swedish capital has fuelled a wider awareness of stereotyping and a need to avoid racist undertones in public spaces.

His efforts to stamp out discriminatory billboards, digital displays or information boards will come to a head later this month, when the City Council is expected to approve a ban on racist and sexist advertisements.

The censorship rules about what constitutes a sexist or racist advertisements will follow those set out by the country's very politically correct nationwide advertising censor, Reklamombudsmannen (RO). But whereas RO cannot issue sanctions to companies in breach of the guidelines, Stockholm's council will be able to order them to take down offensive billboards within 24 hours.

Inevitably the move has supporters and critics. The Swedish Women's Lobby recently labelled Sweden the worst in the Nordics when it comes to gender images, due to being the only country in the region lacking legislation against sexism and stereotyping in advertising.

But Stockholm's plans to try and step up efforts against discrimination have come under fire from The Association of Swedish Advertisers, which represents agencies and marketing professionals. Its chief executive, Anders Ericson, argues that despite complaints from what he describes as a really strong group of feminists, Sweden is already doing a really terrific job in self-regulation. He fears a ban will increase red tape and curb freedom of expression. 

 

  Widespread likes in the tens of thousands vs the widespread offence of 85...

Advert censor takes a cheap shot at a humorous Poundland advertising campaign


Link Here 7th February 2018
poundland pokerA series of posts on Poundland's Twitter and Facebook page, promoting the #ElfBehavingBad campaign, seen in December 2017:
  • a. An ad, posted on 11 December, featured an image of a toy elf and a bottle of De-Icer placed in front of a car windscreen which featured a drawing of a pair of breasts. The caption stated, Oh Elf, we know it's nippy outside but not that kind of nippy! #ElfBehavingBad.
  • b. An ad, posted on 12 December, featured an image of the toy elf in a sink filled with bubbles sitting with two female dolls, taking a selfie. The caption stated Rub-a-dub-dub, three in a tub. A night of 'Selfies and chill'. #ElfBehavingBad.
  • c. An ad, posted on 13 December, featured a moving graphic of the toy elf with a toothbrush placed between its legs whilst motioning back and forth. The caption stated, That's one way to scratch that itch. That's not Santa's toothbrush is it?!.
  • d. A tweet, posted on 15 December, featured an image of the toy elf holding a spherical shaped object and a Darth Vader toy holding a lightsaber. The caption stated, Buzz off Darth, my lightsaber is bigger than yours.
  • e. An ad, posted on 16 December, featured an image of the toy elf sitting on a toy donkey's back with the caption, Don't tell Rudolph I've found a new piece of ass.
  • f. An ad, posted on 18 December featured an image of the toy elf next to a drawing of a phallic-shaped tree with the caption, That's one very prickly Christmas tree.
  • g. An ad, posted on 19 December featured an image of the toy elf wearing a dark moustache holding an arrow that pointed towards it, which featured the text FREE moustache rides. The caption stated First come, first served.
  • h. An ad, posted on 20 December featured an image of a toy elf playing a game of cards with three unclothed dolls. The caption stated Joker, joker. I really want to poker.
  • i. An ad, posted on 21 December featured an image of the toy elf holding a tea bag between its legs with a female doll lying beneath it.

85 complainants challenged whether:

  1. The ads were offensive for their depiction of toy characters and other items which had been displayed in a sexualised manner; and
  2. The ads were unsuitable to be displayed in an untargeted medium where children could see them.Response

Poundland Ltd stated that their elf campaign was based on humour and double entendres.

They explained that while the nature of a double entendre was that they would not be understood by children. They also stated Twitter and Facebook had policies which prevented under-13s from creating accounts on their websites and Poundland had never sought to encourage anyone other than adults to follow Poundland on these social networks.

They provided an appendix, which contained highlights of comments they had received in support of the campaign and referenced results from a poll conducted on Twitter where 82% of a sample audience containing over 12,000 responders supported the campaign. The results were almost equally split between men and women. They provided information on the volume of interactions they had during the campaign, which included 33 million impressions in total, 4 million engagements -- including reactions, comments, retweets, shares and replies -- as well as 43,000 new followers with the most significant peak on the 21 December, when the campaign went viral. They stated a large number of people found the campaign to be humorous, engaging, and in line with what it meant to be British.

They stated they did not intend to offend anyone.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA understood the campaign was based on a toy elf, which resembled the popular children's Christmas tradition known as Elf on the Shelf, from the book of the same name. The elf was depicted in various scenarios where he was shown to be behaving in a mischievous manner, with some images captioned with the hashtag #ElfBehavingBad. The overall campaign was based around puns and double entendres, which included sexual references.

Poundland's Facebook and Twitter pages were not age-gated and could therefore be seen by anyone. Although we did not consider they were likely to be of particular interest or appeal to children, we did not consider those who were already following the pages would expect to see sexual or offensive content. We also noted the ads had been shared widely on social media and therefore would have been seen by a large number of people, including some children, who did not actively follow Poundland on social media.

The image and caption in ad (a) depicting a pair of breasts drawn on a car windscreen and ad (f) which featured the elf beside a sketch of a penis-shaped tree were obvious sexual references that were shown to be drawn by the toy elf. We considered ad (c)'s depiction of the elf thrusting a toothbrush between its legs to be interpreted as a sexual act. Ad (d)'s inclusion of the caption, my lightsaber is bigger than yours and the elf waving a vibrator were also obvious references to sexual acts.

We considered ad (b), which depicted the elf and two unclothed female dolls placed in a sink filled with bubbles and the caption, A night of 'Selfies and chill, to be a play on the term Netflix and chill, which was a widely known term implying sexual activity. We also noted ad (g), which featured an image of the toy elf wearing a dark moustache with the text FREE moustache rides, was an implied reference to oral sex. We considered ad (e), which featured the toy elf placed on the toy donkey's back with the caption, Don't tell Rudolph I've found a new piece of ass, was a pun of a sexual nature.

We considered the depiction of a child's toy in relation to such sexual references and acts in a medium which could also be accessed by children was irresponsible and likely to cause serious or widespread offence, therefore breaching the Code.

We further noted ad (h), which featured a group of unclothed dolls playing what appeared to be strip poker captioned with the phrase I really want to poker, was a sexual reference aimed towards the female dolls. We also considered ad (i), which featured the elf holding a tea bag between its legs with a female doll lying beneath it, was also a reference to a sexual act. Both ads (h) and (i) presented the female dolls in a manner which could be seen as demeaning to women. We considered these ads were irresponsible and likely to cause serious or widespread offence by depicting a child's toy in relation to such sexual acts, therefore breaching the Code.

We therefore concluded the ads, which depicted the toy figures in a sexualised manner and appeared in an untargeted medium where they could be seen by children, were irresponsible and were likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Poundland Ltd to ensure that their advertising was presented with a sense of responsibility and did not cause serious or widespread offence.

Poundland Response

See article from proudland.co.uk

elfie repsonse From his cell at Wormwood Scrubbers, Poundland's naughty elf issued this statement in response to the Advertising Standards Authority...

Britain's the home of saucy postcards, carry on films and panto, so I'm sad the ASA found my double entendres hard to swallow.

At least it's only 84 people who had a sense of humour failure compared to the tens of thousands who got the joke and liked and shared my posts online.

I'm doing everything I can to be good so I can get out on good behaviour later this year.

Love, Elfie x

 

  ASA's top 10 adverts for 2017...

As judged by amount of easily offended whingers that were wound up


Link Here 1st February 2018

Today we have unveiled the UK's top ten most complained about ads of 2017.

Among a total of 29,997 complaints received, today's Top 10 sets out the ads that provoked the greatest number of individual complaints. All the ads on 2017's list had one common thread -- they were all challenged on the grounds of offence.

kfc nothing but the chicken1. Kentucky Fried Chicken (Great Britain) Ltd 755 Complaints - Not upheld

This year, KFC's ad, featuring a chicken dancing to a rap soundtrack, received complaints that it was disrespectful to chickens and distressing for vegetarians, vegans and children and that it depicted a chicken who was heading for slaughter. We ruled it was unlikely that the ad would cause distress or serious or widespread offence as there were no explicit references to animal slaughter.

2. Moneysupermarket.com Ltd 455 Complaints - Not upheld

This Moneysupermarket.com ad campaign also featured in the ASA's Top Ten list for 2015 and 2016. Like many of the ads in the same campaign, 2017's ad re-featured the two #epicsquads -- the strutters and the builders -- and a new female character.

Many found the ad to be offensive on the grounds that it was overtly sexual and possibly homophobic. We thought the character's movements would generally be seen as dance moves and not in a sexual context. We also thought most viewers would recognise the ad's intended take on humour. We ruled it was unlikely to condone or encourage harmful discriminatory behaviour.

3. Unilever UK Ltd (Dove) 391 Complaints - Not investigated; ads removed

Dove produced a series of ads that contained statistics and opinions about breastfeeding in public. The ads were featured across magazines, social media, and Dove's own website. Many criticised the language, such as "put them away", as it might encourage criticism of breastfeeding. Some were also concerned that the ads might encourage neglecting crying babies. After listening to the public, Dove issued an apology and subsequently pulled the ads and amended their website.

4. Match.com International Ltd 293 Complaints - Not upheld

Match.com's ad, starring a lesbian couple kissing passionately, appears again in our list of most complained about ads. We received similar complaints last year, when it was number three on our list, about whether the ad was too sexually explicit for children to see. We ruled then that the ad did not cross the line. Over the two years, the ad has attracted almost 1,200 complaints.

5. McDonald's Restaurants Ltd 256 Complaints - Not investigated; ads removed

McDonald's produced a TV ad featuring a boy and his mother talking about his dead father. From the conversation, the boy became visibly upset as he found few similarities between him and the father that his mother described. Ultimately, he found comfort when she told him that both he and his father loved McDonald's Filet-O-Fish burger. The ad attracted criticism that it was trivialising grief, was likely to cause distress to those who have experienced a close family death and was distasteful to compare an emotive theme to a fast food promotion. The fast food chain issued an apology and pulled the ads.

6. RB UK Commercial Ltd (V.I.Poo) 207 complaints - Not upheld

A fictional Hollywood starlet shares her best kept secret on how to maintain good toilet etiquette -- by using the V.I.Poo spray, an air freshener. Many people found the discussion of going to the toilet unsavoury. We ruled that the ad was a light-hearted way of introducing the product and we didn't consider its reference to the "devil's dumplings" likely to break our rules on offence.

7. DSG Retail Ltd (Currys PC World) 131 Complaints - Not upheld

This was a TV ad about spending Christmas in front of the TV. The Currys PC World ad showed a set of parents telling their children that they would like to celebrate Christmas "traditionally" this year by sitting by the fire, singing carols and having long conversations. The mother then laughed at the visibly upset children and explained it was a joke. She led the family to the next room to show them a new Oleg TV that her employer, Currys PC World, had allowed her to bring home and test. Complainants believed the ad was offensive because it promoted materialism and equated Christmas with watching TV instead of Christianity.

We thought the ad was light-hearted and was meant to be humorous. We understood the allusions to consumerism might be perceived to be in bad taste by some, but considered it was unlikely to cause serious offence. The ad did not ridicule or denigrate Christians or Christianity, so was unlikely to offend on those grounds.

8. Telefonica Ltd (O2) 125 Complaints - Not upheld

O2's ad about free screen replacements stirred complaints when it featured two men kissing and breaking one of the couple's phone screens when he was pressed onto a table by the other man. Many felt the scene was too sexually explicit and scheduled inappropriately at times when children were likely to be watching. Some also felt the portrayal of a same-sex relationship was offensive to their religious beliefs.

We noted that the scene in question was brief and did not contain any graphic or overly sexual imagery. We ruled that it did not require a scheduling restriction and the depiction of a gay couple would not cause serious or widespread offence.

9. Macmillan Cancer Support 116 Complaints - Not upheld

A TV ad for Macmillan Cancer Support included fast-moving scenes of a father talking to his daughter, receiving chemotherapy, vomiting in a sink, sitting slumped in a bath, and crying in a car before being comforted by a nurse. People complained that the imagery was overly graphic and distressing to viewers. Though we understood some of the scenes, particularly the one in which the man vomited, were distressing to some viewers, we believed they served to illustrate the reality of living with cancer. The storyline of the ad and the service that Macmillan Cancer Support was advertising provided context. We believed it addressed the serious nature of the illness appropriately. Furthermore, scheduling restrictions meant it wouldn't be shown around children's programmes.

10. Mars Chocolate UK Ltd (Maltesers) 92 Complaints - Not upheld

And finally, Maltesers appears in ASA's top 10 list for a second year.

Many continued to find the featured woman, who described having a spasm during a romantic encounter with her boyfriend, to be offensive and overly sexual. Some also felt it was offensive to portray the woman, who was in a wheelchair, in this manner.

The ad had already been given a post-9pm scheduling restriction, which we considered sufficient as most viewers are aware that advertising content after 9pm might include more adult themes. In instances when the ad was seen earlier in the day, the ad was seen around adult-themed programmes, such as Made in Chelsea and The Inbetweeners , and was unlikely to be considered to have been inappropriately scheduled.

We found the women's conversation to be light-hearted and didn't think the allusion to the woman's romantic encounter would cause serious or widespread offence. On the matter of portraying the woman in a wheelchair in this manner, we believed the ad was championing diversity and did not think that it denigrated or degraded those with disabilities.

 

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