A poster for AMI Clinic Ltd (AMI) stated in large, prominent lettering WANT LONGER LASTING SEX? The word 'SEX' appeared in very large lettering. Smaller text stated NASAL DELIVERY TECHNOLOGY CALL THE DOCTORS AT ADVANCED MEDICAL INSTITUTE.
521 complainants believed the poster was offensive and, therefore, unsuitable for display in public locations, which included near schools and in areas with a high Jewish population, where it could be seen by children
challenged whether the poster advertised an unlicensed medicine.
ASA Assessment 1. Upheld
The ASA noted AMI's argument that the poster delivered their message in a blunt and direct manner, which included the word 'SEX' in large lettering, but incorporated no swearing,
suggestive imagery or nudity. We also noted, however, a number of people who had seen the posters had felt that the language used was offensive and inappropriate for general public display.
We understood that many people also considered the
posters' bright colours and very large text, including the word 'SEX' to attract attention, was unsubtle and crass. We also understood that the word 'SEX', in itself, had caused concern in many cases and, in the context of WANT LONGER LASTING SEX?,
which related directly to sexual intercourse, had also caused embarrassment amongst some parents or guardians who had been quizzed about its meaning by children. A number of complainants pointed out to us that the sheer size and prominence of the
message made it impossible to avoid, which they found very uncomfortable.
We recognised that the sensitive nature of the message AMI wanted to deliver about their product and the treatment programmes they offered could be intrusive to some
readers under any circumstances. We also noted the poster contained nothing explicit, and considered that the word 'sex' was not necessarily problematic in itself. We considered, however, that the style and tone of this ad, with direct reference to
sexual intercourse through the phrase Want longer lasting sex? , was presented in too stark and prominent a manner, and as a result were concerned that it had caused both serious and widespread offence.
In view of this, we concluded that
the poster was unsuitable for public display.
We noted that the medicine was available by prescription only and that AMI did not hold a marketing authorisation for any medicines prescribed as part of their treatment programmes. We
therefore concluded that the poster had indirectly advertised an unlicensed medicine, which was available only on prescription, to the public.
The company behind a Want Longer Lasting Sex? ad campaign for a nasal spray is defying an order to take down its posters by the advertising censor.
The Advanced Medical Institute said it would not take down the posters for the prescription
nasal spray, arguing that men have a right to know how to perform better in bed.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled against the advert after receiving 458 complaints and sent AMI a letter ordering the company to remove the
campaign. The posters, which promote a nasal delivery technology , have been running on 196 billboard sites across the country.
Whingers have complained to the ASA that the AMI campaign is offensive and causes widespread offence. The ASA
is to launch an official investigation into the campaign, but has invoked its power to demand the removal of the posters before this process begins.
Today the watchdog said it had asked AMI to remove the billboards because they advertise a
prescription-only medicine. Under the advertising code, which reflects UK law, prescription-only medicine is not allowed to be advertised directly to the general public.
However, AMI responded that it would not take down the ads. We are happy
to co-operate with the ASA's investigation process, but it's important for all parties concerned that it [the campaign] is able to run its course, said the AMI Europe medical director, Michael Spira: We must not overreact: this isn't the first
time sex has been used in an advertising campaign. Even as we speak posters for [the film] Sex Drive are appearing all over London.
The ASA said that if AMI refused to co-operate it would take action to remove the ads. This could include
discussing the issue with billboard site owners or with the media buying and creative advertising agencies involved with the campaign.
Nutters have accused the ASA, Britain's advertising regulator, of failing to take action over a billboard campaign which attracted almost 300 complaints.
The firm behind the posters - which are 30 feet wide with the question Want Longer
Lasting Sex? has voluntarily taken them down them from several sites after local nutter protests.
The ASA is waiting until its officers have completed a report into the case due next Friday, Jan 9. The month-long advertising campaign will
have run its course and the posters will be in the process of being taken down regardless of the ASA's ultimate ruling.
An ASA spokesman said: If an advert is deemed to have caused widespread harm and offence we can order its immediate removal.
This is rare and was not felt to be the case on this occasion.
Ann Widdecombe, nutter Conservative MP for Maidstone and the Weald, said the posters should have been taken down immediately: The ASA should have used its powers to suspend the
advert while it was carrying out an investigation, rather than waiting until its investigation was complete . These posters are horrible and offensive, particularly at this time of year. People do not want to be confronted by them, especially if
they have children with them.
The billboard campaign is intended to promote the Advanced Medical Institute (AMI), a company which markets a nasal spray said to cure impotency. It has two clinics in the UK. AMI commissioned Titan - one of
Britain's biggest outdoor advertising agencies - to put up 190 of the hoardings around London, where the clinics are located.
After more than 80 residents in Barnet, north London, complained about the wording and the size of the posters, two were
removed from sites at Mill Hill, and outside Edgware Hospital. Brian Gordon, a Barnet councillor, said: It might seem old fashioned, but people around here believe there should be some degree of modicum when it comes to matters of a sexual nature. It
is a victory, alas rare these days, for public decency.
Another of the billboards, sited in Harrow, north-west London, was covered up following similar complaints from residents. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea also forced the
removal of one of the adverts.
In all, Titan have removed 10 of the billboards including a number which had been placed near schools and places of worship. In one case, the poster was placed within sight of a mosque in south London. On being told
an important religious ceremony was due to take place at the mosque, Titan moved quickly to remove the billboard. The company also removed one from close to a school and church in Wimbledon, south London, following complaints.
Steve Cox, Titan's
marketing director, said: We have to be sensitive because it is so public. But of itself the advert is not indecent. It's about a promoting a medical product to alleviate a genuine medical complaint. We felt the advert was legal, decent, honest and
truthful, but in some cases we have taken it down following complaints or after being made aware a particular billboard was insensitively located.
An advertising billboard proclaiming Want Longer Lasting Sex? has prompted nutter complaints.
The medical reference is in the bottom left-hand corner, in much smaller type, which reads : Nasal Delivery Technology- Call the Doctors at
Advanced Medical Institute.
Almost 200 hoardings in bold red on yellow print have appeared in and around London. The adverts will soon be rolled out across the UK.
The campaign from the Advanced Medical Institute in Australia has
already been banned in its native country.
Last night the Advertising Standards Authority said it had launched a formal investigation into the campaign, which has provoked 249 complaints in eight days. An ASA spokesman said the number of
complaints was a high volume for such a short space of time.
The general nature of the complaints is that the ad is offensive, gratuitous and inappropriate for public display, especially as it is unsuitable to be seen by
children, he said.
Last night nutter Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe said she was dismayed when she noticed one of the billboards near her London home.
What do you say to a child if you are driving along and the child says what
does that mean mummy?". Advertisements are supposed to be decent and truthful and these billboards are not decent.
Susan Hall, a prude councillor in the London borough of Harrow, which
complained about the billboards, said they make the Club 18-30 package holiday company adverts look like nuanced triumphs of understatement. We are no prudes, ...BUT... there is a difference between adverts which are a little risque like
the Wonderbra commercials and billboards like these which are just crass.
Dr Michael Spira of AMI said: We've said all along that we're not out to offend anyone the purpose of our direct advertising is to let men who are suffering
sexual problems know that help is available.
The Advertising Standards Bureau says it has received numerous complaints about new billboards advertising a medication for sexual dysfunction.
It is the second time this year advertising for the medication sold by the Advanced Medical Institute
has attracted complaints.
In August, the company was asked by the Advertising Standards Bureau to remove more than 100 billboards nationally with the slogan Want longer lasting sex? because some people found it offensive.
company says it thought the new slogan Bonk for longer was less offensive.
But the bureau's chief executive, Fiona Jolly, says it has already received numerous complaints about the signs on Sydney's Parramatta Road. Jolly says the board
will make a decision on the new signs within the next two weeks.
The advertising standards board members will look at clause 2.3 of the Code of Ethics, which says that the treatment of sex, sexuality and nudity must be sensitive to the
relative audience, she said.
The company says it will remove the signs if the bureau asks it to.
Driving through Vauxhall the other day my eye was taken by a huge billboard posing the question in lurid day-glo colours several feet high
Want Longer Lasting Sex?
At a busy traffic intersection? In broad daylight? The product being advertised seemed to be some sort of nasal spray.
Vauxhall, for those unfamiliar with the area, is a scruffy neighbourhood, just across
the bridge from the Houses of Parliament which, for reasons that are not exactly clear, has recently transmogrified into London's largest gay erogenous zone.
In this context, the promise of Longer Lasting Sex seemed to be simply another, albeit
rather more in-your-face, addition, to the colourful pageant of local life. But driving on to Waterloo, there was the billboard again. A colleague reports a sighting outside a Tesco on a busy road in West London - there was almost a pile-up.