a. The poster, seen at bus stops and other locations during September 2019, featured the phrase WHAT THE CLUCK?! £1.99 FILL UP LUNCH alongside an image of food items on a menu.
b. The press ads seen in the Metro and the Sun also during September 2019 were the same as the poster except one featured the elongated word cluuuuuck.
1. All of the
complainants, who believed the word cluck had been substituted in place of an expletive, challenged whether ads (a) and (b) were offensive.
2. Many of the complainants also challenged whether ads (a) and (b) were appropriate for
display where they could be seen by children.
KFC said the word cluck was used as an onomatopoeic reference to the noise of a chicken, which was in context and wholly relevant to the deal,
the product featured and the brand.
ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld
The ASA understood that the use of the word cluck was a reference to the sound a chicken made and that that was relevant to the
product being advertised. We also acknowledged that the ad did not contain the expletive fuck. We recognised that there were several variations of the what the expression, all commonly used to denote surprise or outrage, and not all of which finished
with an expletive. The chicken sound effect used to complete the expression in the radio and TV ads in the campaign did not therefore directly substitute for an expletive. However, the written word cluck was used in the poster and press ads and we
considered people would interpret that as alluding specifically to the expression, what the fuck. We did not consider that this connection would be removed because an elongated spelling of the word cluck was used in ad (b).
considered that fuck was a word so likely to offend that it should not generally be used or alluded to in advertising, regardless of whether the ad was featured in a newspaper which had an adult target audience. We also considered it likely that parents
may want their children to avoid the word, or obvious allusions to it. The poster was likely to be seen by people of all ages and while we recognised that the press ads would have a primarily adult audience, they could still be seen by children. For
those reasons we concluded that the allusion to the word fuck in ads with a general adult audience was likely to cause serious and widespread offence, and that it was irresponsible for them to appear where children could see them.
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We KFC to avoid in future alluding to expletives that were so likely to offend.
Global consumer giants Kraft Heinz and Unilever have come under fire for advertising on the world's massively popular porno website, Pornhub.
Both companies launched huge advertising campaigns on Pornhub in the last year.
Unilever, which makes
Dove soap, Marmite and Hellmann's mayonnaise, ran a campaign for it's grooming company Dollar Shave Club which sends members razors in the post. It joked that Pornhub viewers won't need to visit the site so often if the use the advertiser's grooming
The company reportedly spends roughly £6billion a year on marketing and Dollar Shave Club's creative director, Matt Knapp, said the company chose to advertise on the porn site because it has guys backs'.
Yesterday Unilever vowed
it would never advertise on the site again after miserable PC campaigners questioned the company.
Meanwhile spokesman for Kraft Heinz played down the significance of its activity on Pornhub, but did not explicitly say it would not advertise on the
site again. He said:
The Devour frozen-food brand, which is only sold in the US, had a one-day promotion solely as part of the brand's Super Bowl activation. The brand was explicitly talking about #Foodporn, which has
become a cultural phenomenon on Instagram.
Pornhub has 110million daily visits and is the most popular pornography site in the UK. It is surely an attractive site for advertisers who are targeting campaigns toward men.
A marketing email from Boohoo, received on 15 July 2019, featured the subject heading Send Nudes. The body of the email contained a photo of a female model wearing a beige jacket with the words Send nudes. Set the tone with new season hues written across
A complainant challenged whether the reference to send nudes was socially irresponsible.
Boohoo.com UK Ltd said that their use of the word nude was solely to describe the colour resembling that
of the wearer's skin. They said they targeted their customers by sending them the latest fashion trends, including the trend for nude colours. They said that the word was widely used by other retailers in relation to apparel. The Boohoo brand targeted
any individual under 16 years of age.
ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld
The ASA acknowledged that the term nude was commonly described to refer to colours that were similar to some people's skin tones. At
the same time, the phrase send nudes was likely to be understood as referring to requests for sexual photos, which could be a form of sexual harassment. We noted that increased pressure to share such photos had been linked to negative outcomes for young
people. Boohoo's target market was aged 16 to 24. We noted that the ad had only been sent to those who self-declared that they were over 18, but online age was often misreported, and we had not been provided with details of any further steps Boohoo had
taken to reduce the likelihood of under-18s being targeted with the ad. Given the general price point of Boohoo's clothing and the age of the target market, there was also likely to be some overlap with even younger teenagers who aspired to looks
associated with a slightly older age group. While the ad played on a well-known phrase to highlight a fashion trend, we considered the specific reference chosen had the effect of making light of a potentially harmful social trend. Furthermore, in the
subject heading of an email, without any further context, the phrase send nudes was likely to be disconcerting for some recipients, particularly those who might have personal experience of being asked to send nudes.
In the context
of an ad aimed at a relatively young audience who were more likely to be harmfully affected by pressure to share sexual images of themselves, we considered that the reference to send nudes was socially irresponsible and breached the Code.
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Boohoo.com UK Ltd to ensure their ads were socially responsible.
A TV ad for the Volkswagen eGolf, seen on 14 June 2019, opened with a shot of a woman and a man in a tent. The woman was asleep and the man switched off the light and closed the tent, which was shown to be fixed to a sheer cliff face. The following
scene depicted two male astronauts floating in a space ship. Text stated When we learn to adapt. The next scene showed a male para-athlete with a prosthetic leg doing the long jump. Text stated we can achieve anything. The final scene showed a woman
sitting on a bench next to a pram. A Volkswagen eGolf passed by quietly. The woman was shown looking up from her book. Text stated The Golf is electric. The 100% electric eGolf. Issue
Three complainants, who believed that the ad
perpetuated harmful gender stereotypes by showing men engaged in adventurous activities in contrast to a woman in a care-giving role, challenged whether it breached the Code.
ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld
The first scene of the ad showed both a man and a woman in a tent, panning out to show that it was fixed to the side of a cliff and therefore implying that they had both climbed up the steep rock face. However, the woman was shown
sleeping, by contrast with the man in the scene. Furthermore, due to the short duration of the shot and its focus on the movement of the man, it was likely that many viewers would not pick up on the fact that it featured a woman, as was the case with the
The ad then showed two male astronauts carrying out tasks in space and a male para-athlete doing the long jump. We considered that viewers would be likely to see the activities depicted as extraordinary and
adventurous -- scientific and career-based in the case of the astronauts and physical in the case of the athlete. That impression was reinforced by the claim When we learn to adapt, we can achieve anything. While we noted that a third astronaut
appeared in the background, the image was very brief and not prominent. We considered that many viewers would not notice the presence of a third person, and if they did, the image was insufficiently clear to distinguish their gender.
The first two scenes both more prominently featured male characters. While the majority of the ad was focussed on a theme of adapting to difficult circumstances and achievement, the final scene showed a woman sitting on a bench and
reading, with a pram by her side. We acknowledged that becoming a parent was a life changing experience that required significant adaptation, but taking care of children was a role that was stereotypically associated with women.
In context, the final scene (the only one that featured the product) gave the impression that the scenario had been used to illustrate the adaptation and resulting characteristic of the car -- so quiet that it did not wake the baby or register with the mother -- rather than as a further representation of achievement, particularly as the setting was relatively mundane compared to the other scenarios.
Taking into account the overall impression of the ad, we considered that viewers were likely to focus on the occupations of the characters featured in the ad and observe a direct contrast between how the male and female characters
were depicted. By juxtaposing images of men in extraordinary environments and carrying out adventurous activities with women who appeared passive or engaged in a stereotypical care-giving role, we considered that the ad directly contrasted stereotypical
male and female roles and characteristics in a manner that gave the impression that they were exclusively associated with one gender.
We concluded that the ad presented gender stereotypes in way that was likely to cause harm and
therefore breached the Code.
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Volkswagen Group UK Ltd to ensure their advertising did not present gender stereotypes in a way that was likely to cause harm,
including by directly contrasting male and female roles and characteristics in a way that implied they were uniquely associated with one gender.
Offsite Comment: Stereotypically Stupid: The ASA's Latest Slice Of Lunacy
A TV ad and video on demand (VOD) ad for the soft cheese, Philadelphia:
a. The TV ad, seen on 14 June 2019, featured a woman passing a baby to a man who then held the baby in his arms. Another man appeared carrying a baby in a
car seat. The first man said New dad, too? and the second man nodded. The scene was revealed to be a restaurant with a conveyor belt serving buffet food. The men chatted, saying Wow, look at this lunch, Yeah, hard to choose and This looks good, whilst a
sitting baby and a car seat were seen on the moving conveyor belt, as the men were distracted by selecting and eating their lunch. The first man then noticed his baby had gone around the conveyor belt, said errr and argh!, and moved across the room to
pick the baby up. The second man picked the baby in the car seat off of the conveyor belt, and one of the men said Let's not tell mum.
b. The VOD ad, seen on the ITV Hub, on 18 June 2019, featured the same content.
The complainants, who believed the ad perpetuated a harmful stereotype by suggesting that men were incapable of caring for children and would place them at risk as a result of their incompetence, challenged whether the ads were in
breach of the Code.
Rather than the ads depicting a harmful stereotype, Clearcast thought the ads depicted an example of a momentary lapse in concentration by somewhat overwhelmed and tired new parents which was quickly realized
and rectified. They did not think the ads showed the new fathers being unable to look after the babies properly because of their gender, but instead it was established early on that they were new dads and unused to dealing with young children. They did
not believe the ads were a representation of all fathers and did not believe it suggested that the fathers in the ads, or fathers more generally, were incapable of parenting.
ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld
The CAP and BCAP Code stated Advertisements must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence. The joint CAP and BCAP guidance said that ads may feature people undertaking
gender-stereotypical roles, but they should take care to avoid suggesting that stereotypical roles or characteristics were always uniquely associated with one gender. The guidance provided examples which were likely to be unacceptable, which included An
ad that depicts a man or a woman failing to achieve a task specifically because of their gender e.g. a man's inability to change nappies; a woman's inability to park a car.
We considered the scenario represented two new fathers in
sole charge of their children, who both became distracted when choosing their lunch and subsequently failed to notice when the children were carried away on a conveyor belt. We acknowledged the action was intended to be light-hearted and comical and
there was no sense that the children were in danger. We considered, however, that the men were portrayed as somewhat hapless and inattentive, which resulted in them being unable to care for the children effectively.
that the ad depicted new parents and could therefore be seen as a characterisation of new parents as inexperienced and learning how to adapt to parenthood. We also recognised that, regardless of their gender, it was common for parents to ask their
children (often jokingly) not to tell their other parent about something that had happened. However, in combination with the opening scene in which one of the babies was handed over by the mother to the father, and the final scene in which one of the
fathers said Let's not tell mum, we considered the ad relied on the stereotype that men were unable to care for children as well as women and implied that the fathers had failed to look after the children properly because of their gender.
We also considered that the narrative and humour in the ad derived from the use of the gender stereotype. We did not consider that the use of humour in the ad mitigated the effect of the harmful stereotype; indeed it was central to
it, because the humour derived from the audiences' familiarity with the gender stereotype being portrayed.
We therefore concluded that the ad perpetuated a harmful stereotype, namely that men were ineffective at childcare, and was
in breach of the Code.
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Mondelez Ltd to ensure their advertising did not perpetuate harmful gender stereotypes, including suggesting that stereotypical roles or
characteristics were always uniquely associated with one gender.
Wicked Campervans with humorous slogans that offend easily offended politicians would be banned from being registered in all states and territories of Australia, under a plan signed off at a national meeting of transport ministers.
Each state agreed
to deregister vans which refused to have humorous slogans taken down following a complaint, and then ensure the van could not simply be re-registered in another jurisdiction.
Queensland Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey has claimed Wicked is
exploiting a loophole by registering the vans in other states to get around the ban.
An advert for the Nottingham air conditioning company Not Just Cooling has been banned from local buses.
The ad was booked to appear on seven buses in the city but Adverta, which places adverts on buses and trams, blocked it and claimed it
could cause offence.
Lee Davies, who designed the ad, said it was a little bit of harmless fun.
PC Miserablist, Professor Carrie Paechter, director of the Nottingham Centre for Children, Young People and Families, said that the advert was
like something out of the 1950s and called for it to be banned. She whinged:
If I had young children, I wouldn't want them passing that on the way to school, because of the messages it gives them about society. The
subliminal message about society is that it's OK to comment on women's bodies, and comment on women's bodies as if they are the possession of someone else - 'your wife'.
It also gives the subliminal message that it's the man of
the house that's responsible for getting the air conditioning fixed.
I don't want to demonise the company or the company's owner ...BUT... it is a foolish advert and it needs to come down.
Standards Authority decided this advert was not offensive or irresponsible in 2015 - but PC rules have changed since then.
The ASA said it had not received any complaints about the advert in the latest fracas.
Less a story of moral panic and censorship wrapped up as a fight against gender stereotyping -- though it's definitely that too -- and more a prime example of how the BBC will manipulate news reports to fit their own agenda
Authorities on the Greek is land of Santorini have refused to allow an ad campaign that shows an exhausted donkey next to the words Donkeys Suffer for Tourists. Please Don't Ride Them to be run on local buses and taxis. The ads were intended to be
placed on vehicles across the island in time for the peak tourist season.
A local ad company representative explained that because many bus and taxi drivers also own donkeys who transport tourists up steep steps, the municipality of Santorini refused
to issue the necessary authorisation to run the ads.
A TV ad, video on demand (VOD) ad and a paid-for ad on Instagram for Macallan whisky, seen in December 2018:
a. The TV ad featured a man leaping off a cliff and tumbling towards the ground. As he fell, feathers started sprouting out of his arms and he began to grow wings. On-screen text stated Would you risk falling ... for the chance to
fly?. As he approached the ground he disappeared from view behind a mountainside and then reappeared after he had pulled out of the nosedive and started to fly upwards now that his wings were fully grown. An end-frame featured text stating The Macallan.
Make the call which was accompanied by an image of the whisky product in a glass.
b. The VOD ad, seen on the ITV hub, was a longer version of ad (a), but featured similar imagery and on-screen text. Unlike ad (a), that ad did
not feature an image of the whisky product.
c. The paid-for ad on Instagram featured a video that was identical to ad (b). Issue
Six complainants challenged whether the ads were irresponsible and linked alcohol with daring, toughness or irresponsible behaviour.
Edrington Distillers Ltd t/a Macallan explained that the line Make The Call
was used globally to describe the brand's philosophy. It was used in relation to the decisions that the brand had made in its own history, and was also relevant to the audience's decisions made in their own lives. They said the ads featured a fantastical
story about a man who took a big decision (i.e. made a call), found it difficult along the way, but was eventually rewarded. They believed the treatment of the story was mystical, almost mythical, and was clearly removed from the real world.
In relation to ad (a), Clearcast explained that they had considered the daring and toughness Code rule when clearing the ad, and had decided that the treatment was fantastical enough to be acceptable.
Assessment: Complaints upheld
The ASA noted that the opening scene in all versions of the ad featured the man running and jumping off a cliff, and considered that could be seen as being reminiscent of the extreme sport of
base-jumping. We noted that at that point in the ads, there was no suggestion that the male character had any super-human attributes or powers, or that he was part of a mythical world; we considered the scenery featured was a typical mountainous
landscape. We noted that in ads (b) and (c) the character was seen peering over the edge of the cliff and there was a close-up of him clenching his fists. We considered that gave the impression that he was nervous about jumping and was building up the
courage to do so. In that context, we considered that the act of jumping off the cliff was very dangerous, potentially fatal, and consisted of extreme risk-taking behaviour. That impression was compounded by the text Would you risk falling ... for the
chance to fly?.
Whilst we acknowledged that some elements of the ad were fantastical, such as the distance the man fell through the clouds, and the sprouting of wings which enabled him to fly away instead of hitting the ground, we
considered, nevertheless, that the central message of the ad, which was explicitly highlighted through the tagline Would you risk falling ... for the chance to fly?, was one of promoting risky or daring behaviour to reap possible rewards. Although the
character was not seen consuming alcohol at any point, we considered the ads made a clear association between an alcoholic product and potentially very dangerous, daring behaviour and concluded that they were irresponsible.
ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Edrington Distillers Ltd t/a Macallan to ensure in future their ads did not link alcohol with daring, toughness or irresponsible behaviour.
An amusing advert for AirAsia has wound up the easily offended in Australia. The advert containing the phrase Get off in Thailand was posted around the city of Brisbane to promote the airline's direct route to Bangkok.
Collective Shout, a feminist
campaign group claimed that the advert was promoting sex tourism in Thailand.
Melinda Liszewski, a campaigner at Collective Shout spotted the adverts on a Brisbane bus and posted the image to social media. She accused the airline of promoting sex
A spokeswoman for Air Asia told the BBC:
AirAsia takes community feedback extremely seriously and the airline sincerely apologises for any inconvenience caused from recent concerns raised.
AirAsia can confirm the advertising campaign has ended and we instructed our media partners to have the advertising removed as soon as possible today from all locations.
Brisbane City councillor Kara Cook branded
the campaign an absolute disgrace and said it should never have appeared on our city's streets.
Just before Christmas last year, one person complained that a South African TV commercial for Chicken Licken was offensive and the ad was duly banned.
The advert was quite witty and made for a good news story which was picked up by major newswire
services such as the Associated Press and AFP. News that SA's new regulator, the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) had deemed the ad offensive popped up in New Zealand, Australia, America, India, and the UK. In South Africa, of course, social media
homed in on the ad and it went ballistically viral.
So, if the ARB had thought about the implication of their ban and just ignored that one complaint the ad campaign would have run for a few more weeks and given the declining number of viewers who
actually watch commercial breaks on TV these days, perhaps a few hundred thousand viewers would have seen it. Instead, in South Africa alone the ad was viewed by millions of people. Quite possibly hundreds times more than would have seen the ad on
So, instead of protecting the sensitivities of those few people who might have found the ad offensive, banning it simply compounded the very problem the ARB was trying to solve.