Melon Farmers Unrated

Advertising News

2009: Jan-March

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27th March   

Dumbest Advert Censors that Ever Lived...

Even pub TV has to be censored for kids
Link Here

A TV ad, for the 15 rated film Tropic Thunder , appeared on the Setanta pub channel. The ad showed scenes from the film which included characters saying This motherfuckers dead and Youre the dumbest motherfucker that ever lived. A character was shown holding a severed head dripping blood. Another character hit his own hand with a mallet.

A viewer, who saw the ad during a football match screened at her local conservative club, complained that the graphic scenes and swearing were offensive and inappropriate.

Setanta, the broadcaster that cleared the ad, said the target audience for their pub channel was adults. Setanta argued that in the context of a pub environment, the swearing in the ad was not sufficient to cause offence against generally accepted standards. They believed the use of humour throughout the ad would reduce the risk of offence, and that the swearing would take a secondary role behind the action and humour of the piece, reducing its impact significantly.

Setanta believed it was adults decision and responsibility to take children into pubs and they should recognise the likelihood of adult language being used, particularly during sporting events.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA noted the viewer reported seeing the ad at 15:00, 17.15 and 18.15, during coverage of weekend football matches. We also noted the ad contained repeated use of a swear word that was generally regarded as highly offensive, along with graphic footage of a severed head with its contents dripping, and other scenes that featured blood and violence.

We noted Setanta's argument that the ad appeared on a pub channel, and that it was parents decision to take their children in to a pub and that they should be prepared for the possibility of encountering swearing and anti-social behaviour in a pub environment, especially during sporting events. We noted, however, that pub channels could also be seen at licensed premises such as social clubs, which catered for families with children. We concluded that the ad was offensive and unsuitable for broadcast during the afternoon and early evening.


21st March   

Updated: Unfit for Purpose...

Games developers object to advert associating games with early death
Link Here

Tiga, the trade association which represents UK video game developers, has filed a complaint with Britain's Advertising Standards Authority.

At issue are print ads placed by the British government's Change4Life campaign which show a young boy holding a game controller. The ad's text reads, Risk an early death, just do nothing.

Tiga CEO Richard Wilson said:

This advert is absurd and insulting in equal measure. To imply that playing a video game leads to a premature rendezvous with the Grim Reaper is a non-sequitur of colossal proportions. Alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, obesity and involvement in violent crime are forms of behaviour that risk an early death...

This advert is offensive to the 30,000 people who work in the UK's video games industry, particularly the 10,000 who work in games development. Game developers are typically intelligent, very qualified and creative individuals who work to produce high quality games for people's entertainment. They are not in the business of driving people to an early grave...

Update: Sedentary Lifestyle Not the Playing Games

20th March 2009. From

The advertising censor, the ASA has stood behind an advert that some consumers complained connected videogames with an early death: the ad did not claim that playing computer or console games alone would lead to illness or premature death.

The ASA claimed that most readers would understand that the ad was discouraging a sedentary lifestyle, with games consoles used purely as an illustration of how health problems may occur if you sit on your bum all day playing Grand Theft Auto IV without doing any exercise.

Offsite: Blame Game Tactics

21st March 2009. From , thanks to JAK

Here's an interesting article on a gaming website that has been partly lifted from Private Eye.

Private Eye suggested that The Risk an Early Death, Just Do Nothing campaign which targets gamers has been funded by such companies as Coca Cola, Nestle and Kellogs - companies that sell junk foods which can also contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle and early death.

Perhaps the message said companies want to send out is do more physical work so you can eat our junk.

Of course all concerned are refuting everything suggested.


16th March   

War Zone...

Killzone 2 advert pulled from Toronto bus shelters
Link Here

About 300 Toronto bus shelter ads for a violent video game are coming down ahead of schedule this week after complaints surfaced about its images of war and violence.

Teacher Davis Mirza emailed Sony Canada, which makes PlayStation games, after seeing an ad for Killzone 2 in the bus shelter near his Scarborough school: My kids, who come from a lot of different countries, who have to experience violence, who basically come here to seek shelter and safety, that's the stuff they don't need to see.

The central image in the ad is a menacing head with glowing eyes, wearing a mask with a breathing tube, Mirza said : The secondary image shows what appears to be a war zone.

In the future, PlayStation will establish an off-limits radius around schools for advertising similar products, a Sony spokesman Kyle Moffatt said.


13th March   

Update: Oh Yes There Is, Oh No There Isn't...

ASA stays well away from the religious debate on the sides of buses
Link Here
Full story: Atheist Buses...Atheists fund adverts about enjoying life

The advertising censor, the ASA, has decided not to launch a formal investigation into an advertisement from the Christian party proclaiming that there is definitely a God, even though it has become one of the four most criticised adverts of all time.

The advertisement was unveiled by the party last month in response to the British Humanist Association's bus adverts, which state: There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life. The Christian party's advert displayed on 50 London buses carries the slogan: "There definitely is a God. So join the Christian party and enjoy your life."

Figures from the Advertising Standards Authority reveal that the advertisement has so far attracted 1,045 complaints and rising making it the fourth most complained about advert since the ASA's records began. But it has decided not to launch an investigation because the poster is deemed to be electioneering material, and falls outside the remit of its codes of practice.

In January the ASA concluded that the aetheist There's probably no God bus ad campaign by the British Humanist Association did not breach the current advertising code and again decided not to launch an investigation.

People complaining about the Christian party advert believe the claim there definitely is a God is misleading because it cannot be substantiated, while some individuals have also objected that the advert is offensive to atheists.

The ASA has also decided not to investigate two other advertising campaigns of a similar nature. An advertisement from the Russian Orthodox Church that stated There IS a God, BELIEVE. Don't worry and enjoy your life was, the ASA council considered, a reflection of the opinion of the advertisers and unlikely to mislead readers.

Similarly, the Trinitarian Bible Society's ad that claimed The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Psalm 53.1  generated complaints that it was offensive and was insulting to atheists and non-Christians.


13th March   

Would You Rather?...

New Zealand's Family First get wound up by drinks advert with the word porn
Link Here

New Zealand's DB Breweries has agreed to take down a billboard asking Would you rather watch porn with your Mum or your sister? , after protesters said it was offensive.

The billboard in Hamilton advertises a pre-mixed drink called Barrel 51 made by DB.

It sparked furious debate on talk-back radio this morning after advocacy group Voice Waikato put up a sign in response saying: This is offensive - porn hurts women and children.

Nutters of Family First NZ said the advertisement showed the Advertising Standards Authority was a toothless wonder and stricter controls on billboards were needed.

DB said: 'one particular' billboard would be taken down after some negative feedback. Our aim was never to offend and we have taken this feedback on board and we will take this billboard down.

Family First NZ earlier issued a statement saying the billboard glorified pornography. It is offensive to many, and ignores the harm that pornography is doing in our community and the contribution it makes to family breakdown, addiction, aggressive sexual behaviour, sex role stereotyping, and viewing people simply as sexual objects, national director Bob McCroskie said.

Family First has called for a committee to be established to pre-approve billboards.


11th March   

Best Wind Up Award...

Sloggi 'female bottom' advert honoured at feminist awards
Link Here

An image of a female bottom with the slogan On Special Offer has been named the most degrading advertisement of the year by a European women's group.

The poster of protruding buttocks clad in see-through tights by Swiss underwear giant Sloggi was given the award for promoting pornography and prostitution by the Guard Dogs - a French and Swiss feminist association.

Italian coffee company Lavazza snagged the gratuitous nudity that has nothing to do with the product prize for using a picture of a naked woman on all-fours used to sell its coffee.

And a special award for the most sexist image of 2008 was given to car giant Renault for an advert showing a man and woman in bed, with him reading a magazine about the new Clio hatchback and her reading a baby magazine. Underneath was the slogan: Good things come in pairs.


9th March   

Update: Booking Adverts...

Religious advertising heads for Irish radio
Link Here

Irish broadcasting legislation on religious advertising is to be relaxed to avoid embarrassment over bans on promotions for first holy communion presents and cribs.

Eamon Ryan, the communications minister, plans to allow organisations such as Veritas, a religious bookshop, to advertise on radio. The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI), which polices the independent-radio sector, has banned a series of planned Veritas advertising campaigns in recent years.

Government sources say Ryan is keen to retain provisions of the existing law that prevent churches or quasi-religious groups from using the airwaves to recruit members. But he will introduce legal changes when the broadcasting bill comes back to the Dail at report stage this month to ensure proportionality in applying the law.

If the Oireachtas adopts the changes, the minister will direct the BCI and its successor, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), to accommodate the spirit of the change in a new code of practice on advertising.

At Christmas, Veritas was refused permission for an ad on RTE and four local stations for different and thoughtful gifts, which included books for children.

Veritas says it has held constructive discussions with officials from the department of communications about the ban in recent weeks. A spokeswoman said: In these difficult commercial times, we need to advertise all the more, so any change in this area would be welcome.


21st February   

Trigger Happy ASA...

Advert censor whinges at internet ad for RockNRolla
Link Here

Two ads for the film RocknRolla .

a. A poster featured the film's main characters; in the background one held a gun, which pointed into the foreground towards the left. Text stated GUNS, GIRLS, GEEZERS ... YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO BE ONE ROCK N ROLLA ANOTHER PIECE OF THE ACTION FROM THE GUY WHO BROUGHT YOU SNATCH AND LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS.

b. An internet banner ad showed a character from the film with his arms spread wide and a gun in each hand, which pointed in either direction. Text stated: ROCKNROLLA HIT ME.

  1. One complainant objected that ad (a) condoned violence at a time of increasing public concern about gun crime;
  2. another complainant objected that ad (b) glorified guns
  3. the same complainant objected that ad (b) was inappropriate in a medium that was accessible to children.

Updated ASA Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted the images in the ad were stylised and reflected the film's storyline. We acknowledged the text YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO BE ONE might be interpreted by some as aspirational but also noted the gun was not prominent and the characters did not display direct aggression. We considered the overall impression of the ad was such that it would be understood as a reflection of the fictional content of an action gangster film and the presence of a gun in that context was unlikely to be interpreted as suggesting that the use of guns in real life was acceptable. We concluded ad (a) was unlikely to be seen to glorify guns.

2. Upheld

We noted the text HIT ME was intended as an invitation to click on the ad. We considered however that, in conjunction with the image of a character clearly pointing two guns, it could also be interpreted as a suggestion of aggression. We acknowledged that the ad reflected the fictional content of an action film but considered that the stance of the character, in conjunction with the text, meant it was likely to be interpreted as glorifying guns. Because it glorified guns, we concluded that ad (b) condoned violence and was irresponsible.

3. Not upheld

We noted the Code stated that marketing communications addressed to or targeted at children should contain nothing that was likely to result in their physical, mental or moral harm. We noted Warner Bros had taken steps to ensure that over 97% of online impressions were targeted at those aged 15 years or over. We concluded that the ad had not been addressed to or targeted at children.

Ad (b) must not appear again in its current form.


19th February   

Update: Getting up the Nose of the Advert Censor...

ASA whinge at Longer Lasting Sex advert
Link Here

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.

  1. 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
  2. The ASA 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.

2. Upheld

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.


15th February   

Update: Ottawa Folks Easily Offended...

Atheist bus adverts banned in Ottawa
Link Here
Full story: Atheist Buses...Atheists fund adverts about enjoying life

IThe City of Ottawa has rejected an atheist bus ad campaign.

The Freethought Association of Canada, a non-profit group, has been using bus advertisements in several cities across Canada.

The ads, which read, There's probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life, are already on buses in London, Toronto and Calgary.

The Freethought Association had been hoping the posters would soon plaster the sides of OC Transpo buses in Ottawa, but their advertising request was denied last week.

It's not the first rejection we had, said Justin Trottier, president of the Freethought Association of Canada: We got rejected in Halifax a week or two ago.

Trottier said his group has not ruled out challenging the decision in the Supreme Court.

The decision was made based on a subsection of the transit advertising policy which says that religious advertising which promotes a specific ideology, ethic, point of view, policy or action, which in the opinion of the City might be deemed prejudicial to other religious groups or offensive to users of the transit system is not permitted.


14th February   

Miracle Healing...

ASA attempt to heal churches of their addiction to false claims
Link Here

  Can you cure my giddiness?

A poster, for a church event, stated Are you ready for a miracle? LIVE at the ALL NATIONS CENTRE 23rd-25th October, 7.30 p.m. DON DOUBLE Healing Evangelist.

The claim are you ready for a miracle was surrounded by a number of serious medical conditions including blindness, HIV/AIDS, cancer, deafness, diabetes, asthma, paralysis, leukemia, stroke, heart disease, epilepsy, tumours and depression.

A complainant challenged whether the poster:

  1. Was irresponsible and misleading because it implied that Don Double could heal the serious medical conditions listed
  2. Discouraged people from seeking essential medical treatment for the listed conditions.

All Nations Church acknowledged that they should not have included the claim "healing" evangelist in the poster but maintained that that only came to light after the posters were displayed. They said Don Double was not involved in the preparation of the poster and maintained that he would not have referred to himself as a healing evangelist, although people who had attended his crusades had been healed of their illnesses.

ASA Assessment

1. Upheld

The ASA noted the ad referred to a series of serious illnesses and medical conditions and asked readers whether they were ready for a miracle. We considered that testimonials were not sufficient to demonstrate that Don Double could treat any of the listed medical conditions. We considered that some potentially vulnerable readers, in particularly those suffering from the listed conditions, might infer that Don Double could offer treatment for those conditions. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and likely to mislead.

2. Upheld

We noted the poster referred to Don Double as a healing evangelist in conjunction with a list of serious medical conditions and illnesses. Because we considered some potentially vulnerable readers, in particularly those suffering from the listed conditions, might infer that Don Double could offer treatment for those conditions, we concluded that the ad breached the Code because it potentially discouraged people from seeking essential medical treatment.


The ad must not appear again in its current form. We noted All Nations Church acknowledged that the word healing should not have been included in the ad and asked them to ensure that they did not refer to serious medical conditions in future ads.


9th February   

Update: There's Probably No Fair Regulator...

The biased complaints driven mechanism of the UK's advert censor
Link Here
Full story: Atheist Buses...Atheists fund adverts about enjoying life

Talk about double standards they investigated the atheist bus campaign and ruled on them before they were rolled out due to protest from angry Christians. Sickening hypocrisy, Christians can quite literally get away with anything . I think we need an appeal to all London folk who see this ad.

Letter from the ASA re a complaint about forthcoming Christian Party bus advert

Thank you for contacting the Advertising Standards Authority. I'm sorry to hear that this matter has caused you concern.

We note that your complaint concerns the ads which you've learnt about as part of an editorial piece covering the proposed campaign. Unfortunately, we cannot take action on complaints before an ad has actually aired in its planned media, which we note hasn't happened as yet; and we therefore don't propose further action at this time.

However, if we do start to receive complaints from consumers once the campaign starts- who have seen it and felt misled or offended by it, we will look into the matter further.

I'm sorry that we can't help you further at this time, however, please don't hesitate to contact us again if you do see the ad outside of press coverage articles.


6th February   

Update: Unbelievers are not Alone...

More atheist bus slogans
Link Here
Full story: Atheist Buses...Atheists fund adverts about enjoying life

In Italy, where the Catholic Church is strong, some proposed atheist bus ads have been rejected, but this one has just been approved to run this month in Genoa: The good news is there are millions of atheists in Italy; the excellent news is they believe in freedom of expression.

Fred Edwords, spokesman for the American Humanist Association, said that nobody is going to be converted because of a sign on a bus. But he said the ads his group put on Washington buses in November and December -- Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake -- let people who don't believe in God know they are not the only ones.

Edwords said a new bus campaign, due to start in New Orleans in time for Mardi Gras, will feature this ad: Don't believe in God? You are not alone.

Hanne Stinson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said the new religious ads proclaiming God are really quite a compliment and mean our ads had an impact.


5th February   

Update: The Fool Hath Said...

Christians have their say on London buses
Link Here
Full story: Atheist Buses...Atheists fund adverts about enjoying life

A trinity of Christian groups have created their own series of advertisements to run across London buses, the medium of choice for the battle of beliefs, it seems.

The new campaign is organsied by the Christian Party, the Trinitarian Bible Society and the Russian Orthodox Church. Their pro-God campaigns will run on 175 buses for two weeks from Monday.

In a somewhat cheeky move, the Rev George Hargreaves of the Christian Party has created a bus advert which proclaims: There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life. It will run on 50 bendy buses in central London, east London and the West End.

Meanwhile, the Russian Orthodox Church has booked 25 supersize bus advertisements, backed by a sponsorship deal with Russian Hour TV, using the line : There IS a God, BELIEVE. Don't worry and enjoy your life.

The Trinitarian Bible Society has taken a less temperate approach, using a line from the bible to scold nonbelievers: The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God, runs the advertisement's slogan, taken from Psalm 53.1. The church's campaign, which like the others was booked through outdoor advertising company CBS Outdoor, runs on 100 buses.


5th February   

Not Bowled Over...

Nutters whinge at Go Daddy Super Bowl adverts
Link Here

GoDaddy's Super Bowl advertisements, which mix women and suggestive material, have generated a lot of attention. But the sexy ads have turned off some viewers and it could be costing GoDaddy some business. reports that one Web manager is pulling some of his religious sites from the provider after clients complained.

Brian Harrell, who oversees sites for Christian churches and faith-based organizations, says that after the ads aired, some of his clients demanded that their sites be to moved a different provider. GoDaddy aired two Super Bowls ads this year both featuring NASCAR driver Danica Patrick; the first ad had Patrick getting into a shower, the second had Patrick in a courtroom discussing enhancements.

Harrell, a Christian, sent an e-mail to the company, which he shared with, asking them to re-think how your morals and values are looking to the public.

The company responded with a short e-mail detailing their commitment to freedom of expression.

Harrell plans on growing his business and getting more churches online, but says that he will not suggest GoDaddy to his clients.


4th February   

Update: Playing the Game...

Advert censors finds that game companies advertises responsibly
Link Here
Full story: The Byron Report...Tanya Byron reports on media child protection

The advertising censor has cleared the marketing practices of the video games industry after conducting a wide-ranging review at the behest of Dr Tanya Byron's review into child safety.

The compliance report, carried out by the Advertising Standards Authority, monitored 241 video game adverts on TV, cinema, online and posters from April to June last year.

The compliance survey found that the majority of the ads monitored did not breach the advertising code. Just one ad was found to be in breach.

The ASA said most of the ads, apart from radio, made a clear reference to the age-rating of the game.

In addition it found that the content of the ads mostly reflected the age-rating of the game with more graphic imagery appearing for video games rated 15 or 18.

Depiction of violence was a strong theme, but it was often stylised, fantasy-like and clearly separated from reality, said the ASA. Appropriate scheduling and placement of the ads meant they were not considered to be problematic.

The advertising watchdog conducted the survey following recommendations raised in Dr Byron's report Safer Children in a Digital World published last year. Byron's review questioned the level to which violent and inappropriate imagery is targeted at children and recommended a survey to look at whether video game ads are advertised and targeted appropriately and in line with their age restrictions.

Our survey is encouraging as it suggests that video games are being advertised responsibly and in line with the [advertising] codes, said Christopher Graham, director general of the ASA.


31st January   

Update: Atheists vs Bus Bigots...

Atheist bus advert ban reported to Australia's Human Rights Commission
Link Here
Full story: Atheist Buses...Atheists fund adverts about enjoying life

National President of the Atheist Foundation of Australia, David Nicholls, is going to have to seek legal help to try to get his atheist bus ads approved.

APN Outdoor, the company who is in charge of advertising on buses in Adelaide and other cities, would not accept ads for an atheist bus campaign. According to a report on The Independent Weekly, Nicholl’s said: …they wouldn’t accept any ad from atheists. I spoke with sales staff in Adelaide, then higher sales staff in Brisbane, and finally to a sales executive in Sydney. He said APN would have to seek legal advice but they rang back in less than a minute saying they were not going to take our ad, no matter how it was worded.

As a result, the atheist group has decided to take the case to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. Nicholls said: The world-wide response demands we act decisively to release freedom of expression from the arbitrary control of bus company advertising executives. We therefore have no option but to seek legal means to that end.


31st January   

Update: Bussing in the Nutters...

Canadian Nutters that are all for free speech...BUT...
Link Here
Full story: Atheist Buses...Atheists fund adverts about enjoying life

The Toronto-based Freethought Association of Canada has now won approval from the Toronto Transit Commission to place ads on buses and inside subway cars that read: There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.

Brad Ross, a spokesman for the Toronto Transit Commission, confirmed that staff have decided the ads do not violate any of the TTC's rules. But that decision could be reviewed if complaints arise: Disallowing the ad may be a violation of the Ontario Human Rights Code and potentially a violation of the Charter ... so we have to look at it from a legal basis. We don't feel that there's any grounds to disallow the ad.

Charles McVety, president of the Canada Family Action Coalition, said his group has not decided whether it will formally complain about the ads once they appear.

On the surface, I'm all for free speech. ...HOWEVER... though, these are attack ads, McVety said in an interview: These ads are not saying what the atheists believe, they are attacking what other people believe. And if you look at the dictionary definition for ... bigot, that's exactly what it is, to be intolerant of someone else's belief system.


30th January   

Updated: Too Blue Jean...

Supporting the hype for Calvin Klein Jeans
Link Here

Calvin Klein hasn’t produced a TV commercial for its Jeans line since the Eighties but the brand will soon be back on the airwaves with a commercial that was initially banned from even late-night cable TV.

Steven Meisel shot the new Jeans commercial, which has a grainy quality and looks like it was produced in an old basement, with male and female models — including Anna Selezneva, Anna Jagodzinska and Natasha Poly — who aren’t wearing much more than their Calvins and are writhing around all over each other.

Calvin Klein is working on an edited version of the commercial that will air on cable, while outside the U.S., countries such as Italy, France, Spain and Germany will show the uncensored version.


29th January   

Updated: Twisted Nutter Logic...

ASA to censure Christian Voice for dangerous and nonsense claims about HPV vaccine
Link Here

The Advertising Standards Authority has recommended that a Christian group be censured for predicting that Government initiatives on teenage sexuality, including the HPV vaccine, will increase infertility among the young.

Christian Voice's Advertorial in the New Statesman earlier this year, which was headlined VIOLENT CRIME - SOWING AND REAPING, will be found to breach ASA codes on principles, substantiation and truthfulness.

The text of the advertorial said: There is a Biblical principle that we reap what we sow. It applies to nations as well as to individuals. What politicians sow, the people reap. When politicians sow evil, the people reap misery, and the poorest reap it the worst. The ad went on to describe the detrimental impact of government policies and legislation on society. It included the text Now we have the disaster of teenage infertility. Every government initiative, including the HPV vaccine, will increase it, but as all the targets revolve around pregnancy, no-one in power knows how many young people they are making sterile and nobody cares.

The officials demanded robust, scientific evidence that the HPV vaccine caused infertility in teenagers , missing the nutter view that it is the encouragement of promiscuity in Government teen sex initiatives which spreads the infections which do the damage, not the vaccine itself.

Their draft ruling says: the claim "Every government initiative, including the HPV vaccine, will increase it [teenage infertility]" was a statement of fact that was capable of substantiation. Christian Voice say requiring the substantiation of a future prediction in an opinion piece is preposterous and an infringement of freedom of speech.

Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, said today: It is a good job the Advertising Standards Authority was not around when the Old Testament was written, or we would be missing half the Christmas story. The ASA would have wanted Isaiah to substantiate his claim that 'a virgin shall conceive and shall bear a son' (Isa 7:14). They would have demanded 'robust, scientific evidence' that virgins can conceive.

It is simple common sense to realise that with the HPV vaccine, girls will think they are covered against everything, especially if they are on the pill as well, so promiscuity will rise and there will be even more Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia cases and even more infertility.

It is preposterous for the ASA to think they can outlaw Christian freedom of speech and free expression of opinion. The ASA may not like the fact that sodomy is an abomination in holy scripture, but they cannot alter it. Nor can their officials change God's word that sex outside marriage brings judgment. The Free Presbyterian Church will not back down, and by God's grace neither shall we. We shall keep telling Government and the teen sex industry that they are betraying young people in this country and that only God's ways of chastity and fidelity will halt the rise in teenage pregnancies and infertility.

Update: ASA Censure Confirmed

29th January 2009. From

An advertising feature in the New Statesman, on behalf of a religious group, had the headline VIOLENT CRIME - SOWING AND REAPING . Text underneath stated There is a Biblical principle that we reap what we sow. It applies to nations as well as to individuals. What politicians sow, the people reap. When politicians sow evil, the people reap misery, and the poorest reap it the worst.

The ad went on to describe what the advertisers considered to be the detrimental impact of government policies and various pieces of legislation on society. It included the text Now we have the disaster of teenage infertility. Every government initiative, including the HPV vaccine, will increase it, but as all the targets revolve around pregnancy, no-one in power knows how many young people they are making sterile and nobody cares. Text at the bottom of the ad stated: Christian Voice. Working for Godly government; praying for national repentance.

One complainant challenged whether the implied claim that the HPV vaccine would result in teenage infertility was misleading and could be substantiated.

ASA Decision

We considered that the claim Every government initiative, including the HPV vaccine, will increase it [teenage infertility] was a statement of fact that was a matter open to substantiation. We noted the webpage submitted by Christian Voice, but we did not consider that that webpage in itself was sufficient to support the claim. Because we had not seen robust, scientific evidence that the HPV vaccine caused infertility in teenagers, we concluded that the claim had not been substantiated and was misleading.

The ad breached CAP Code clauses 2.2 (Principles), 3.1 (Substantiation) and 7.1 (Truthfulness).

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Christian Voice not to repeat the implied claim that the HPV vaccine would result in teenage infertility.


29th January   

Who Are You Doing After the Game?...

The traditional sport of advert banning for the Super Bowl
Link Here

Thinking about cheating on your husband or wife? A new company wants to help you out:, a matchmaking service for people in the market for extramarital affairs.

But you won't be seeing ads for it at the Super Bowl, as ads were reportedly banned from the Official NFL Super Bowl Game Program, according to reports that were confirmed by

I find the rejection to be ridiculous given that a huge percentage of the NFL's marketing content is for products like alcohol, which they sell in their stadiums, promote on their air and have in the game program. That's a product that literally kills tens of thousands of people each year, said Noel Biderman, President of

We don't intend to let this pass. The NFL fan base is our core audience and we will find a way to let them know about the existence of this service and let them decide if it’s something for them, he added.


28th January   

Update: Licking Pumpkin...

PETA generate some PR for getting Veggie Love advert rejected
Link Here
Full story: Peta...Animal activists challenging the media

You may not agree with all the tactics of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), but you gotta appreciate their online marketing.

The organization said it created the sexy Veggie Love ad to run during this weekend’s Super Bowl, only to have it rejected by NBC.

Obviously, the ad wasn’t really meant to air on TV, so it’s hoping for viral life online.

According to the PETA blog, the reasons NBC gave for not carrying the ad are more amusing than the ad itself, with the network requesting that shots of licking pumpkin and rubbing asparagus on breast be removed before NBC would reconsider.

Similar stunts have been pulled in the past, so will this combination of sex and censorship deliver a hit?


26th January   

Update: The Voice of Gratitude...

Stephen Green whinges at the ASA
Link Here
Full story: Atheist Buses...Atheists fund adverts about enjoying life

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled in favour of newly-launched bus advertisement which claims there is There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.

Surely religions should be breathing a sigh of relief that they don't have justify religious claims before being able to erect posters and beg money etc.

But Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice claims in a press release that the advertisements broke the ASA's codes on substantiation and truthfulness:

The ASA website says: Advertisements are not allowed to mislead consumers. This means that advertisers must hold evidence to prove the claims they make about their products or services before an ad appears.

But in a ruling today, the ASA says the claim that there is probably no God is not capable of objective substantiation. It says further that the complaints were not 'serious' or 'widespread' enough.

Stephen Green said:

If the ASA had thought the humanists could provide evidence for their claim, they would have asked them for it. As they know there is no evidence for the proposition that 'there is probably no God', they have let their secularist friends off the hook.

The ASA have finessed Code 7.1, which says a ad should not mislead or be likely to mislead, ruling it would not be likely to mislead, so avoiding the thornier question of whether it actually does mislead. Which it does.

On 'taste and decency', the ASA have simply taken a subjective decision to dismiss the complaints of offensiveness. On planet ASA, complaints from people of faith are not given the same weight as those from secularists. But what do you expect when the ASA Council is appointed and run by a campaigning homosexual, Chris, Lord, Smith of Finsbury?

We always knew the ASA was just another tool of the politically-correct secularist establishment, but here's the proof. Their ruling is a good example of how the deck is stacked against Christians today, and the Church needs to wake up to the anti-Christian agenda right now. The good news is we now know that when the secularists decided to say: "There is probably no God", they had no reason for making that absurd claim, and time has not helped them come up with one. The bad news is that if Christians don't start standing up for their Faith and their Saviour soon, we shall see religious liberties trampled on, and the secularists will take us further down the road to their hell on earth.


22nd January   

Update: Nutters Must think There's No God...

Advertising censor wisely finds in favour of atheist bus adverts
Link Here
Full story: Atheist Buses...Atheists fund adverts about enjoying life

Atheist bus adverts have wisely been given the green light by the advertising censor, Advertising Standards Agency.

So far, 326 people have objected to the posters that have been placed on 800 buses around the country, which state: There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.

Some claimed the adverts were offensive while others said that their central claim about God's existence could not be substantiated.

The ASA has admitted that the adverts go against the beliefs of many people. But it has decided that they do not breach any part of its code and is not launching an investigation.

The decision is a victory for the British Humanist Association, which organised the campaign, as it had insisted the posters were only intended to reassure non-believers and not mock the religious. The slogan was created by Ariane Sherine, a comedy writer, as an antidote to posters placed on public transport by Christian groups that threaten eternal damnation to passengers.
The ASA said in a statement:

The Advertising Standards Authority has concluded that the 'There's probably no God' bus ad campaign by the British Humanist Association is not in breach of the advertising code. The ASA will therefore not launch an investigation and the case is now closed.

The ASA carefully assessed the 326 complaints it received. Some complained that the ad was offensive and denigratory to people of faith. Others challenged whether the ad was misleading because the advertiser would not be able to substantiate its claim that God 'probably' does not exist.

The ASA Council concluded that the ad was an expression of the advertiser's opinion and that the claims in it were not capable of objective substantiation.

Although the ASA acknowledges that the content of the ad would be at odds with the beliefs of many, it concluded that it was unlikely to mislead or to cause serious or widespread offence.


20th January   

Updated: Good and Bad News...

Italian atheists wind up Genoa's church bigwigs with bus adverts
Link Here
Full story: Atheist Buses...Atheists fund adverts about enjoying life

Atheists of the Italian Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics (UAAR) have just announced a plan to begin a bus advertising campaign denying the existence of God.

The launch, according to this report, is set for the northern Italian city of Genoa on February 4, and the Italian atheists are certainly not mincing their words. Their campaign slogan is:

The bad news is that God does not exist. The good news is that we do not need him.

The Roman Catholic archdiocese of Genoa is furious. Father Gianfranco Calabrese, who is responsible for the diocese’s catechism: There are some methods which promote dialogue and others which feed intolerance. Head-on opposition always demonstrates intolerance.

Wow! Talk about pots and kettles.

Update: The Bad News

20th January 2008. See article from

Genoa was chosen for the atheist bus campaign because it is home to the head of the Italian Catholic Bishops Conference Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco.

Cardinal Bagnasco was said to be furious about the proposal and told his officials write to the bus company and advertising firm in charge of the campaign to express their opposition.

The is said to have been delighted when he was then given the news that at the last minute the campaign had been cancelled.

A spokesman for the Italian Union of Atheists and Rationalist Agnostics, which organised the campaign, said yesterday: It appears that buses can carry campaigns for underwear and holidays with no problem but if you ask for space to say God doesn't exist then you are denied.'


17th January   

Update: There's Probably No God...

But there's plenty of nutters
Link Here
Full story: Atheist Buses...Atheists fund adverts about enjoying life

A Christian bus driver has refused to drive a bus with an atheist slogan proclaiming There's probably no God.

Ron Heather from Southampton responded with shock and horror at the message and walked out of his shift in protest.

First Bus said it would do everything in its power to ensure Heather does not have to drive the buses.

Heather told BBC Radio Solent: I was just about to board and there it was staring me in the face, my first reaction was shock horror. I felt that I could not drive that bus, I told my managers and they said they haven't got another one and I thought I better go home, so I did. I think it was the starkness of this advert which implied there was no God.

The advertisements run on 200 bendy buses in London and 600 vehicles in England, Scotland and Wales.

Based on article from

MPs haven't been taking the wise advice and are getting wound up worrying about life.

Gregory Campbell has proposed Early Day Motion 424 : No God Advertising

That this House notes the recent advertising campaign based on London buses, There's Probably No God, the brainchild of the British Humanist Association; also notes the fact that the rationale behind it is that people can be less careful about their lifestyle choices and general approach to life's consequences by discounting the likelihood of a Creator and an afterlife; and recommends to Christian groups considering alternative advertising approaches to There's Probably No God to counter it with the simple addition of But What If There Is?

This has been signed by Nicholas Winterton, Bob Spink, Lee Scott, David Simpson and Ann Winterton.

Bob Spink has proposed Early Day Motion 403 : Offensive Advertisements On Public Transport

That this House notes that posters with the slogan `There's Probably No God. Now Stop Worrying and Enjoy Your Life', appear on 800 buses in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as on the London Underground; notes that this causes concern to Christian and Muslim people, many of whom feel embarrassed and uncomfortable travelling on public transport displaying such advertisements and would not wish to endorse the advertisements by using that public transport; regrets that the British Humanist Association backs the campaign; and calls on Ministers responsible for public transport and advertising media to investigate this matter and to seek to remove these religiously offensive and morally unhelpful advertisements.

This has been signed by Jim Dobbin, Gregory Campbell, David Drew, David Simpson, Ann Cryer and Marsha Singh.


12th January   

Blown Out of All Proportion...

Ann Summers sale advert amuses Watford
Link Here

Adult retailer Ann Summers has apologised for offending a shopper with one of its saucy shop fronts. But it did not say it would remove the window display’s suggestive sale sign despite a letter from the council asking them to tone it down.

Harrow council wrote to the sex toy and lingerie chain over the sign in which an elongated letter ‘l’ in 'sale' is depicted in an apparent sex act below the catchline get excited.
Ann Summers

Kevin Gooch was shocked to be confronted by the image when he was out shopping with his young son in the Harlequin shopping centre in Watford. In a letter to the Harrow Times, which prompted the council to take action, he said: I was surprised and somewhat shocked to see Ann Summers displaying a pair of open lips with a five foot erect penis just about to enter into them. I feel this sends out a very strong message. I do not want my young children to be subjected to this kind of subliminal messaging when going shopping.

Harrow council’s deputy leader Susan Hall wrote to retail boss Jacqueline Gold to ask her to consider changing the display. The lips image is an obviously suggestive one, and not even Mary Poppins would think it doesn’t refer to a sex act.

An Ann Summers spokeswoman said it had not yet received the council’s letter but the sale signs had been used for the past three and a half years.

She said: We aim to have fun in what we do without offending. However, we do take our role seriously and apologise if we have offended the customer in question and what he has interpreted from our window.


9th January   

Update: There's Probably No God...

Advert censor ponders the unlikely existence of a god
Link Here
Full story: Atheist Buses...Atheists fund adverts about enjoying life

The advertising censor is being called upon to rule on the likelihood of God's existence after complaints were made about the atheist bus advert campaign.

Censors at the Advertising Standards Authority are now considering whether to tackle the question that has taxed the minds of the world's greatest thinkers for centuries.

It has recorded 48 complaints since Tuesday when buses first hit the streets emblazoned with the message: There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life. At least 40 more people were understood to have made objections by last night.

Most of those who have contacted the ASA consider the adverts offensive and say they break guidelines on taste and decency.

Stephen Green, the nutter behind Christian Voice is claiming they should be taken down because the statement in the adverts cannot be substantiated: If you're going to put out what appears to be a factual statement then you have to be able to back it up. They've got to substantiate this proposition that in all probability, God doesn't exist.

The ASA is now considering whether to investigate his complaint, which could lead to it reaching a deep ontological conclusion about a supreme being. If it ruled that the wording in the posters was unsubstantiated, it would be interpreted as effectively saying that in all probability God does exist. Ruling that the words were justified could be taken as an agreement that God probably does not exist.

Members of the public donated ฃ140,000 to the Atheist Bus Campaign after its founder, the writer Ariane Sherine, suggested there should be an antidote to religious posters on public transport that threaten eternal damnation to non-believers.

Some supporters of the movement had wanted a stronger slogan that denied God's existence categorically. But the word "probably" was included in order to meet ASA rules.

The British Humanist Association, which is co-ordinating the campaign, said it was confident the chosen wording will not be banned by the censor.

The ASA said: We are assessing these complaints to see whether there are grounds for an investigation.

There's Probably No God in Spain Either

Based on article from

Meanwhile the posting of atheist advertising on Barcelona's buses has been branded an attack on all religions.

Next week, Barcelona will become the first city in Spain to copy the UK campaign when its buses use a direct translation of the slogan adopted in Britain. Madrid, Valencia and other cities are being targeted to run similar campaigns.

Probablemente Dios no existe. Deja de preocuparte y goza de la vida, it reads, translating as There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy life.

The campaign has provoked a reaction from the Catholic archbishopric of Barcelona. Faith in God is not a source of worry, nor is it an obstacle for enjoying life, it said in a statement.

It is an attack on all religions, said Javier Maria Perez-Roldan of the church's Tomas Moro centre, blaming the socialist government for the privately funded campaign: The government has created an atmosphere of belligerence.


8th January   

Update: Longer Lasting Censorship...

Limp advert censor demands take down of Longer Lasting Sex ad
Link Here

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.


7th January   

Gambling on an Appeal...

Ladbrokes appeal against humourless advertising censor
Link Here

Ladbrokes accused the advertising censor of excessive political correctness after it was ordered to pull television commercials offering Ladbrokes Casino as an alternative to over exaggerated recklessness.

A single viewer objected to two commercials in the bookmaker's campaign for its gambling website, which carried the strapline Quench your thrill buds.

The advertisements sent up thrill-seeking individuals, relating in documentary style the fates of a deep-sea diver who dressed in a seal costume before plunging into shark-infested waters, and a skydiver who tried to use a crisp packet as a parachute.

The Advertising Standards Authority said it accepted Ladbrokes' argument that the advertisements were humorous and the protagonists' behaviour was ridiculous and unlikely to be seen by viewers as realistic or aspirational.

But it ruled that their overall context, including the claim that if only he'd seen it would have quenched his thrill buds, portrayed gambling in a context of toughness and linked it to excessive risk-taking and reckless behaviour.

The bookmaker said it would appeal, saying the ASA had wrongly applied the broadcast advertising standards code and was, in effect, banning humour in gambling adverts.

Tim Duffy, UK chief executive of M&C Saatchi, said if the appeal were unsuccessful, the ruling could present serious challenges for creating gambling campaigns.


6th January   

Army of Whinging Clones...

100 complaints about Volkswagen TV advert
Link Here

A UK TV ad for the Volkswagen Golf featuring a series of fight scenes between a car designer and clones of himself has attracted more than 100 complaints to the advertising censor.

The Advertising Standards Authority has received 115 complaints about the ad and is investigating whether the ad is in breach of the broadcast advertising code for featuring excessive violence that could be copied by children.

Complainants have objected that the ad is supposedly offensive because the depiction of violence is excessive, inappropriate to be seen by children, should not be shown before the 9pm watershed and may encourage emulation.

The TV ad, which draws inspiration from the Bourne and Matrix movie fight scenes, opens in the office of the chief designer at the German VW factory. He answers a knock at his door and is confronted by a sinister clone of himself who punches him. The designer fights back then tries to escape from his attacker, only to be confronted by more and more clones as he is pursued through the VW factory.

After he has defeated the last of his assailants, the chief designer is seen looking at the new VW Golf. Sometimes the only one you have to beat is yourself, runs the voiceover.


4th January   

Update: Longer Lasting Whinges...

10 Longer Lasting Sex adverts removed
Link Here

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.

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