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2011: Jan-March

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23rd February   

Whingers Silenced...

Achmed the Dead Terrorist ringtone advert not racist
Link Here

A TV ad for Fox Mobile ringtones featured the American ventriloquist, Jeff Dunham, with his dummy, Achmed, the Dead Terrorist . The ringtones used some of the phrases from Dunham's act which included Silence! I kill you , Stop touching me and Knock, knock. Who's there? Me. I kill you .

A viewer challenged whether the ad was offensive because he believed it was racist towards Muslims.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA understood that the ad featured the puppet Achmed, the Dead Terrorist, which was a well-known part of Jeff Dunhams ventriloquism act.

We understood that that particular comedy act touched on the theme of terrorism and we also understood that there would be viewers who found the puppet character and comedy theme of terrorism distasteful or offensive. However, we noted that at no time did the ad make any reference to terrorism or the Islamic faith. We also noted that, whilst the ad showed some footage of the act, its emphasis was on the phrases Silence! I kill you, Stop touching me and Knock, knock, whos there? Me, I kill you which were available to download as mobile phone ringtones. Whilst we understood that some viewers might find those ringtones distasteful, we considered that the content of the ad accurately reflected the nature of the product being advertised. Because the ad itself contained no direct reference to terrorism or the Muslim religion, we concluded the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule 4.2 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.


16th February   

Focking Whingers...

TV 3 get away with the word 'fucking' on grounds that it is less 'offensive' in Denmark
Link Here

A TV ad for TDC, a telecommunications provider, featured a man and a woman dressed in nude suits. The woman sang a song in Danish, the lyrics of which included the phrase ... jag er sa* fucking stolt ... . Issue

One viewer, who saw the ad on TV3 Denmark, thought the ad contained the word fucking and the swearing was offensive.

TDC said the ad was part of a long running and well-known humorous campaign, introduced in Denmark in September 2009, based around three famous comedic actors playing the roles of a middle-aged married couple and their neighbour. The husband and wife were naturists. The neighbour had no phone, Internet or TV and the couple's aim was to get him updated on telecommunications. The campaign had been rolled out on national Danish TV as an ongoing series of ads.

Viasat Broadcasting UK provided a translation of the ad and the song it contained. They said the phrase identified by the complainant, Det idag vi fejrer slverfest, jag er s fucking stolt , translated into English as It is today we celebrate our silver anniversary, I'm so damn proud . Viasat argued that the English word fucking had become part of the Danish language as a slang word, it had lost some of its original English meaning and with it its level of offence, and the pronunciation of it had even changed to focking , to sound more Danish. They (as bilingual Danish and English speakers) did not believe fucking was the correct Danish translation of the word in the context of the ad. They said the word was not used in the ad in a negative, offensive or hurtful way, but was intended to emphasize how proud the wife was of her husband, and was more akin to the milder term damn . They continued that the word fucking was used as a Danish word in a Danish sentence in the ad, and should not be seen as having the same meaning or connotations as the word fucking might have in the UK. Although it was a swear word, fucking was used as an expression in both positive and negative situations and they did not believe it would be considered offensive in Denmark, although they appreciated that if the ad had been broadcast to a UK audience, some viewers might have found the word offensive. Viasat believed that, although the Danish population had a good understanding of English, they would associate the word fucking with its mild Danish meaning.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA understood that fucking , although a swear word in Danish, was much milder than, and did not have the same offensive connotations as, the word fucking in English. We concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to viewers in Denmark.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule 4.2 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.


16th February   

The 1958 Beer Riots...

New Zealand beer advert banned for looking like a real historical documentary
Link Here

A beer commercial which looked too much like a historical documentary has been criticised by New Zealand's Advertising Standards Complaints Board and the version will be barred from broadcast.

The television and cinema campaign supported a relaunch of Dominion Breweries' DB Export branded beer by telling the story of former DB brewer Morton Coutts' attempt to brew the world's best beer in New Zealand.

A complainant objected to the use of real footage of the 1951 waterfront dispute to illustrate violent protests that the advertisement says took place after Arnold Nordemeyer's Black Budget of 1958.

A majority of the complaints board considered the television and cinema advertisements to be in a documentary type style, achieved by the use of the contrasting black and white screen-shots, the music, and the accompanying authoritative narration . When coupled with the use of the actual footage of the riots, from a different historical event, the ad gave the impression that the advertisements were portraying a credible and realistic depiction of history , said the board's decision.

The majority of the complaints board was of the view that the television and cinema advertisements ... were likely to mislead and deceive consumers given the realistic and accurate depiction of history conveyed in the advertisements.


15th February   

Whipped into Shape...

Australian nutters whinge at fitness centre billboard
Link Here

A billboard promoting a fitness centre featuring the bottom of a whip-wielding woman has been slammed as sexist, led to complaints and 'polarised' the community.

The Advertising Standards Bureau will review the billboard. Bureau communications manager Alison Abermethy said a number of complaints had been received about the Health Club @ Newmarket billboard.

Resident Virginia Druett claimed she found the image offensive: To portray a woman as just the bottom part of the body is an insult to every woman in Australia Women have strived for centuries to be treated with respect and equality and this is just so demeaning. How this has passed through censorship just amazes me.


9th February   

Update: Well Endowed with Nutters...

Swedish advert censors think that men are as obsessed as women about body image
Link Here
Full story: Sexist Advertising in Sweden...Sweden considers banning sexist advertising

Sweden's advertising ombudsman upheld a complaint against the advertisement, promoting a television operator called Boxer, in which a photo shop character called Robert stretches out on a sheepskin rug wearing only a pair of straining, white boxer shorts.

Even if the intention was to present a humorous link between the man and product, the man is presented, through his posture and lack of clothing, as a mere sex object in a way that could be deemed offensive to men in general, the ombudsman's office claimed in a statement.

It added that Robert's legs, chest, arms and abdomen are very muscular, and the outline of his genitalia is visible through his underpants .

A complainer argued that the focus on the organ and its size had nothing to do with the product, and even if that was the case, it is no way to portray either a man or a woman . It was also claimed that Robert's physical shape could place pressure on impressionable men who aspire to have the same physique.

The advertisement sparked lively debate on internet comments sites, with many men stating they found it harmless and inoffensive, and that the ombudsman should get a life .

An editorial in Aftonbladet, a leading Swedish newspaper, said that the ombudsman had to act on equality grounds because it would have upheld a complaint if Boxer had used a female image.


8th February   

Whinger Told to Fuck Off...

Australian advert censor dismisses complaint about the use of the acronym MILF
Link Here

It is okay to use the acronym MILF in adverts according to the Australian advertising censor.

The Ad Standards Board (ASB) was considering a complaint over a Ticketmaster promotion for a tour by the actress Jennifer Coolidge.

According to the complaint: As this is a special offer, you need to enter a code word into the Ticketmaster booking engine to receive the discount. The code that you are asked to enter is MILF. This seems innocent enough except that MILF is an acronym commonly used in the porn industry for MOMS I'D LIKE TO FUCK . My objection is about the casual and insidious use of pornography (in this case a term used in pornography) to sell to the general public.

The ASB dismissed the complaint, ruling:

The Board noted the complainant's concerns that the word MILF is linked to pornography. The Board noted that the term MILF was coined in a film featuring Jennifer Coolidge and that it is an acronym for words meaning a sexually attractive older woman. The Board considered that it is not a term directly related to the pornography industry but to Jennifer Coolidge's character in the film American Pie and has subsequently been used to describe attractive mothers generally.

The Board considered that whist the word MILF did relate to the sexual attractiveness of a woman, you would need to understand the meaning of this acronym in order to understand the sexual reference. The Board considered that in the context of the advertisement for the Jennifer Coolidge tour, this word and implied reference is relevant and unlikely to be viewed or understood by children.

Whilst some members of the community may not like this word, it has become part of the common vernacular, is not generally considered offensive, and in this context is not inappropriate.


9th January   

Feeding On Easy Offence...

Doritos advert for Superbowl contest winds up the nutters
Link Here

An entry in the annual Pepsi-owned Doritos Crash the Super Bowl ad contest will never air after it caused a bit of easy offence. 

Feed Your Flock sees congregation challenged priest get divine inspiration to use Doritos to replace the more usual wafers. And Pepsi Max replaces the wine. And of course throngs of Doritos freeloaders descend en-masse.

But of course the body and blood of Christ are no joke to those who believe they are in Communion with their God when they accept the Eucharist and the wine during Mass.

Dave Williams, president of ad makers, MediaWave, says he pulled the ad from Pepsi's site and from YouTube. We felt bad, he says. Our intention was to win, not to offend.

The video now seems to have been taken down from all major video sharing sites.

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