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Stereotypically Woke...

ASA consults on political correctness rules for racial stereotyping in adverts

Link Here23rd June 2021

Call for evidence: racial and ethnic stereotyping in advertising

The death of George Floyd in 2020 and the global, high-profile reaction which followed brought to the forefront discussions about racial inequality. From its perspective as the UK advertising regulator, the ASA has been reflecting on what can be done to address factors that cause racial and ethnic minorities to experience disproportionately adverse outcomes in different aspects of their lives.

The ASA has a strong record of banning ads that are likely to cause serious or widespread offence on the grounds of race and ethnicity. As a proactive regulator, the ASA must ensure that we are aware of how societal values and prevailing standards are constantly evolving and what this means for our interpretation and application of the advertising rules.

We are now putting out a call for evidence to help us establish whether and, if so, to what extent racial and ethnic stereotypes, when featured in ads, may contribute to real world harms, for example, unequal outcomes for different racial and ethnic groups. In the context of the call for evidence, we're particularly interested in the following areas:

  • The depiction of race and ethnicity in advertising, including examples of racial and ethnic stereotypes.

  • How the issues of objectification and sexualisation relate to race or ethnicity in advertising.

  • How particular cultures, or racial and ethnic groups with particular religious affiliations, are portrayed in advertising.

  • The use of humour relating to race or ethnicity in advertising.

We recognise that evidence can take many forms. Stakeholders may choose to submit existing evidence, secondary analysis, bespoke research or examples. Both quantitative and qualitative evidence would be useful to us.

We are also interested in hearing from members of the public about how this type of advertising has affected them and we would welcome your own personal observations or views.



Miserable drinks censors...

ASA whinges about a clubbing event featuring excessive drinking

Link Here15th June 2021

UK Garage Brunch is a large scale lunchtime clubbing event featuring Garage music, buffet lunch and unlimited drinks that are included in the ticket price.

The ASA whinged about two posts on event promoter UKG Brunch's Facebook page:

a. The first post, seen on 16 March 2021, featured a video showing two young women who appeared to be inebriated walking then falling over on a pavement. A third woman was then shown falling into a bush. Superimposed text on the video stated LEAVING A BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH LIKE. A caption on the post stated We All Have A Friend Like Girl No.3! ... #UKGBrunch #DaytimeRaver #drinkresponsibly. The post also featured a link to buy tickets to UKG Brunch's events.

b. The second post, seen on 5 April 2021, featured a video of two women who appeared to be inebriated walking out of a building and then falling over on the pavement, with the UKG Brunch logo displayed. Superimposed text on the video stated CAUSUALLY LEAVING A BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH. A caption on the post stated It's The 3rd Girl At The End... The Countdown IS ON Until We Reopen...

The complainants challenged whether the ads were irresponsible because they encouraged excessive drinking.

UKG Brunch Ltd said the posts were intended to provide light hearted relief following a difficult year. They said the women shown in the videos were not associated with, and had not attended, UKG Brunch's events, and that both posts had featured the hashtag #drinkresponsibly. Since being notified of the complaints by the ASA they had amended the captions on both posts to state Drink Responsibly Guys!! (disclaimer: we don't condone irresponsible drinking) #drinkresponsibly.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The CAP Code stated that marketing communications must be socially responsible and must contain nothing that was likely to lead people to adopt styles of drinking that were unwise. For example, they should not encourage excessive drinking.

The ASA noted that neither of the videos featured alcohol or the consumption of alcohol. We acknowledged UKG Brunch's comments that the women shown in the videos were not associated with, and had not attended, their events. However, we considered that consumers would interpret the videos, when taken in combination with the superimposed text LEAVING A BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH LIKE206 and CASUALLY LEAVING A BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH, and links to where they could buy tickets to UKG Brunch's events, as an incitement to attend those events and drink excessively. Although we acknowledged that the posts were intended to provide light-hearted relief, we considered that they nonetheless encouraged excessive drinking by presenting binge drinking alcohol in a humorous light and by normalising and trivialising the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption.

While we acknowledged that UKG Brunch had amended the relevant posts to state Drink Responsibly Guys!! (disclaimer: we don't condone irresponsible drinking) #drinkresponsibly, we considered that caption did not override the message of the ad. Because we considered that the ads and the amended versions of the ads would be interpreted by consumers as encouraging excessive drinking, we concluded that they had breached the Code.

The ads must not appear again in the form complained about. We Told UKG Brunch Ltd to ensure that that their future marketing communications relating to alcohol were socially responsible and did not imply, condone or encourage excessive consumption of alcohol.



Offsite Article: How the ASA became the new morality police...

Link Here9th June 2021
The advertising regulator wants to impose its woke worldview on the public. By Len Shackleton

See article from



ASA role plays the high priestess of holier than thou...

The advert censor bans the interactive game Dream Zone for its politically incorrect jokey sexism

Link Here 21st May 2021

An in-game ad for the online game Dream Zone: Interactive Story , was seen on 4 January 2021 in the online property trading game, Landlord. It featured a cartoon video of a woman being splashed in her face with water by a faulty tap. On-screen text stated Turn it off. She bent down and looked into a cupboard under the sink and saw a leaking pipe. Behind her was a woman wearing a towel about to hand over a mobile phone. Two buttons were shown with the options Help her and Take advantage. A super-imposed cartoon hand selected the Take advantage button. The woman wearing the towel bit her lip and the video shot to the first woman's face. She displayed a startled expression and then smiled. Beneath the video, text stated Play and have fun You choose your destiny.

The app was described by SWAG MASHA in the Apple App store as a series of interactive stories for guys and a thrilling game for men.

A complainant, who believed the ad was sexually suggestive, challenged whether the ad:

  1. was irresponsible and offensive because it objectified women; and

  2. had been irresponsibly targeted.

Reality Games, the publisher of the game app in which the ad appeared, said that since they were notified of the complaint, they had blocked ads for the game Dream Zone: Interactive Story from being served.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

1. Upheld

The ad, which was for a dating and love simulation game for men, featured two women; one looking into a cupboard and the other behind her wearing a towel. Two options appeared on-screen for the woman standing up: to either help her or take advantage of the woman looking into the cupboard. We considered that the option to take advantage had sexual connotations and alluded to non-consensual sexual activity where the woman looking into the cupboard would be unaware of the second character's intentions. We considered that the ad objectified and stereotyped women by presenting them as objects in a scenario designed for the purposes of titillating viewers. Overall, we considered that the ad was likely to cause serious offence and included a gender stereotype in a way that was likely to cause harm. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and breached the Code.

2. Upheld

The ad was for a game that featured adult themes and sexually suggestive content, which was seen in an unrelated online property trading game. We considered that because this specific ad was irresponsible and likely to cause serious and widespread offence it was not suitable to be featured in any game. More generally, we expected Dream Zone to have targeted their ads for adult games to users aged 18 and over by using age-verification measures including interest-based targeting factors that described an adult audience and excluded a child audience. However, the ad was seen in a game that had an age rating of 4+ years and therefore could be downloaded by children. The Dream Zone game had an age rating of 17+ years but did not feature any verification measures that would prevent the game being downloaded by children who had seen the ad.

Furthermore, we considered that those playing an unrelated game would not expect to be served an ad for a dating game which featured adult content. We acknowledged that on receipt of the complaint the publisher of the game in which the ad was seen had taken measures to ensure that the ad would not be shown in the game. Nevertheless, Dream Zone were responsible for ensuring that their ads were correctly targeted and had not done so. We therefore concluded that the ad had been irresponsibly targeted.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Swag Masha LLC to ensure that their ads were socially responsible and did not cause serious or widespread offence by objectifying women. We told them to ensure that they did not present gender stereotypes in a way that was likely to cause harm and to ensure that their ads were responsibly targeted.



Unhealthy censorship...

ASA bans SportMax fashion advert claiming the model is too thin

Link Here6th May 2021

An ad for SportMax, a clothing retailer, seen in The Sunday Times Style magazine on 28 February 2021, featured a female model pictured from the side. The model was wearing a long sleeved ankle length black dress with boots. Issue

The complainants, who believed the model was unhealthily thin, challenged whether the ad was irresponsible.

Max Mara Fashion Group said they did not agree that the model was unhealthily thin or that the ad was irresponsible. They said the model was well known and chosen for her particular beauty and extraordinary aspect and that she featured regularly in fashion shows for many famous fashion houses. They said she took part in fashion shows in Paris where, since 2017, models who were unhealthily thin were not allowed on the runway.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA accepted that none of the model's flesh was visible. She was wearing a thin maxi length black dress which had long sleeves and she was posed in mid-step, looking down, with her arms hanging down by her side and her shoulder length hair partially obscuring her face. We noted that she was photographed from the side, which drew attention to the shape of her body and highlighted her very thin frame and the protrusion of her hip bone which was visible through the fabric. We also considered that the contrast of the ad's background lighting, which had a sepia tone, against the black dress, further accentuated the silhouette of her frame and the model's sombre facial expression and posture gave her a gaunt appearance. We therefore considered that she appeared unhealthily thin. For those reasons we considered that the model appeared underweight and therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible.

The ad must not appear again in its current form.

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