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19th March   

Pre-censorial Tension...

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US TV companies get wound up by the word 'vagina' in tampon advert
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kotex advert An advertising campaign for tampons is rejected by US television networks for daring to include the word vagina

For years, advertising for tampons and sanitary products have been shrouded in nebulous euphemism. So what happens when a US tampon-maker drops the coy messaging and goes straight for the jugular. Its ad gets banned by the major US television networks for mentioning the word vagina.

Even when the company substituted down there for vagina, two of the networks still wouldn't run the ad, so the company was forced to drop the idea altogether.

 

18th March   

Update: Heated Debate...

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ASA dismisses complaints about drowning puppy climate change advert
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Act on C02 advert A TV ad for the Government's Act On CO2 campaign showed a young girl being read a bedtime story by her father. Gentle, sorrowful music played throughout. The voice-over stated There was once a land where the weather was very very strange. There were awful heat waves in some parts and in others terrible storms and floods. Images in the storybook showed a cartoon horse, pig, sheep and other animals staring in dismay at a dried up river bed and a cartoon rabbit crying at the sight of it. The voice-over continued Scientists said it was being caused by too much CO2, which went up into the sky when the grown-ups used energy. The storybook showed black smoke rising up from an urban scene, from cars on the road and people's houses, and forming a cloud of CO2 in the shape of a monster in the sky. The camera panned to the father and daughter reading the story together. The voice-over continued They said the CO2 was getting dangerous, its effects were happening faster than they had thought. Some places could even disappear under the sea and it was the children of the land who would have to live with the horrible consequences. The storybook showed a flooded town with people clinging to the roofs of buildings and cars in the rain and a cartoon cat floating on an upturned table and a dog sinking under the water. The voice-over continued The grown-ups realised they had to do something. They discovered that over 40% of the CO2 was coming from ordinary every day things like keeping houses warm and driving cars, which meant if they made less CO2 maybe they could save the land for the children. A child in the picture book switched off a light in her house. The little girl turned to her father and asked Is there a happy ending? A voice-over stated It's up to us how the story ends. See what you can do. Search online for Act on CO2 .

Many viewers complained that (amongst other more political issues) that

  • the theme and content of the ad, for example the dog drowning in the storybook and the depiction of the young girl to whom the story was being read, could be distressing for children who saw it
     
  • the ad should not have been shown when children were likely to be watching television;

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA acknowledged that some complainants were concerned that their children or grandchildren had been upset or worried by the ad. However, we also noted the ad had been given an ex-kids restriction by Clearcast, which meant that it should not be broadcast in or around programmes specifically made for children and should, as a consequence, avoid younger children watching television on their own.

We acknowledged that the subject of climate change was routinely taught in schools and was already a matter of public discussion amongst all age groups, and considered that the animated storybook imagery in the ad was likely to indicate to adults and children alike that this was a narrative about what could happen rather than what would happen.

We considered that, whilst the ad might be alarming for some young people who saw it, the storybook presentation, which featured line-drawn animals and showed the story being read by an adult, was likely to ameliorate that.

We concluded that, when shown in the context of the timing restriction applied by Clearcast, the ad was unlikely to cause harm or undue distress to children.

 

17th March   

Socially Correct...

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CAP/BCAP update their advertising rules with more child protection, social responsibility and taste-decency censorship
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CAP logo The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) have launched new UK Advertising Codes, following a comprehensive review and a full public consultation.

Consumer protection and social responsibility have been maintained at the heart of the Advertising Codes to ensure that all ads are legal, decent, honest and truthful. Key changes include:

  • The creation of a single Broadcast Code for TV and radio in place of the existing four – making it more user-friendly, clearer and joined-up.
  • An over-arching social responsibility rule for TV and radio that will afford greater protection to consumers.
  • Further commitment to protecting children:
  • A new scheduling rule for TV and radio keeps ads for age-restricted video games away from children's programming.
  • Strengthened data protection rules for children, prevent marketers collecting data from U12s without parental consent.
  • A new section in the Broadcast Code on environmental claims to provide greater clarity for advertisers and the public.
  • Relaxation of the TV scheduling restriction on condom advertising. They can now appear pre-watershed but must be kept away from the youngest viewers (U10s). Ads must also comply with the strict rules on taste and decency and socially responsible advertising.

This was the first ever concurrent review of all the Advertising Codes in nearly fifty years of their history. The thorough process involved assessing more than 400 pieces of legislation and 30,000 consultation responses. Participants included a wide range of stakeholders such as Government, parents and children's groups, consumer protection bodies, regulators, charities and religious organisations, as well as the industry. The responses helped shape CAP and BCAP's views and the final Advertising Codes.

The new Codes will come into force on 1 September 2010, allowing advertisers nearly six months to familiarise themselves with the changes and ensure campaigns comply with the new rules. CAP and BCAP are also providing a comprehensive range of training and advice resources for all those involved in commissioning, producing or publishing ads to help make sure they comply with the rules.

 

17th March   

Protection For, Of, and Against Children...

Catholic bishops whinge at pre-watershed condom adverts on TV
Link Here

cbcew logo The advertising censors are to allow condoms to be advertised on daytime TV in defiance of church nonsense that it will encourage under-age sex. A new code will permit condoms to be promoted before the 9pm watershed around any programme, providing it is not designed for children under ten.

The move follows claims from the Government's Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV that greater access to condoms is necessary to reduce the levels of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.

But bishops and family campaigners say it will normalise the idea of children under 16 having sex. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales said: It is profoundly inappropriate to advertise condoms to children. Promoting the use of condoms cannot be separated from promoting sex, and the sexualisation of the target audience, which will be extended to children from ten to 16.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said: Government sexual health strategies including public health advertising in recent years have amounted to pouring petrol on a fire. Every public health message has contributed to a worsening of the problem and allowing unrestricted advertising of condoms is likely to do the same.

The new UK Advertising Code, announced yesterday, also puts the TV industry at odds with church leaders on both pornography and gambling. It will allow pornographic films and magazines to be advertised on subscription adult TV channels.

Proposals to allow commercial abortion clinics to advertise their services on TV and radio have been delayed. It is not clear if they will be pursued.

 

14th March   

Localised Advertising...

Adverts for legal brothels not allowed where brothels are illegal
Link Here

Shady Lady sign A federal appeals court upheld a Nevada law that bars legal brothels that operate in some of the state's rural areas from advertising by newspaper, leaflets and billboards in Las Vegas, Reno and other places where prostitution is illegal.

The laws had been challenged by the ACLU, a Nye County brothel called the Shady Lady Ranch and two newspapers: the High Desert Advocate and Las Vegas City Life.

The 9th Circuit panel reversed a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge James Mahan in Nevada that two 1979 state laws prohibiting brothel advertising in counties where prostitution is illegal were overly broad and unconstitutional.

The 9th Circuit noted in its ruling that Nevada was unique among states because it has a nuanced boundary, rather than total criminalization of prostitution. But the state still seeks to confine the sale of sex acts through licensing and advertising restrictions, the judges said. The Nevada laws appropriately limited commercial speech, the 9th Circuit said. We conclude that the interest in preventing the commodification of sex is substantial.

ACLU attorney Allen Lichtenstein said he didn't immediately know whether he'd seek a hearing before the full 9th Circuit or would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case: The key issue is freedom of speech, It's a violation of the First Amendment for the state to restrict advertising by a legal industry, and it's wrong for a court to make exceptions because the state doesn't want to have it advertised that legalized prostitution exists.

 

13th March   

They're So Big!...

Politically correct feminist whinges at bra adverts
Link Here

Puritans Erotic underwear advertisements should be banned from London buses to protect children from being bombarded with sexual images, a Conservative MP has said.

Nadine Dorries tabled a 10-minute-rule Bill in the House of Commons which seeks to place restrictions on images of partial nudity in advertising.

The MP for Mid Bedfordshire drew attention to a recent Armani advertising campaign on buses in the capital which featured images of Megan Fox, the film star, in scant lingerie.

The 14ft billboard space on London's double-decker buses has been used to promote underwear ranges in recent months.

Dorries said it was the sheer size of the posters that most offended her. You can't help but see these. On the Armani ads you can barely see the name of the company, she said.

Everyone knows I'm not a politically correct feminist ...BUT... this is part of a wider trend towards the objectification of women.

Her Bill also calls for lads' mags such as Nuts and Zoo , which contain semi-nude photographs of women, to be removed from the lower shelves in newsagents to put them out of the reach of children. It will be introduced formally to Parliament on March 31.

 

28th February   

Crazy Advert Censors...

Australian advert censor has a whinge at Pamela Anderson in a bikini
Link Here

Crazy Domains ad with Pamela Anderson A TV advert featuring Pamela Anderson in a gold bikini rubbing against another scantily clad woman while being sprayed with milk has crossed the line in bad taste and been banned from Australian television.

But the advertiser, Crazy Domains, a business that registers internet domain names, is fighting the decision. A spokesman for the Perth company said the ad was no worse than some music video clips.

The Advertising Standards Bureau upheld a complaint about the ad, after receiving more than 40 submissions, stating it went too far in objectifying women. It's meant to be a cheeky, over-the-top depiction but in the bureau's view it did cross the line, bureau chief executive Fiona Jolly said.

Crazy Domains managing director Gavin Collins said the ad was tongue in cheek and blamed feminist bloggers for stirring up complaints. He asked for a review of the decision. This decision makes no sense and is completely un-Australian – we're certainly not going to take this lying down, Collins said. Have you seen Video Hits on a Saturday morning? There are much more graphic and sexually explicit images on that show every week ... during a morning timeslot.

Jolly said the ASB was conducting research about the issue of sexualised imagery of women: That's an area where there seems to be more complaints coming.

 

27th February   

Advertising their Intentions...

ASA to extend their advert censorship remit to online commercial websites imminently
Link Here

ASA logoThe UK government through psychologist, Dr Linda Papadopoulos reported that it supports the ASA in taking steps to extend existing standards to include commercial websites .

An ASA spokesman said that the industry body shares many of the concerns expressed in the review in general, and added that steps were already well-advanced to address its online remit in particular.

The industry is in very advanced stages at tackling concerns surrounding the online regulatory gap by extending the ASA's remit online and we welcome that, he said: The concerns are being addressed by the Advertising Association and, although no date has been set, changes are imminent. Everything is changing so incredibly quickly it is important we keep on top of the industry requirements. The remit extension to include online will help do that.

 

26th February   

Update: Cruelty to Tigers...

Peta have a bit of fun at the expense of Tiger Woods
Link Here  full story: Peta...Animal activists challenging the media

Tiger Woods Peta adThough Tiger Woods has lost many of his lucrative endorsement deals since his widely publicized cheating scandal, there's one ad the pro golfer may not care to be a part of.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is looking for a local advertiser in Woods' neighborhood of Windermere, Florida to erect a billboard that will feature his image, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

PETA's ad will reportedly include the message, Too much sex can be a bad thing … for little tigers too. Help keep cats (and dogs) out of trouble: Always spay and neuter!

Though it may be difficult to find an advertiser willing to post the billboard, Virginia Fort, a campaigner for the animal rights organization, says the ad isn't intended to offend the golfer: It's a fun, tongue-in-cheek approach. We hope these billboard companies will understand .

As it turns out, Woods isn't too amused by the organization's new campaign. According to TMZ.com, PETA may pull their plans to post the ad, explaining, In light of conversations we have had with Mr. Woods' attorneys, plans to run our billboard are on hold at this time.

 

24th February   

Slave to Political Correctness...

No smoking advert grabs attention in France
Link Here

Slave to smoking advert A campaign to discourage young people from smoking shows male and female teenagers kneeling in front of a man, as if being forced to have oral sex. A cigarette takes the place of the man's sexual organ. The caption reads: Smoking is to be a slave to tobacco.

The campaign, which was devised for a pressure group supporting the rights of non-smokers, has been attacked as scandalous and potentially counter-productive by feminist and pro-family campaigners.

Marco de la Fuente, the leader of the project for the BDDP et Fils ad agency, said: The old arguments – tobacco is bad for you – don't work any more. The message here is that tobacco is a form of submission. In the popular imagination, oral sex is the perfect symbol of submission.

Gérard Audureau, the president of Les Droits des Non-fumeurs (The Rights of Non-smokers), the pressure group which commissioned the ads, said health arguments did not reach teenagers. Young people think that they are invincible, immortal, he said. Fear of sexual exploitation worries them more than illness.

Opposition to the ads – to be shown in bars, clubs and newspapers – has been widespread. Florence Montreynaud, of the feminist pressure group Chiennes de Garde (Guard Bitches), said that it was inadmissible that an image implying underage sex should be exploited, even in a good cause.

Christiane Terry, of the conservative group Familles de France, said she will lodge a complaint with the French advertising standards watchdog. Mixing up tobacco dependence and sex is ridiculous and scandalous, she said.

The non-smokers' rights group says it does not care if adults are shocked by its posters. Audureau said: Very few anti-smoking campaigns catch the attention of the young. You have to use extreme images to make them take notice.

 

21st February   

Suicidal Sausage...

ASA turn down complaint about Peperami competition advert
Link Here

Peperami assisted suicide advertAn internet banner ad, for Peperami salami, appeared on Brand Republic's website and stated $10 000 TO KILL ME IN THE MOST CREATIVE WAY . A cartoon Peperami was shown holding a sign that stated ASSISTED SUICIDE .  

A complainant objected that the ad was likely to cause distress and serious offence, in particular to those who had related personal experiences, in light of recent public debates about assisted suicide.

Unilever said the ad appeared in media specific to the ad industry, which was selected to ensure the ad reached a highly creative audience, rather than the general public, in the hope that many would take up the creative challenge. They acknowledged the ad would have been seen by a wide range of people and a small number might be offended but believed it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence. They believed visitors to the Brand Republic website were likely to be aware of the history of Peperami advertising and the Peperami Animals sadistic tendencies and would understand the humorous tone of the ad as well as the deliberate and topical play on words. Unilever said, although it was a sensitive matter, they felt the reference to assisted suicide was justified in the context.

ASA Decision: Not upheld

The ASA acknowledged that assisted suicide was a sensitive issue and was distressing for those affected by it. We noted the ad was targeted specifically at those who might want to enter the competition and considered most members of the public who saw it would understand that the ad used a play on words intended to refer to the competition, and its brief. We considered viewers were likely to find the concept of assisting the suicide of an item of food ridiculous rather than offensive or distressing. We noted some might find the ad distasteful but concluded it was unlikely to cause distress or serious or widespread offence.

 

20th February   

Fragrant Whinges...

ASA dismiss complaints about scent advert
Link Here

212 Men TV advert A TV ad, for a men's fragrance, showed a man and a woman in an apartment. The couple were shown in a state of undress and were gazing at each other and embracing on a bed. The voice-over stated 212. 212 Men. Carolina Ferrera, New York . The ad was given an ex-kids scheduling restriction by Clearcast. Issue

Three viewers challenged whether the ad was offensive and inappropriate for broadcast before 9pm when children might be watching.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA acknowledged that the ad featured a number of sequences showing a couple embracing and looking into one another's eyes and that the ad had a mild sexual overtone. Although we noted the couple were naked from the waist up, we considered that the majority of sequences in the ad focused on head shots and images of the couple looking into each others eyes which were suggestive but not sexually explicit.

We agreed with Puig and Clearcast that an ex-kids restriction, which prevented the ad from being broadcast in or around children's programming, was sufficient for the ad's content. Although we understood the ad may have been distasteful to some, we concluded it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to most adult viewers or cause distress to children who might see it.

 

19th February   

Who's a Stinky Stupid, Baby, Bedwetter?...

ASA allow advert citing medical context
Link Here

bedwetter adA moving internet banner ad on the British Medical Journal Learning website showed a young boy looking miserable next to the headline WHO'S A STINKY, STUPID, BABY BEDWETTER? The next frame showed the young boy smiling next to text which stated MELT AWAY THE MISERY OF BEDWETTING WITH DESMOMELT .

The complainant, a doctor, objected that the ad was offensive and demeaning to patients who suffered from this condition.

ASA Decision: Not upheld

The ASA understood the BMJ front page could be accessed online by anyone and that it contained a link to the BMJ Learning site. We understood that the ad appeared on the front page of the BMJ Learning site, which was open to unregistered users. However, we accepted that the ad was aimed at medical professionals and that the BMJ Learning Site was designed for and aimed at that audience.

Whilst we acknowledged that the headline WHO'S A STINKY, STUPID, BABY BEDWETTER? could be shocking, we considered that it was intended to elicit sympathy for the child depicted, by referring to the taunts they might receive from others. We understood the ad was intended to highlight the product to medical professionals as a potential prescription product which could help alleviate bedwetting. Whilst we accepted the ad might be distressing to some readers who saw it, we concluded it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence in the professional medical contexts in which it was presented.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code 5.1 (Decency: offence) but did not find it in breach.

 

18th February   

Sh*t Censors...

ASA whinge at poster for The Descent Part 2
Link Here

Descent Part 2 DVD A poster for the horror film The Descent Part 2 featured an image of a screaming girl's face covered in blood with what appeared to be bloody scratches down it. Behind her, emerging from a red glow, was a monster with his mouth open, baring his teeth. Text from a review at the bottom of the ad stated THE FEEL SH*T SCARED FILM OF THE DECADE .

Eighteen complainants challenged whether the language and imagery used in the ad was offensive and whether the imagery could cause fear or distress, and was therefore appropriate for public display where children might see it.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA noted that the poster had not been targeted to reach a particular audience, but had appeared in places that were easily visible to all, including children. We noted that the text THE FEEL SH*T SCARED FILM OF THE DECADE was prominent and, although asterisked, we considered the meaning and intention of the word SH*T was clear. We recognised that it was therefore difficult for parents who wanted to ensure that children were not exposed to swearing to avoid it, and we considered that the use of SH*T on this poster, that could be seen by children, was likely to be considered unacceptable. We further considered that it was likely to cause serious offence to some readers who would not expect such language in an untargeted medium.

We also considered that the image of the screaming girl, covered in blood and scratches, with the monster behind her was an aggressive and threatening image. Although we considered that that image was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence, we did consider that it could cause distress to younger children. We therefore concluded that, in the context of an untargeted medium where it could be seen by a general audience including children, the poster was unacceptable.

 

12th February   

Updated: Go to Hell!...

CBS refuses version of TV advert for Dante's Inferno game
Link Here

Electronic Arts Dantes Inferno PS3 A Super Bowl advertisement for Electronic Arts' Dante's Inferno game has fallen victim to CBS censors.

An original version of the ad had utilized the tagline Go to Hell, but that phrase was deemed to over the top for viewers of this Sunday's big game and CBS rejected it. The Hollywood Reporter blog reports that EA will instead substitute the more sedate tagline Hell Awaits instead.

Update: Hell Banned

12th February. See article from gameslatest.com

Dante's Inferno is not being released in the Middle East. In a move that surprised absolutely no one, EA states that, Electronic Arts has decided not to release Dante's Inferno in the Middle East after an evaluation process which is based on consumer tastes, preferences, platform mix and other factors.

After first setting our eyes on Dante's Inferno last year, it seemed like one of those titles that might never hit the retail shelves in UAE. Dealing with the afterlife, the game focuses on Hell and its 9 circles of sinners within. Such a premise itself is a very touchy topic within the region, one of the reasons why we think Darksiders got banned here.

In fact, this region is so sensitive to such topics that God of War is also banned over here just because it has the word God in the title, despite being based on Greek mythology!

 

8th February   

Big Drips at London Underground...

Massive Attack album art banned by London Underground
Link Here  full story: Transport for London Censors...Advert censorship

Heligoland Massive Attack The band Massive Attack have been banned from advertising their new album Heligoland on the London Underground because it looked like graffiti.

Robert 3D Del Naja who had to redesign his artwork for stations, said: They won't allow anything on the Tube that looks like street art.

They want us to remove all drips and fuzz. It's the most absurd censorship I've ever seen.

 

6th February   

Update: Shock Tactics...

Advert censor finds Baby P related PETA advert offensive
Link Here  full story: Peta...Animal activists challenging the media

PETA advertA poster, for an animal rights campaign group, featured a picture of Steven Barker. Text next to the picture stated Steven Barker: Animal Abuser, Baby Abuser, Rapist. PEOPLE WHO ARE VIOLENT TOWARDS ANIMALS RARELY STOP THERE . Further text underneath stated Report cruelty to animals immediately PeTA . Issue

A complainant challenged whether:

  1. the ad was offensive and distressing, used unnecessary shock tactics and exploited the death of Baby P
  2. the ad, which was also located in the area where Baby P lived and died, was particularly offensive and distressing to residents of that area.

ASA Assessment:   Upheld

The ASA noted PETA's argument that the purpose of the ad was to inform the public to report animal cruelty in order to prevent future acts of violence towards humans. We considered, however, that advertisers who wished to refer to current or emotive news stories in their marketing should take particular care over how such stories were used, in order to avoid accusations of exploitation or shock tactics. We also considered that they should not cause fear or distress without good reason.

We noted that, although Baby P died in August 2007, his death was a high-profile, emotive case which continued to get extensive press coverage. We acknowledged that some people might therefore find the reference to the Baby P case in the poster exploitative. We considered that the claim and image used in the ad had been used in a shocking way merely to attract attention and that the reason did not justify the means in this case. We therefore also considered that the ad was likely to cause serious offence and distress to some people.

Furthermore, we noted that the poster had appeared in the area where Baby P had lived and died. We considered that the ad was likely to be particularly sensitive for residents of that area, and was likely to cause serious offence and distress to some residents.

We therefore concluded that the ad was in breach of the Code.

 

5th February   

Update: Prudes Ban Sexpo Poster...

Easily offended in Australia
Link Here  full story: Sexpo Adverts...Whinging at adverts for sex shops and expos

Sexpo advertA billboard west of Brisbane, which features a bikini clad actress, has been slammed as inappropriate and too rude by the local council.

The billboard advertises Brisbane's 2010 Sexpo event next month.

Ipswich Councillor Trevor Nardi said the billboard was not only a distraction for drivers but too sexual for its busy location and should be taken down immediately.

The Advertising Standards Bureau said yesterday it was yet to receive any objections.

I'm definitely not a prude, ...BUT... I don't think we need billboards like this in our face, Cr Nardi said: I don't think it's appropriate and I don't think many people in the community would find it in good taste.

The Sexpo billboard has now been removed by owners Bishopp. It will be relocated in coming days.

 

4th February   

Over a Barrel...

Austrian feminists easily offended by recruitment advert
Link Here

Austrain recruitment ad A recruitment advert for the Austrian army showing young women chasing a tank for a joy-ride has been axed after outraged feminists went on the offensive.

The advert was commissioned to sex-up the image of the military, which has had trouble in recent years getting men to enlist.

Do you want a joy-ride, ladies? yells a macho member of the tank crew, causing the women to race after the armoured vehicle. The pun in the question was fully intended, admitted the Austrian military.

But feminists were predictably easily offended. Judith Goetz, who is in charge of feminist issues at the Austrian Students' Union, said: It is totally archaic to show such an obviously sexist video when women are part of the Austrian military.

The video opens with a macho-looking man with legs spread wide sitting on the hood of his Audi car surrounded by four young women. He is interrupted in his effort to persuade them to join him for a joy-ride when a tank comes to a screeching halt in front of his car.

A soldier climbs out of the tank's hatch, rubs his hand suggestively along the cannon, jumps down in front of the girls and asks them if they would like to go for a joy-ride in his vehicle instead. The girls screech in excitement and begin to follow him. Then come to the Austrian army. Then you can drive a tank! the soldier says. He speeds away pursued by the shrieking women.

Our clip is so dorky it's brilliant, said Colonel Johann Millonig, of the army's marketing department. But the feminist cyber-war on the high command. So many e-mails were received that defence minister Norbert Darabos asked the army to remove the video from the ministry's website.

 

2nd February   

Vegetable Abuse...

US sex shop's humerous adverts wind up Texas nutters
Link Here

Sara's Secrets/Condoms To Go chain has 12 stores in the conservative state of Texas. It has come up with a couple of knee-slappers for an advertising campaign, including the pictured billboard on I-35 and the TV ad that gave rise to it.

We ran that at the end of last year, explained Sara's Secret VP. We try to make our advertising entertaining and edgy; those are the two words we keep in mind. Because anybody can watch a whole evening of TV and I bet that they cannot recall one commercial, so obviously you've got to do something that will stand out from the noise, and this commercial hits the spot, and the billboards are kind of a follow-up to it.

What we want to do is create advertising that will stir people, he continued. Whether they're stirred because they don't like the advertising or stirred because they find it really funny, this particular combination really hit the spot. Here in Texas, which is a pretty conservative state, the churchgoers certainly give us their opinion, but CBS-11 did a story on it last night, and if you go to the comments underneath it, you'll see that the positive comments are overwhelming compared to the negative ones. People have come to our website and commented, and we're getting more positive comments there too.

 

31st January   

Offsite: CBS Mancrunched...

Controversial adverts for the TV broadcast of the Super Bowl
Link Here

Mancrunch advert The public relations/marketing teams over at Mancrunch.com must be made up of some smart guys and gals. They used CBS's squeamishness over gay kissing to start a media firestorm. There's no such thing as bad publicity!

the banned Mancrunch.com ad is really not that racy. It's just two dudes watchin' the game together… until sparks fly. It's not like the ad shows any actual spit-swapping. If it's family-friendly enough to get posted on YouTube.

So why is CBS refusing to show it during the Superbowl?

Offsite: Two guys kissing set to steal the Super Bowl show

31st January 2010. See article from independent.co.uk by Guy Adams

Women's groups and gay activists are squaring up against opponents from the family values lobby over the contents of two very different television adverts that are due to air when the New Orleans Saints take on the Indianapolis Colts in next Sunday's finale of the American football season. One of the commercials carries a hard-hitting anti-abortion message, and was made by a conservative Christian organisation. The other couldn't be more different: it publicises a gay dating website called Mancrunch, and features two men holding hands on a sofa, and then passionately kissing.

Their existence immediately sparked predictable outrage from both ends of the political spectrum. Now this year's Super Bowl broadcaster, CBS, is being bombarded with calls to keep either or both of them from the airwaves.

...Read full article

 

30th January   

Fashion Police...

Advert censor whinges at Fly53 fashion advert
Link Here

Banned Fly53 advert An ad for the fashion brand Fly53, which appeared in NME magazine, showed one man holding a gun against the head of a second man, who seemed to be seated. The man holding the gun had one hand held tightly against the throat of the other man, who had closed eyes and clenched teeth. The men seemed to be in a dark room. The bottom of the ad contained a list of words in small text: CONFESSION REVIVAL RETRIBUTION TORMENT ATONEMENT DIVINITY ; the word CONFESSION was highlighted. Below that, small text stated FLY53 OUTFITTERS FOR THE RESISTANCE CONCEIVED DESIGNED AND BORN INTO THE WORLD TO PROTECT AND SERVE THE 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE .

A complainant thought the ad's depiction of gun crime was offensive, irresponsible and unsuitable for display in a music magazine, because it glamorised violence.

Fly53 said the ad campaign was based on the fictitious House of Fly53 , which consumers could explore on their website. Each room in the house had a theme - Confession, Revival, Retribution, Torment, Atonement and Divinity - and was intended to show people in a state of heightened senses, with blurred boundaries between the real and surreal. The ad was based on the Confession room. Fly53 explained that to be fully accepted into the house, visitors must first confess their fashion crimes. They could then move through the house to the final room where they reached Atonement in the world of Fly53. The house was supposed to have a fantastical and cinematic feel and was not intended to be realistic.

Fly53 believed displaying the image out of the context of the House of Fly53 might have taken away the essence and story of the house, leading to the misinterpretation that the ad glamorised violence. They apologised for any offence caused and stated that, as a result of the complaint, they had withdrawn the image from advertising in print media.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA considered the way in which one man was holding a gun to the head of another, with his hand held tightly against the other man's throat, was aggressive and threatening. The seated man, who had closed eyes and clenched teeth, seemed to be frightened and suffering, and the darkness of the room in which the two men were depicted contributed to the menacing atmosphere. We disagreed that the violence depicted would be seen as cartoon-like and considered that it seemed realistic. Although the image resembled a scene from a film, we noted the ad was for a clothing brand and not, for example, a film with violent scenes, which made it more likely that its portrayal of violence would be seen as gratuitous. We considered the small text FLY53 OUTFITTERS FOR THE RESISTANCE CONCEIVED DESIGNED AND BORN INTO THE WORLD TO PROTECT AND SERVE THE 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE was incongruous when juxtaposed with an image of violence, and could be seen as glamorising it. We were of the view that any attempts to link the ad's image more closely with the House of Fly53 would not necessarily have made it any less problematic.

We considered that the ad's depiction of gun crime was likely to be seen as glamorising and condoning real violence. We concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, and was irresponsible and unsuitable for display in a music magazine.

 

27th January   

Offsite: Kickabout with a Hot Potato...

Controversial adverts for the TV broadcast of the Super Bowl
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Super Bowl 2010 logoIt's the biggest day of the year for US advertising with companies spending between $2.5m and $2.8m to ensure their product is seen by the widest possible audience, but this year's Super Bowl Sunday threatens to be overshadowed by controversy over one of the 30-second slots.

The advert in question? A commercial on behalf of the evangelical Christian organisation Focus on the Family, featuring the University of Florida's star quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother Pam, which is expected to focus on her decision to ignore medical advice to have an abortion.

The almost $3m advert, which Focus on the Family says was paid for by donations, contravenes a network policy regarding the type of ads shown during the Super Bowl. Several online petitions have called on CBS to pull the ad and 2,288 people joined a Facebook group pointing out the hypocrisy by saying: Tell CBS Reject The Focus On The Family Ad Or Accept The UCC's! UCC refers to the United Church of Christ.

...Read full article

 

24th January   

Cliched Censors...

Swedish gay awareness advert refused by Swedish newspapers
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ad refusal An advertisement featuring three partially naked women was deemed inappropriate for publication by two newspapers in southern Sweden, shocking officials at the sexual health organization who created the ad.

We are really surprised because we don't think it's controversial, Mikael Andersson of the Skone-based affiliate of the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights, told the advertising trade magazine Resumé.

Andersson's comments came after learning that two prominent newspapers in southern Sweden, Sydsvenskan and City, refused to run the advertisement, one of four in a campaign entitled 'Love has many faces'.

The campaign, which includes both print and television ads, was part of an effort by local branch RFSL to strengthen the identity of homosexual, bisexual, and transgender people living in the region.

According to Sydsvenskan editor-in-chief Daniel Sandstrom, the fourth ad in the series, which featured three partially clothed women wrapped in a seemingly passionate embrace, was unacceptable.

I have no problem with printing provocative images ...BUT... the picture in question simply didn't meet standards of acceptability. I think rather that it reproduces a cliché-filled image of lesbian love.

 

20th January   

Schweinhunds...

Advert censor whinges at irate German stereotype
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Reed logoA radio ad, for a recruitment website, featured a man speaking to his boss who responded angrily and loudly in German. The voice-over said Boss a bit of a tyrant? Find your perfect boss on the UK's biggest job site ... .

Thirteen listeners believed the ad was offensive to Germans, because it used an outdated stereotype and implied all Germans were tyrants.

The Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC) believed most listeners would regard the scenario as humorous and inoffensive and were likely to understand that the ranting boss was a tyrant, because he responded angrily to his colleague rather than in a calm way. The RACC said the character was a generic German-sounding orator , which they believed was a well established type in comedy culture, but they did not believe the mock angry conversation, when heard alongside the phrase Boss a bit of a tyrant? , implied that all Germans were tyrants. The RACC said they did not regard the German people as a minority group, as defined by the CAP (Broadcast) Radio Advertising Standards Code, or that the scenario would be seen as a stereotype likely to cause general or serious offence to German people.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA acknowledged that the use of stereotypes was an inevitable part of establishing a character in a short radio ad, but nonetheless considered that such stereotypes should not perpetuate damaging misconceptions. We noted the ad used a German speaker, rather than someone speaking English, to portray the boss as a bit of a tyrant and the humour derived from a stereotype at the expense of German people. We considered that the portrayal suggested that German people were more likely to be unreasonable or aggressive to others.

We concluded that, given the extreme reaction and aggressive tone of the German speaking boss, the ad reinforced a negative and outdated cultural stereotype of German people as overpowering and tyrannical and therefore the ad had the potential to cause serious offence to some listeners.

The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.

 

20th January   

Censorship Nazis...

Hitler cartoon on night club promotion winds up the authorities
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Poland flagPolish nightclub has come under criminal investigation after it used an image of Adolf Hitler to promote an event.

The Klub Muzyczny Sklot, located in Warsaw's bohemian Praga district, had hoped that the picture of a typically animated Hitler sporting a pair of banana-yellow glasses would attract customers to the event but so far it has only caught the eye of the prosecutor's office.

Polish law outlaws the use of images and symbols associated with totalitarian regimes if they are deemed to be promoting a political system.

Investigators are considering whether the disco's management intended to glorify Hitler or made an innocent mistake.

Conceding that the club had made a mess , one of the organisers of the event, a man known only as Ruff T., issued a hasty apology, and said that they had meant no offence.

 

18th January   

Showing their Claws...

Air New Zealand advert offends predatory nutters
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Cougar advert Air New Zealand has drawn strong criticism with its online campaign that depicts single middle-aged women as cougars on the look out for sex with young men.

The country's national carrier came up with the documentary styled clip, showing women in their 30s, 40s and 50s hunting men in their 20s, many of whom pretend to be gay to avoid their claws.

The promotion was put up to encourage women aged 35 and above to invite their pictures with their cougar mates and enter the draw for a deal including a flight and ticket to a sporting event, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The ad has left women's rights groups and rape prevention organisations fuming and has been dubbed as derogatory for women and also for men who have been rape victims.

Kim McGregor, director, New Zealand's Rape Prevention Education said: We have also had complaints from male survivors who have been raped by women and they are very distressed that their situation is being laughed at and made out to be humorous.

An airline spokeswoman justified the ad saying it was supposed to be light-hearted but some older women had taken a bit of offence to it .

 

18th January   

Clearcast Bullies...

TV advert censor bans bullying advert suitable for 12A cinema showings
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Cybermentors ad An anti-bullying advert that was ruled 'too shocking' to appear on television has been launched online.

The film, which includes scenes where a teenage girl sews her own mouth shut, will be also be shown in cinemas before films rated 12A and above.

It is part of a £1.2 million campaign launched by children's charity Beatbullying.

The advert promotes a website, cybermentors.org.uk, which allows young people who have been bullied to help each other and discuss their problems.

A spokeswoman for Clearcast, which decides which adverts can be shown on British television, said it was felt some scenes would be viewed as offensive.

Beatbullying's chief executive, Emma-Jane Cross, said: We are proud of this advert and the way it makes you stop and understand the impact bullying can have on its victims.

But we were disappointed that Clearcast refused to let this advert go on to TV. We know that 69% of young people have been bullied and it is imperative that people know cybermentors.org.uk is there to give them support.

 

14th January   

Council Bullshit...

Sedgemoor council whinge at mild innuendo
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Big Bulls advertAs reported at Burnham-On-Sea.com,

The family of well-known local livestock owner Arthur Duckett introduced the poster over the Christmas period to wish him a happy 80th birthday.

It shows Duckett and his huge steer, Field Marshall, with the caption a little man with big bulls.

Duckett received a letter from Council enforcement officer David Crowle, stating: It is the council's view that the adverts are detrimental to the amenity of the area and as such will seek their removal. It asked whether Duckett woud be prepared to take down the hoardings without the need for formal action and warned that failure to abide by regulations could lead to a £400 fine or two years' imprisonment.

Quite apart from the appalling treatment of a well-liked 80 year-old man, in forcing him to remove the poster the council is pandering to the most wretched, humourless people who are apparently incapable of appreciating a mild joke with only the slightest hint of anything that could be deemed offensive.

 

10th January   

Finger Wagging Good...

Advert with West Indian crowd enjoying fried chicken accused of racial stereotyping
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KFC cricket advertThe Australian arm of the fast food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken has had to withdraw an advertisement after accusations of supposed racial insensitivity.

It showed a white cricket fan trying to pacify a group of rowdy West Indian fans by handing around fried chicken.

When the advertisement reached America via the internet there were complaints. It was accused of reinforcing a derogatory racial stereotype linking black people in the American deep south with a love of fried food.

The advertisement from Kentucky Fried Chicken features a white cricket fan dressed in the green and gold of the Australian team surrounded by a group of West Indian supporters, who are dancing and singing to a calypso beat. He decides to quieten them down by handing around a bucket of fried chicken.

The fast food chain's head office in America said it was withdrawing the advertisement, and apologised for what it called any misrepresentation which might have caused offense.

 

10th January   

Immature Bus Company...

ESA challenge Chicago Transit Authority's games advert ban
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ESA logoThe Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has won a preliminary injunction in its lawsuit against the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) over the banning of advertisements for adult-rated videogames.

An ordinance that took effect in January of 2009 prohibited any advertisement that markets or identifies a video or computer game rated 'Mature 17+' (M) or 'Adults Only 18+' (AO). The ESA argued that such a ban unconstitutionally restricts speech in a public forum that is otherwise open to all speakers without a compelling interest for doing so.

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted the ESA an injunction, with Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer stating: …the advertisements the CTA wishes to ban promote expression that has constitutional value and implicates core First Amendment concerns.

 

9th January   

Career Women Make Angry Mothers...

Provocative advert provokes mothers
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mumsnet logoAn advertising campaign that featured the message Career women make bad mothers has been pulled from about 4,000 billboards around the country after a vehement response by irate mothers.

The Outdoor Advertising Association (OAA) hoped that its £1.25 million campaign, which also included a slogan designed to provoke England football fans that read 1966 — It won't happen this year , would show the power of billboards to inspire debate at a dedicated website, but they underestimated the potency of maternal wrath.

Mothers did indeed go online in droves, but not to Britainthinks, the internet forum set up by the advertisers. Instead, they flocked to Mumsnet. In a message thread that ran to almost 1,000 posts, they published details of the creative agency responsible for the advert, its other clients and anyone who could be used to exert pressure to have the posters withdrawn.

Four days later, shell-shocked by the torrent of abuse directed at them, the OAA apologised and promised to remove or cover up the posters as soon as possible.

Beta, the agency that created the advert, also caved in to pressure. Garry Lace, Beta's co-founder, had demanded that Mumsnet compensate him and his company for damage to their reputations, but capitulated with an apology. He denied that he was about to commence legal proceedings against Mumsnet despite admitting that he sent an e-mail to Justine Roberts, the website's managing director, in which he threatened to engage in a process to ensure ... that we are compensated for the hurt, corporate loss and reputational damage that we have suffered .

Lace said that he had relaxed his position since Mumsnet removed some of the more personal messages, but said: If my people continue to be called fucking tossers then I will take a point of view about it.

 

8th January   

Spine-Chilling Revenge...

Advert censor not scared by Last House on the Left advert
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Last House on the Left 2009 DVD A radio ad, for the DVD release of a horror film, included audio clips of a man screaming and a male character saying I want to hear you beg for your life . The voice-over stated What would you do if the gang that attacked your daughter sought refuge in your home? 'Last House on the Left' out now exclusively at Blockbuster. A story of kidnapping, brutality and spine-chilling revenge ... . Issue

A listener believed that the ad was unsuitable for broadcast during the day when children could be listening.

The Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC) said, at the time they cleared the ad, they advised that it should not be broadcast next to news items about violent crime in order to avoid insensitive scheduling and possible distress to some listeners. Nonetheless, although they noted the brief scream sound effect, they believed the tone of the ad was not overly threatening or frightening and the style and words of the voice-over undermined the impression of horror. They believed that, taken as a whole, the ad was unlikely to harm or distress children and therefore did not issue additional scheduling care instructions.

ASA Decision: Not upheld

The ASA noted the brief scream and the line of dialogue from the film, I want to hear you beg for your life , but also noted that the voice-over was spoken in a breezy, matter-of-fact, non-threatening way. We considered it was clear that the ad was for a film and the tone and style of the voice-over removed any potential for horror. We concluded that the ad was unlikely to harm children and had been scheduled appropriately.

 

8th January   

Goa Goes GaGa...

Bikini adverts banned in Goa
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Goa Beach advert Fighting against the slur of turning into a sex-tourism destination, the Goa tourism department has decided to censor all advertisements showing bikini babes .

Goa is a family holiday destination and not sex tourism destination. We will make sure that bikini babes do not symbolise Goa tourism in future, state Tourism Minister Fransisco Pacheco told PTI .

He said the tourism department will ask all empanelled advertisement agencies to desist from using scantily-clad women in their campaigns.

The department has already stopped such ads but I will make sure that henceforth all advertisements are scrutinised by the department before being sent for printing, Pacheco said.

 

6th January   

Filthy Minds at the ASA...

Advert censor whinges at nightclub advert
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Filth advertA flyer, distributed in Leeds city centre for a night club, featured a collage of images including naked women and a sex toy. It was headlined Filth THE SLUT PARTY SAT OCTOBER 10TH @ THE MINT CLUB, LEEDS . The reverse included text that stated £8 ENTRY TO THE FIRST 50 SLUTS .

Issue 1. Four complainants, three of whom believed that it degraded and demeaned women objected that the ad was offensive.

Issue 2. Two complainants felt that the ad was irresponsible, because it could be seen by children.

The Mint Club said they operated the venue which had been hired to the promotional company, Filth UK, for the event. They said the flyer in question was for a regular event called Filth, which had an individual theme for each monthly event, the flyers theme was a Slut Party . They maintained that they had received no complaints and pointed out that the event was a house music dance night with a party atmosphere where over half of customers were female, many wearing fancy dress.

The Mint Club maintained that the flyers were distributed very carefully and were strictly regulated by Leeds City Council in that respect. They said the flyers were only given out to potential customers and maintained that distribution staff were instructed carefully in what they had to do. The Mint Club did not accept that children would have seen them.

ASA Assessment: 1. & 2. Upheld

The ASA noted the ad featured imagery of female nudity in a collage which centred on an image of a sex toy. Although the leaflet was intended to be in keeping with the nature of the event, we considered that the imagery, in conjunction with the title of the event, The Slut Party, and text that stated £8 ENTRY TO THE FIRST 50 SLUTS , was likely to cause serious offence to those who believed it was sexually explicit and degrading to women. We also noted several of the complainants had seen the leaflets in Leeds city centre, some of which appeared to have been discarded and were visible to people who had not been specifically selected as potential customers by the distribution staff. Consequently, we considered that there was a reasonable possibility that such material could be seen by the general public, including children. We considered that such material was unsuitable to be viewed by children and concluded that the ad was irresponsible and was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.