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Advertising News

2009: Oct-Dec

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26th December   

Nazis at ASA...

ASA rejects complaints about TV advert for Dead Snow
Link Here

A TV ad, for the DVD release of the 18 certified film Dead Snow , featured scenes from the film showing a burning torch in front of a Nazi flag, a zombie hand smashing through a window and grabbing a woman's neck, and women screaming. A voice-over stated It's time for the dead to rise . The ad then showed a crowd of zombies, with bloody faces and in Nazi uniforms, roaring aggressively as they charged through snow towards two people who were wielding a chainsaw and sledgehammer; one of the zombies seemed to resemble Hitler. Blood splatters appeared on the screen and text stated EIN! ZWEI! DIE! .

The ASA received four complaints:

  1. Three viewers objected that the violence in the ad was too offensive to be shown on TV.
  2. Two viewers thought the Nazi imagery in the ad was offensive; one of them mentioned the broadcast's proximity to the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War.
  3. Two viewers, who both saw the ad after 9 pm, objected that it was inappropriately scheduled because it had frightened their children (aged 10, 11 and 12).

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA considered that the scene showing two men approaching zombies at speed with a chainsaw, and ensuing splashes of blood, was likely to be seen as a depiction of violence. However, we considered that the ad, which was recognisably for a fictitious horror film, did not display levels of violence explicit enough to render it too offensive to be shown on TV, and that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to viewers after 9 pm.

2. Not upheld

We considered that, particularly because the ad was shown around the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, some viewers might find the Nazi imagery tasteless. However, we were of the view that the portrayal of the Nazis as zombies made the ad seem unrealistic. We also noted the ad was kept away from particular programmes where Nazi imagery in advertising could be seen as especially offensive. We considered that the action taken by Clearcast minimised the possibility of the Nazi imagery causing serious or widespread offence to viewers, and was sufficient.

3. Not upheld

We acknowledged that young children might find the ad upsetting or frightening, but considered that a post 9 pm restriction was sufficient to keep it away from those children, because most viewers would be aware that more adult material was more likely to be shown after 9 pm.


20th December   

Tits at ASA...

ASA upholds complaint about advert for Adventureland
Link Here

An internet ad for the cinema release of the film Adventureland showed the torso of a woman wearing a white T-shirt with the word Adventureland written on it. On-screen text at the top of the screen stated From the director of SUPERBAD. In Cinemas 11th September while text at the bottom of the ad stated Lift my shirt to see more. Click and drag up with your mouse . If users followed the on-screen instructions, the woman removed her T-shirt revealing that she was naked underneath. A large black rectangle appeared on the screen to cover her breasts and then grew to fill the entire screen. The film trailer was then shown.

Issue: A complainant challenged whether:

1. the ad was offensive because it encouraged users to lift the woman's shirt in a voyeuristic manner; and

2. the ad was inappropriately located on the Yahoo! news page where it could easily be seen by children.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

Issue 1

The ASA considered that, before any action was taken, the ad implied users would be able to expose the woman's breasts by using the computer mouse to lift up her top, as encouraged by the on-screen instructions. We noted, although the woman's breasts were obscured by a black rectangle, this was not apparent until the user had already taken action. We acknowledged that the film was about the experiences of a teenage boy before he went to college, but noted removing the woman's top had no direct link to the content of the film trailer that followed and was therefore gratuitous. We concluded that, because users were encouraged to take action to remove the woman's top in order to see her breasts, the ad was likely to cause serious offence to some users.

Issue 2.

Upheld The ASA noted Yahoo!'s assertion that the audience for the Yahoo! News page was overwhelmingly over 18 years of age. However, we considered that the site was of general interest and likely to appeal to a broad range of internet users and that the ad was not protected through age verification or targeting. We considered that because users were actively encouraged to remove the woman's top, the ad was unsuitable for children and that Walt Disney had not taken adequate steps to ensure it was appropriately targeted. We concluded that the ad was in breach of the Code.


20th December   

Chewing the Fat...

ASA rejects complaint about man breasts
Link Here

A poster, for the campaign group PETA, featured a picture of a man's naked torso; the man appeared to have breasts. Text stated Dude Looks Like a Lady? Lose the Breasts. Go Vegetarian.

Issue 1. Two complainants objected that the ad was misleading, because it implied that the appearance of breasts in men was solely down to a poor diet and obesity. They believed that the man featured had gynaecomastia (a condition in which breast tissue is formed in men), which was caused by a hormonal imbalance that could not be resolved by dieting or becoming vegetarian.

Issue 2. Two complainants objected that the ad was offensive and insensitive to sufferers of gynaecomastia.

ASA Assessment: Not Upheld

Issue 1.

The ASA noted the ad featured a pronounced instance of male breast tissue and noted PETAs comment that the individual was obese, not someone suffering from gynaecomastia. We understood that obesity was one of several different conditions that resulted in such development, including also gynaecomastia caused by a hormone imbalance. We noted the ads emphasis on improving diet and considered that readers were likely to understand the ad in the context of the negative impact that obesity could have on the male body, not as a reference to people with gynaecomastia. There was nothing in the ad that implied poor diet and obesity were the sole reason for the appearance of male breasts and we considered that readers were likely to understand that other reasons, including medical conditions, could lead to their appearance. We therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to mislead.

Issue 2.

Not upheld We noted the image and the complainants concern over the links to gynaecomastia. However, we considered that readers were likely to understand the ad in the context of the negative impact that poor diet and obesity could have on the male body, not as a reference to people with gynaecomastia. Although we acknowledged that the image might be seen as distasteful to those suffering from gynaecomastia, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.


18th December   

Update: Censorship Wrinkles...

ASA upholds complaint about touched up Twiggy
Link Here
Full story: Photoshopped Models...Campaigners to ban photoshopped adverts

We received identical complaints about a magazine ad for the Olay Definity eye illuminator from over 700 members of the public who complained via a website campaign. Their complaints were forwarded to the ASA by Jo Swinson MP. We also received a complaint from a member of the public who contacted us directly. All the complainants challenged whether the ad was misleading because they believed the image of Twiggy had been digitally re-touched; the people who complained as part of Jo Swinson's campaign also complained that the ad was socially irresponsible.

A magazine ad for the Olay Definity eye illuminator featured an image of the model Twiggy. A testimonial adjacent to her stated Olay is my secret to brighter-looking eyes!. Further text stated Because younger-looking eyes never go out of fashion. Olay Definity eye illuminator. Reduces the look of wrinkles and dark circles for brighter, younger-looking eyes. Issue

1. Many complainants, who had forwarded their complaints to Jo Swinson MP as part of a website campaign, objected that the ad was misleading and socially irresponsible. They believed the image of Twiggy had been digitally retouched and the use of post-production techniques could have a negative impact on peoples perceptions of their own body image.

2. One complainant, who contacted the ASA directly, objected that the ad was misleading, because it implied that Twiggys appearance in the ad was achieved solely through the use of Olay Definity rather than with the assistance of photographic post-production.

ASA Decision: 1. & 2. Upheld

The ASA noted the original ad seen by the complainants had been withdrawn and replaced with one that did not have re-touching around Twiggys eyes. We acknowledged that advertisers were keen to present their products in their most positive light using techniques such as post-production enhancement and the re-touching of images. However, we considered that the post-production re-touching of this ad, specifically in the eye area, could give consumers a misleading impression of the effect the product could achieve. We considered that the combination of references to younger-looking eyes, including the claim Reduces the look of wrinkles and dark circles for brighter, young-looking eyes, and post-production re-touching of Twiggys image around the eye area was likely to mislead.

Notwithstanding that, we considered that consumers were likely to expect a degree of glamour in images for beauty products and would therefore expect Twiggy to have been professionally styled and made-up for the photo shoot, and to have been photographed professionally. We also noted the ad appeared in a magazine that targeted mature women and considered that readers of Good Housekeeping magazine and the Sunday Times Style Supplement would understand that the ad set out to associate the well-known mature female model with a brand, and would not infer that Twiggys appearance in the ad was achieved solely through the use of Olay Definity. We concluded that, in the context of an ad that featured a mature model likely to appeal to women of an older age group, the image was unlikely to have a negative impact on perceptions of body image among the target audience and was not socially irresponsible.


14th December   

Toyota Take a Good Pounding...

Toyota take down innuendo laden car advert
Link Here

Toyota held an online competition for a short film promoting Yaris, a car sold mainly to young women, then launch the winning film onto social network sites.

But Toyota Australia decided to pull the winning film from its website after complaints that the video was sexist and even incestuous.

The advertisement for Toyota Yaris, called Clean Getaways , shows a father and his daughter's boyfriend enjoying a conversation laden with double entendres abut the young couple's forthcoming date.

As the girl hovers in the background, the men's conversation includes phrases such as I'm here to take Jennifer's virginity out tonight, She can take a good pounding, and I'll have her on her back by 11. The young girl joins in, saying; I'm ready to blow.

The video, which won the online Clever Film Comp organised by Toyota in conjunction with advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi, immediately drew attacks from readers of the competition's Facebook page.

One entry reads: I have written and lodged a formal complaint with Toyota's Australian head office regarding this specific competition entry/winner, and asks others to do the same while another describes the film as offensive and degrading.

Another strangely complains: The ad ...has incestous overtones. Others describe the advertisement as sick and ridiculous

Toyota spokesman Mike Breen said he could not say how many complaints the car maker had received about the video, but the company was sorry if it had caused offence.

Breen said the ad was shown to Toyota's social media unit before being posted online, and they generally judged (it) to be OK before it went onto the internet.


10th December   

Tongue in Who's Cheek?...

Women whinge at Australian gentlemen's club billboard
Link Here

BConfidential co-owner Lisa Boorer has received a series of abusive and threatening phone calls and emails over her Spring Hill gentlemen's club's billboards. A staff member also had beer cans thrown at him while driving a BConfidential-branded car.

BConfidential features a restaurant, poker nights, live music and lap dancing.

In October, the ad, Tell your wife you'll be late , sparked seven official complaints to the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB).

Now the club is having the last laugh after the bureau recently dismissed the complaints over the billboard, allowing it to be displayed throughout Brisbane.

The complainants had claimed the billboard degraded women, undermined marriage and promoted infidelity.

We are really pleased with the ASB decision, Ms Boorer said, we knew we hadn't breached any advertising laws. The most interesting thing is that the complaints are from a small group of women. The billboard doesn't tell anyone to lie or to be deceitful. It is tongue-in-cheek, and a lot of our male and female clientele really like it.

I really think society has lost its sense of humour and political correctness has gone haywire, Ms Boorer said.


3rd December   

Standard Claims...

ASA allows ads claiming news 'truth' and the 'full story'
Link Here

A poster, for Press TV, a satellite news channel, stated Press TV giving a voice to the voiceless. 24/7 News truth. The world is changing. People are changing. Opinions are changing. The news is changing. Why do you still watch the same tired news channel? Get the full story at Press TV.

Issue Four complainants challenged whether:

  1. the ad was misleading, because it did not make clear that the channel was owned by the Iranian government
  2. the claim 24/7 NEWS TRUTH
  3. the claim the full story

were misleading, because they implied that the channel offered unbiased reporting of news events, which they did not believe was the case.

ASA Decision: Not Upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that it was not common practice for news channels to state who they were owned or funded by in their advertising material and, in not stating who the owner was, we did not consider the ad was misleading on this point.

2. Not upheld

We considered that 24/7 TRUTH would be seen as the station's opinion of the information it provided rather than an objective claim. We concluded that the ad was not misleading on this point.

3. Not upheld

We noted that the website links and news footage provided by Press TV showed that there had been regular coverage of the events in Iran after the presidential election results were announced. Because Press TV had shown us that they had provided coverage of the opposition to the election results, including the post-election unrest and banned rallies, we concluded that the claim the full story was not misleading.


2nd December   

Angels and Nutters...

Nutters whinge at Joanna Krupa's PETA adverts
Link Here

The Catholic League has condemned Joanna Krupa's racy ads for PETA in which she lobbies against pet stores and animal breeding.

In the Be An Angel for Animals campaign, the Playboy model and Dancing with the Stars alum appears as a nude, winged angel: in one, she holds a strategically placed crucifix; in another, she holds her dog and a rosary.

The Catholic League, calling PETA animal killers and a fraud, says that the organization exploits Christian symbols with the new Krupa billboards.

Krupa fired back in a statement:  As a practicing Catholic, I am shocked that the Catholic League is speaking out against my PETA ads, which I am very proud of. I'm doing what the Catholic Church should be doing, working to stop senseless suffering of animals, the most defenseless of god's creation.


12th November   

Update: Sweet Words...

Advert censor clears Cadbury fair trade advert
Link Here

The advertising censor, ASA has cleared Cadbury of racism and perpetuating colonial stereotypes of African people in its latest TV advertising campaign.

Cadbury's campaign featured Ghanaian musician Tinny and aimed to promote the chocolate brand's tie-up with the Fairtrade organisation for cocoa from the African nation for its Dairy Milk range.

The Advertising Standards Authority received 29 complaints that the TV campaign was demeaning to African people and perpetuated racial stereotypes.

However, the ASA's council has decided not to formally investigate the complaints. Although the council acknowledges that Cadbury had used stereotypes in their ads, they felt that the stereotypes were not harmful or offensive, said the ASA, which argued that most ads use some form of stereotype device to get a message across.


11th November   

Update: Unreal...

Body Image campaigners call to ban photoshopped adverts
Link Here
Full story: Photoshopped Models...Campaigners to ban photoshopped adverts

Airbrushed adverts of thin-ideal models pose a significant risk to the health of young women, claim 'experts'.

Women's daily exposure to images of perfection is linked to depression, insecurity and eating disorders, says a study by 40 doctors, psychologists and academics.

The findings have sparked fresh calls for the Advertising Standards Authority to clamp down on airbrushed pictures. So far the ASA has said there is not enough evidence that such images do harm.

The Impact of Media Images on Body Image and Behaviours report said: Body dissatisfaction is a significant risk for physical health, mental health, and thus well-being. Any factor, such as idealised images, that increases body dissatisfaction is thus an important influence on well-being. It added that exposure to thin-ideal images produced significant increases in self-reported depression, stress, guilt, shame, insecurity and body dissatisfaction .

Not So Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson, who has campaigned against airbrushing, said the ASA now has all the scientific evidence it needs to act .


4th November   

Update: Not Guilty...

ASA reject complaints about Antichrist press advert
Link Here
Full story: Extreme Cuts...Lars Von Trier sexual violence causes a stir

A national press ad for the film Antichrist , which appeared in The Times, The Guardian and The Independent, showed a naked man and woman having sex. They seemed to be lying at the base of a tree, from which hands protruded. Text stated WHEN NATURE TURNS EVIL, TRUE TERROR AWAITS ... 18 CONTAINS STRONG REAL SEX, BLOODY VIOLENCE AND SELF-MUTILATION . The ad contained several quotes from reviews, including ... CINEMA AT ITS MOST EXTREME ... THE STRANGEST AND MOST ORIGINAL HORROR MOVIE OF THE YEAR ... NOTHING CAN PREPARE YOU FOR THE EXPERIENCE OF ANTICHRIST. NOTHING ... THE MOST SHOCKING FILM IN THE HISTORY OF THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL ... .

7 complainants, some of whom said the ad's imagery was pornographic, thought the depiction of a naked couple having sex was offensive and inappropriate for publication in a newspaper where it might be seen by children.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA considered that the ad, which had a dark tone, was unlikely to cause sexual excitement and was therefore not pornographic.

We were of the view that The Times, The Guardian and The Independent were read mostly by adults and, although the possibility of children seeing the ad in those publications could not be ruled out, we considered it unlikely. If children did see the ad, we considered it was not particularly explicit and the dream-like context, introduced by the hands protruding from the tree (or roots), had the effect of making the image of the naked couple seem removed from reality. We noted the film itself contained graphic scenes of sex, and considered that readers would understand that the image of the naked couple in the ad was relevant to the advertised product.

We considered that the ad did not go too far in its depiction of the film's content, and was unlikely to be seen as irresponsible or cause serious or widespread offence to readers of The Times, The Guardian and The Independent.


3rd November   

Big Tits at London Underground...

Insist upon an enormous pair of buns to cover up Kelly Brook advert
Link Here

When Kelly Brook signed up to appear in the latest cast of the stage play Calendar Girls advertisers must have looked forward to making the most of her assets on its promotional literature.

Alas, they did not count on the prudery of London Underground. David Pugh, the producer, tells me that three different posters of Brook, 29, covering her nude torso with iced buns of ever-increasing size were submitted to Transport for London to appear inside Tube trains and to adorn the sides of escalators, before finally winning approval. Apparently they are worried about titillating customers, he says. It is ludicrous. These buns are almost impossible to lift now. They are more like flans. I thought they were joking when we got the first response. We certainly never had this problem with Jerry Hall.

A spokesprat for London Underground says: We asked for a few tweaks to the pictures but they are fine now.


22nd October   

Updated: Debate Heats Up...

UK Government climate change advert receives 200 complaints
Link Here

The advertising censor ASA has received more than 200 complaints that the government's latest TV campaign on climate change is misleading.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change  (DECC) launched the £6m campaign, in which the government throws its weight behind the scientific evidence that climate change is man-made and will affect us all.

DECC said it has taken the stronger approach because research has shown that more than half of the UK public think climate change will have no effect on them.

However, over the past week the Advertising Standards Authority has received 202 complaints about the campaign.

Some have argued that there is no scientific evidence of climate change; others claim there is a division of scientific opinion on this issue and therefore the ad should not have attributed global warming to human activity.

Another complaint was that the ad, which features a father telling his daughter a scary bedtime story about climate change, is inappropriate to be seen by children because it is upsetting and scaremongering .

The ASA is assessing the complaints and will make a decision on whether to launch an investigation in due course.

Update: Drowning in a Sea of Complaints

22nd October 2009. Based on article from

The ASA, the Advertising censor, is to consider the Government climate change TV advert which featured a drowning puppy and rabbits dying of thirst.

The ASA said the advert had prompted more than 350 complaints and that it would now be launching an investigation.

It will now look into claims that the film should not have been shown before the 9pm watershed because children would have been watching. The censor will also examine whether the advert would have been distressing for youngsters and whether it constituted scaremongering .

Others have also complained that the advert which is part of a £6million campaign had presented human caused climate change as fact and challenged the statistics used. Critics also suggested that the content was political and accused it of being propaganda.

The investigation is expected to last for two to three months before a ruling is made.


11th October   

Fruits and Nuts...

Whingeing at Cadbury fair trade advert set in Ghana
Link Here

Chocolate firm Cadbury has been accused of racism and perpetuating colonial stereotypes of African people in its latest advertising campaign. A poster and television advert created in Ghana for Dairy Milk has infuriated a number of prominent equality campaigners and Ghanaian leaders in the UK.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) meets this week to discuss initiating a formal investigation into Cadbury's TV advert - slogan show us your cocoa beam - which features a giant, negroid rotating head that unleashes mass dancing among what appear to be highly excitable people in an African village.

The advert and an associated poster campaign mark the chocolate firm's move to Fairtrade, but critics say this move has been overshadowed by the campaign's portrayal of African people as buffooning simpletons .

Toyin Agbetu, the founder of Ligali, a UK-based African human rights organisation, said: The video makes Africans look like buffooning simpletons. The biggest presence on the advert is a giant mask that people fall about in front of. Part of being able to use the Fairtrade brand should also include a responsibility to advertise ethically.

Paul Epworth, a British producer, was flown out to produce the advert, which is also online as a full-length music video to raise money for Care International. The song Zingolo features Ghanaian musicians, but Mr Agbetu said: The fact that Ghanaian musicians and artists were involved is sad, but it does not excuse it.

Nii Armah Akomfrah, the chairman of the UK branch of the Ghanaian political opposition group the Convention People's Party, has sent a letter of complaint to the Cadbury board on behalf of his party and British Ghanaians. He said Ghanaian groups in the UK will protest outside the chocolate producer's headquarters in Birmingham if the advert is not taken off air. People are disappointed. It's like making an advert about America and only showing images of Harlem, he said. It's a colonial mentality and stuff like this just brings the country down.

Cadbury said it had been made aware of the ASA complaints and was co-operating fully. Phil Rumbol, the marketing director at Cadbury, said: We completely reject these allegations. This campaign has been widely welcomed by Ghanaians, including community leaders both in Ghana and in the UK.


8th October   

Degraded Censors...

ASA declare mild innuendo as seriously offensive
Link Here

A poster, for, featured the cleavage of a woman wearing a white bra. Text stated Nice Headlamps. What do you look for in a car?... .

44 complainants challenged whether the poster was offensive, because it objectified women, degraded them and was sexist. Some complainants also considered that the poster implied that women, like cars, were commodities to be bought and sold.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

The ASA noted some complainants believed the poster was offensive because, by primarily targeting a male audience, it implied that women did not need to buy or sell cars and was therefore sexist. We considered that, while distasteful, the poster did not go as far as to suggest that the service was only of relevance to men and was therefore unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence on the basis that it was sexist.

We noted some complainants believed the poster implied that women were commodities to be bought or sold. We considered that the image of the woman's cleavage coupled with the strapline Nice Headlamps. What do you look for in a car? was likely to be seen to objectify and degrade women by linking attributes of a woman, her cleavage, to attributes of a car, the headlamps, in a way that would be seen to imply a woman, like a car, was to be selected for those attributes.

We concluded that the poster had caused serious offence to some readers and was likely to cause widespread offence.


4th October   

Bad Teens...

ASA whinge at the use of the word 'teen' in phone sex ads
Link Here

An ad in The Independent, for an adult telephone chat service, showed a picture of a young woman's face. Text underneath stated From 60p per min 1-2-1 SEX BAD TEENS 0909 xxxxxx mobile 89xxx text SWEET to 79xxx .

A complainant challenged whether the ad:

1. was offensive and unsuitable for publication in a newspaper where it could be viewed by children;

2. was irresponsible and harmful because it sexualised teenagers.

The Independent explained that the ad appeared in the context of a page of adult advertisements that appeared in the same section of the newspaper on a weekly basis. They said that the reference to teens did not make the ad indecent since many millions of teens were over the age of consent and were entitled to view adult material. They said the girl in the ad did not look any younger than those depicted in the surrounding ads and believed it was clear that there was no intention to encourage underage sexual activity. They explained that despite this, the ad would not appear again in order to avoid upsetting its readers.

ASA Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA considered that the placement of the ad in the classified section in the middle of a magazine supplement from a national newspaper and its overall presentation was such that it was unlikely to attract the attention, or interest, of children. Although we acknowledged that some people would find the nature of the services distasteful, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause offence to readers of the classified section of The Independent or harm children.

2. Upheld

The ASA acknowledged that the operators on the premium rate service were all over the age of 18 years. We considered that the combination of the headline BAD TEENS, the service keyword SWEET and the image of the young woman in the ad would imply to some readers that they were being invited to take part in a sexual phone conversation with teenagers who might be under the age of 18. We concluded that the ad was socially irresponsible because it implied that the operators on the service might be young women who were not yet adults.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clause 2.2 (Social responsibility).

Action The ad should not appear again in its current form. We told Candywall to ensure they did not use text or images that implied the chat service might be provided by young women under the age of 18 years.


See article from

A similar judgement was issued for another adult telephone chat service which showed a picture of a young woman in a vest top. Text said EASY TEENS WILLING TO PLEASE! XXX LIVE FILTH. 0909 xxxxxx TEXT 'EASY' TO 69xxx .


3rd October   

Bound to Censor...

ASA whinges at advert for mosaic tiles
Link Here

Three ads, for Bisazza mosaic tiles appeared in Vogue magazine, The World of Interiors, Elle Decoration and Wallpaper magazines

  • Ad (a) woman, styled with geisha hair, make-up and clothing, was shown lying on her back on a mosaic tiled floor. She was bound across the shoulders and waist with rope and was looking at the camera with a submissive expression.
  • Ad (b) used the same creative treatment as ad (a), although the woman was shown lying on her side and her kimono had ridden up to expose her thighs. She was looking at the camera and appeared visibly upset.
  • Ad (c) was a double-page spread. On the first page, the geisha was seated on a rock with her feet placed on a mosaic-tiled floor. She was bound across the torso and was looking at the camera. The second page used the same image as ad (a).
  • Issue 1. Four complainants challenged whether the ad (a) was offensive, because it seemed to condone sexual violence against women.
  • Issue 2. Six complainants challenged whether ad (b) was offensive, because it seemed to condone sexual violence against women.
  • Issue 3. One complainant challenged whether ad (c) was offensive, because it was demeaning to women.

ASA Assessment

1. & 3. Not upheld

We considered the geisha could be viewed by some as striking submissive poses in ads (a) and (c). However, we also noted the images were not dark or threatening and were artistic and highly stylised.

Although we noted some readers found ads (a) and (c) distasteful, given that the images were highly stylised and appeared in both high fashion and upmarket interior magazines, we considered that they were unlikely to be interpreted by most readers as either condoning sexual violence against women or demeaning them. We concluded that ads (a) and (c) were therefore unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to the readers of Vogue or Elle Decoration.

2. Upheld

We noted the geisha again was shown in a submissive pose, appeared visibly upset and was shown with her kimono pushed up to expose her thigh. Notwithstanding the highly stylised nature of the ads, we considered that the creative treatment could be seen to imply that sexual violence had taken place or was about to take place.

We concluded that, although it also appeared in high fashion and upmarket interior magazines, ad (b) had caused serious offence to some readers of The World of Interiors, Elle Decoration and Wallpaper magazines.

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


1st October   

Update: Whingeing Basterds...

ASA dismiss complaints about adverts for Inglourious Basterds
Link Here

A poster and radio ad for the film Inglourious Basterds.

a. The poster featured an image of three men holding guns and a knife.

b. The radio ad featured sound clips from the film; the voice-over stated Quentin Tarantino brings you his most inglourious, most wildest adventure yet, utterly glorious ... Inglourious Basterds in cinemas Wednesday.

Issue 1. Six complainants objected that the word basterd was offensive and inappropriate for display on a poster or where it could be seen by children.

Issue 2. One listener objected that the word basterd was offensive and inappropriate for broadcast when it could be heard by children.

ASA Assessment: Not Upheld

Issue 1. Not upheld. The ASA considered that although the word basterd would be considered distasteful by some, it was presented in the context of a film and was not used in an aggressive or derogatory manner or used to verbally attack someone. Because the word was presented in such a way as to make it clear that it referred to a film, and care was taken in its placement to mitigate its exposure to children, we considered that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence, or be seen as socially irresponsible.

Issue 2. Not upheld. We noted the steps Universal had taken to ensure that the radio ads were scheduled in such as way to avoid times when children were most likely to be listening. We considered that the ad was unlikely to be of particular appeal to children and, because it was clear the word referred to the title of a film, we concluded it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or harm children.


1st October   

Update: Adverts on Demand...

Clearcast offer their advert vetting services to VOD providers
Link Here
Full story: ATVOD Censorship on Demand...ATVOD appointed as internet TV censors

Clearcast, the body responsible for the pre-transmission clearance of TV ads, is to offer compliance advice to video-on-demand providers who run advertising.

Ofcom plans to introduce new rules from 19 December that will mean VoD services are formally regulated for the first time.

The current shareholders of Clearcast asked it to establish a service to offer voluntary compliance advice on VoD ads before they are screened.

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