The Daily Mirror were trying to be clever at the expense of the Sun. They produced an advert using an
illusion where elbows in the bath can look like breasts at first glance, but a closer look reveals just elbows.
The Daily Mirror poster used the illusion with the strap line: We're not like other tabloids and the hashtag #Madeyouthink.
However, the image proved too risque for poster sites on the London Underground, with the ever staid Transport for London, refusing to allow it to be run.
An ad on YouTube for the 18 PEGI rated videogame The Evil Within showed a darkened corridor, interspersed with shots of work tools. It showed a man sitting, in a darkened room, at a workbench, working with barbed wire and then cut to a man who was
studded with broken glass. It also showed large, shadowy figures carrying menacing weapons and a man wrapped in barbed wire, with bloodied creatures crawling around a warehouse. It later showed a flayed human corpse which was also wrapped in barbed wire
and it then cut to a bubbling pool of blood, out of which a blood covered multi-limbed creature arose and crawled towards the camera. The ad then showed what looked like a man lying down with a metal box on his head, out of which exploded, what appeared
to be, bloody tentacles. Issue
The complainant, who saw the ad, which was attached to and shown before a video about a children's play set, challenged whether:
the ad had been responsibly targeted because it appeared before a video which would appeal to children; and
the ad's content was distressing and offensive because it was excessively gory. CAP Code (Edition 12) 1.3 4.1 4.2 Response
Assessment: Complaints upheld
The ASA noted the ad was targeted to males aged 18 to 35 who were signed into their YouTube account. We understood, however, that the ad could still be served to users who had previously searched for horror movies and/or video games, even when they were
not signed into their account.
The complainant had searched for YouTube content featuring the children's toy, Thomas the Tank Engine and was presented with the ad before his chosen video played. We also understood from the complainant that he signed out of YouTube and
nevertheless had been served the ad. We acknowledged the steps Bethesda had taken to ensure targeting so that the ad would only be served to those who were signed into their YouTube accounts and who had sought out similar products based on the user's
Google search terms. However, we were concerned that even though the ad was targeted to signed in YouTube users, there was still the possibility the ad could be served to users who were under the age of 18 whom, by way of their internet searches,
had expressed an interest in video games and/or horror movies. Because there was a possibility that users under the age of 18 could be served the ad, we concluded the ad had not been responsibly targeted.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility).
We recognized the ad was atmospheric and created a sense of apprehension and reflected the theme of the game, survival horror. We acknowledged Bethesda had taken steps so that the ad was served to those over the age of 18 and who had sought out material
relating to video games and/or horror movies. Although there were no acts of violence against people depicted in the ad, it contained images of a person covered in shards of glass, someone wrapped in barbed wire, a flayed corpse wrapped in barbed wire,
bloodied creatures crawling around a warehouse-type building and a bubbling pool of blood, out of which a bloodied creature rose. Multiple shots of bloodied fingers, caused by handling barbed wire, featured throughout the ad and the end shot featured
what appeared to be a man's head exploding into bloody tentacles. We recognized the ad contained content which reflected the game's theme, which we also noted was PEGI-rated 18. However, we considered those images were excessively gory and were likely to
cause distress and offence to some who saw the ad.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code rules 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence).
An Ella Baché outdoor advertising campaign has been banned in Australia because the models' serious facial
expressions increased the sexual overtones of the image, according to industry self-regulator, the Outdoor Media Association (OMA).
The advertising campaign, was to be featured in billboards in all major cities, depicting three models with three serious expressions on their faces under the tagline Skin solutions as individual as you are .
Ella Baché also shot the three models smiling in the same pose - which was seen by the OMA as "acceptable as it is less sexualized and is relevant to the product" - and this shot will be used as a substitute following the ban.
Faie Davis, Ella Baché creative director said:
This bizarre decision is the epitome of political correctness, indicating that as a society we are becoming very fearful of putting a foot wrong, with the result that stymies creative thinking.
Yet now we are seeing self-appointed regulators making sexual judgements about facial expressions, which borders on the laughable. This sort of thinking displays why Australian advertising is falling behind the rest of the world, as creativity is being
squeezed out by political correctness.
The Cape Town Fish Market has apologised for a television advert the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) claimed offended black people and must be withdrawn.
The commercial features a white man playing different characters to demonstrate how truth can be bent in order to mislead. The character uses his fingers to show inverted commas to indicate that sometimes fresh fish is not really fresh. In one
scene his face is blackened and he speaks in a thick African accent.
The ASA, after considering complaints lodged by two people, banned the advert.
In its ruling, the ASA said the complainants found the commercial to be offensive as it portrayed a stereotype that black politicians were liars.
This technique is known as 'blackface', and is an inherently racist form of acting. The black character is depicted with derogatory intention, speaks with a thick accent and recalls a stereotypical black dictator. To achieve the desired result of showing
a corrupt official, there was no need for the man to be made out to be black.
The Australia's advert censor has upheld a complaint against an outdoor ad for a Townsville strip bar featuring a buxom
woman in a low cut top. The poster for the Santa Fe Gold nightclub features the woman with the message I'm waiting. xxx .
One complaint to the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) claimed:
This ad is completely degrading to women, showing a large cleavage and implying she is available to be oggled.
The majority of the Board considered that in connection with the text 'I'm waiting', the sexual nature of the business and the sexualised image of the woman, the advertisement presented the woman in a manner that was subservient and degrading.
The Board noted that the advertisement is above a car park which is used by patrons to family restaurants and entertainment centres and so it is likely to be viewed by a broad audience which would include children.
The Board noted that the woman was wearing a bra or low cut top. The Board agreed that the neckline was very low and that the nipple of the woman's left breast was seemingly exposed. The Board agreed that although it is difficult to determine exactly
whether the nipple is visible, the first, likely impression and perception is that there is an exposed nipple and that the position of her breast would suggest that that is where the nipple would appear anatomically. The Board considered that the low cut
top exposed the majority of the woman's breasts in a sexually suggestive manner.
French Connection's new advertising campaign showing naked models has spectacularly backfired, with shoppers branding the raunchy images offensive and unnecessary.
Prudish passers-by got more than they bargained for as they walked past the windows of the chain's stores when they copped an eyeful of top-naked models. The posters of topless models with strategically placed ink drawings to cover their nudity below the
waist have adorned the windows of the brands stores nationwide.
In Manchester the racy photographs drew gasps from innocent bystanders and some shocked shoppers called for more window-dressing . They are part of the retailer's From Sketch To Store campaign and have attracted controversy, with five complaints
being issued to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) since the campaign was launched.
It is understood that complainants to the advertising industry watchdog referred not only to the offensive nature of the nudity, but also to the fact that the models appeared to some viewers to be unhealthily thin .
Update: Not Offensive
3rd September 2013. Thanks to Cat
The original article
regarding this story first appeared about a week ago in the Manchester Evening News (MEN)
Interestingly what the Daily Mail fails to mention is that in the straw poll conducted by the MEN amongst its readers 76% voted No to the question: Do you find images of a topless model in a shop window offensive? !
So much for the busy-bodies and morality merchants!
Human Rights Watch has criticized a Dunkin' Donuts advertising campaign running in Thailand that features a model whose
face is painted black to sell a chocolate doughnut.
Dunkin' Donuts Thailand recently started running ads for its Charcoal Donut, which features a model wearing blackface makeup and bright pink lipstick and holding up a bitten doughnut. The translated Thai slogan reads: Break every rule of
Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch, spouted:
It's rather incredible that an international company like Dunkin' Donuts would run such an ad. He claimed the ad fits into a long history of racist advertisements in Southeast Asia.
The chief executive of Dunkin' Donuts in Thailand told the AP that the criticism is just paranoid American thinking. CEO Nadim Salhani said:
It's absolutely ridiculous. We're not allowed to use black to promote our doughnuts? I don't get it. What's the big fuss? What if the product was white and I painted someone white, would that be racist?
Thai people have never treated black African people badly, they have never mocked them via minstrel shows or whatever, and simply do not have the background to understand why the West finds it so politically incorrect to have blacked up media
people. Thais do call black Africans, 'chocolate men' though.
Similarly Thais have little knowledge or background about Hitler and Nazis and so frequently get caught out being politically incorrect with Nazi imagery.
Perhaps Thais need a few history lessons about when westerners have been real shits, and how they now use over-exaggerated politeness to try and plaster over historic wrongs.
Posters promoting David and Cathy Guetta's compilation CD Fuck Me I'm Famous have fallen foul of the ad standards board, over the word fuck .
The poster, based on the album cover, was the subject of a few complaints to Australia's Advertising Standards Board (ASB). The album cover features topless Guetta cupping his wife's breasts through her bra. This was combined with the
prominent title featured the asterixed word F***.
The ASB found the F word is being alluded to in conjunction with an image of a near naked couple and is used in a sexual context (fuck me).
The censor also claimed that the poster was likely to be viewed by a large cross-section of the community and as such:
Considered that the advertisement does not treat the issue of sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant broad audience.
The Board considered that a reference to fuck me is strong and would be considered obscene by many people and its use in outdoor media is not appropriate.
Department store chain Target has fiercely defended celebrity advertising endorsements by Gok Wan after it received complaints about using a gay man to advertise women's underwear.
Australia's Advertising Standards Bureau has dismissed complaints about Wan's use of the word bangers to describe breasts in the ads about women being properly fitted for bras, explaining that the ad complies with their anti-discrimination
and sexualisation rules.
The How To Look Good Naked TV star is champions women's bra style, saying your bangers will never feel so loved .
The ASB received a few puerile complaints, such as
Why do we have to watch an obvious gay man talking about women in this way? It is insulting.
A female body is a beautiful thing, not to be cheapened by a poofter calling breasts 'BANGERS'!
Ad Standards concluded the term bangers , while uncommon in Australia, was used in a light-hearted way:
The Board considered that the overall tone of the advertisement is positive and light-hearted and is intended to draw the attention of women to the various bras available in store and also to the fact that it is important to purchase the correct
The women appear very happy and comfortable being presented in their underwear. The reference to woman's breasts and bras and the use of the term bangers by a male fashion stylist does not amount to material that is discriminatory of any people
or persons of a particular gender
A TV ad for Marmite with a tongue-in-cheek of animal neglect has prompted more than 250 complaints to the advert censor ASA.
The TV ad shot in reality TV style follows a team parodying animal welfare officers who visit houses and save and rehome jars of Marmite that have been neglected by their owners.
The Advertising Standards Authority received more than 250 complaints that it trivialises the work of animal welfare organisations. Complainants said that the ad was offensive and in poor taste .
A spokeswoman for Marmite said:
We believe we have created an unmistakably Marmite ad -- people will either love it or hate it and they certainly won't forget it. We hope that everyone will watch and enjoy this commercial in the lighthearted way it was intended.
A popular Cardiff nightclub has apologised and withdrawn a promotional image after it came under fire
from an easily offended Lib Dem MP
Cardiff Central MP Jenny Willott claimed she was horrified and offended by the posters used in the Cardiff Tiger Tiger.
The adverts featured a woman holding a board with Tiger Tiger Cardiff written on it covering her chest and another with a QR code, a type of barcode, over her crotch area. The poster then directs people to the venue's Facebook page for all our
latest deals and news .
Ms Willott claimed that the image was far too provocative and that she would be writing to Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) as a result. She spouted:
Do Tiger Tiger not realise how offensive this kind of advertising is? It suggests the venue is a strip club -- is that really the sort of reputation the company wants?
All too often we see women's bodies used as a tool for selling products and services. To have such an advert on display around Cardiff concerns me greatly, as a woman, a mother and an MP.
The MP added she will be encouraging others who are similarly offended by the adverts to make their concerns heard to the ASA.
The PC extremist advert censors at ASA will no doubt will be very keen to hear, and it only takes a couple of complaints to qualify as 'widespread' offence.
The Australian Christian Lobby has predictably welcomed the decision by the Melbourne City Council to push for
the banning of ads that supposedly 'sexualise' women.
ACL spokesprat Wendy Francis bleated that the initiative is a much-needed step towards dealing with the 'objectification' of women in outdoor advertising.
ACL congratulates Lord Mayor Robert Doyle for his stand against offensive and sexist imagery in Melbourne's public spaces.
This sets an example for other city councils around Australia to crack-down on sexualised advertising that threatens our children's innocence and promotes negative representations of women and girls,.
Apart from advocating for a ban on advertising that sexualises and objectifies women, the Council will also encourage the community to report such material. The plan also includes creating special safety zones for women in the inner city with
CCTV surveillance, strong lighting and security patrols.
Claims on the home page of www.brewdog.com, a brewery website, stated BrewDog is a post Punk apocalyptic mother fu*ker of a craft brewery. Say goodbye to the corporate beer whores crazy for power and world domination ... Ride toward anarchy and
caramel craziness. Let the sharp bitter finish rip you straight to the tits. Save up for a Luger, and drill the bastards .
An internet user challenged whether the language used in the ad was likely to cause serious offence.
BrewDog said they had removed the claims from their website, but did not provide a substantive response to our enquiries.
ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld
The ASA noted the asterisk used in mother fu*ker , but considered its inclusion did not obscure the intended meaning and it was still clear that it represented a swear word, one generally regarded as highly offensive and unlikely to be acceptable
in marketing communications. We considered that the other language used on the page, such as corporate beer whores , rip you straight to the tits and Save up for a Luger and drill the bastards , was also likely to cause serious
offence to some people.
Given the general tone of the page, and in particular the use of mother fu*ker , we considered the language used was gratuitous and concluded that the page was likely to cause serious offence to some visitors to the website page.
The claims breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).
We told BrewDog to take care to avoid causing serious offence in the future. We referred the matter to CAP's Compliance team.
A YouTube ad for a car, entitled Two Unsuspecting Guys Take the Renault Clio for a Test Drive featured hidden camera footage of two men taking a car for a test drive around London. They reached a junction and pressed a button on the dashboard
which read Va Va Voom . A screen, which featured a Parisian scene, was moved into position in front of the car and a number of actors and props appeared, including a man on a scooter, a couple at a cafe' table and a market stall. A group of women
then walked in front of the car, wearing burlesque style lingerie and danced in a line in front of the car before walking towards it and gyrating and dancing around it. One woman blew a kiss to the driver. The women then walked away in unison and the
screen was moved away to reveal a billboard poster which read Reignite your Va Va Voom . Issue
The complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because she felt it objectified women.
Renault UK Ltd (Renault) said the video had only been made available on YouTube and was generally intended to be viewed by a younger adult audience than mainstream TV channels. They said the video was a humorous parody with a theme of French culture and
it therefore featured various iconic scenes that were associated with Paris, including the Eiffel Tower and a pavement cafe. They said the women who danced around the vehicle were a reference to the Moulin Rouge and that they were intended to be taken as
seriously as the other iconic images in the ad. They felt they were dressed in typical Parisian style and that the choreography was a rhythmical send up of the burlesque style, rather than overtly sexual. They advised that the video had been viewed over
three million times and they were unaware of any other complaints.
YouTube said the ad did not violate their Community Guidelines or Advertising Policies, but that it was the advertiser's responsibility to ensure that any ad complied with the CAP Code and was targeted appropriately.
ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld
The ASA noted that Renault felt the female dancers were just one of the iconic Parisian scenes featured in the ad, which was intended to be a light-hearted parody. However, we considered that the length of the scene in question, along with the change in
the music and the use of slow motion shots, meant it had a different tone to the rest of the ad. We accepted that the Moulin Rouge was associated with Paris and that a scene that referenced it could therefore have some relevance to the theme of the ad,
if not to the product itself. However, we were concerned that the ad featured a number of shots of the women's breasts and bottoms, in which their heads were obscured, and which we considered invited viewers to view the women as sexual objects. We
further considered that the choreography, dress and facial expressions of the dancers were sexually provocative and that the overall impression given was not necessarily that of a parody of a cabaret show such as the Moulin Rouge, particularly as the
women were seen to approach the car and gyrate around it, rather than merely performing in front of it. We considered that the ad objectified the dancers by portraying them as sexual objects and that it was therefore likely to cause serious or widespread
The ad breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).
Australian billboards showing a pregnant woman having a lesbian has been cleared by the advertising censor after
complaints that it had somehow sexualised children .
The Advertising Standards Bureau has thrown out both complaints against the ad promoting gay marriage. The reasons for the decision have yet to be published.
The billboards, now on display in Brisbane, show a pregnant woman with the slogan, Congratulations, you're having a lesbian .
One complainant claimed the ad is illegal as it involves the sexualisation of children . Another complained that the billboard could make pregnant woman uneasy . If science can prove one is having a lesbian/homosexual should one abort?
The campaign's organiser, Shelley Argent, said the real child abuse was to reject a child on the grounds of sexuality. The campaign's theme is that any child can be born gay.
A video ad, for the Lynx Manwasher Shower Tool , was shown on Gym TV and on YouTube:
The ad, which was in the style of a product presentation filmed with a live audience, featured two female characters: Stephanie De Mornay and Amber James . Stephanie introduced Amber and asked, What have you got for us today, Amber? Amber responded,
Balls. Nobody wants to play with them when they're dirty. That's why you have to keep your balls clean. The problem is soap just isn't enough. She was shown unsuccessfully cleaning a football. Stephanie asked, Well, how can guys clean their
balls properly so they're more enjoyable to play with? Amber replied, Well finally there's a tool that can really get the job done. The Lynx Manwasher. Cleans your balls. She held up a bottle of Lynx shower gel and a Manwasher . The
audience, including a couple of men who held rugby balls, were shown clapping and cheering...
Two complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and unsuitable for display where it might be viewed by children.
One complainant challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, because they believed the implication that the black character had bigger balls than the white characters played on racial stereotypes.
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
1. Not upheld
The ASA acknowledged that very young children would be unlikely to be aware of the slang meaning of the term balls , but we considered that older children would be likely to know and understand that slang meaning, particularly in the context of an
ad which discussed the use of a Manwasher . Nonetheless, we noted the actions Unilever had taken to specifically target the ad to their target demographic of men aged between 16 and 34, and noted we had not received any complaints that the ad had
been seen by children. We concluded the ad had been appropriately targeted and was not, therefore, irresponsible.
On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 1.3 (Responsible advertising), but did not find it in breach.
2. Not upheld
We noted Unilever's view that the ad did not create the impression that the size of the sports balls was representative of the size of the testicles of the men in the audience, or that the skin colour of the men was relevant. However, we considered that
because the premise of the ad was based on the double entendre of the word balls , viewers would draw connections between characteristics of the men and the balls they were holding for comedic effect. For example, at the beginning of the ad, when
Amber referred to one man's golf balls as small balls , his reaction was to look concerned and uncertain.
We noted the audience included only one black man, and we considered that by having him present the large net of footballs for cleaning in contrast to the smaller balls presented by the other men, the ad played on racial stereotypes. We considered it was
therefore likely that some viewers would find the ad distasteful on that basis. However, we noted the ad had been targeted at men aged between 16 and 34 and we concluded that, on balance, it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence amongst
On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and Offence), but did not find it in breach.
A New Zealand forklift company's supposedly offensive ads on some of its vans will not be pulled,
despite a second complaint about them being upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The advertisement for used forklifts featuring a scantily clad woman, with the catchline
You know you're not the first ... But does that really matter?
In February, it was asked to remove a similar advertisement after a complaint was upheld by the ASA.
The latest complainants claimed the ads were shockingly denigrating of women, objectifying them as sex objects . The ASA complaints board found the advert was a gratuitous objectification of the woman, which was likely to cause serious and
widespread offence on the grounds of gender.
However ASA decisions are not legally enforceable. The self-governing agency can only ask that advertisements be withdrawn.
Independent Forklifts general manager Merv Dore said that the signs on the backs of the three vans would stay until it was time to replace them.
They can uphold them (ASA decisions) forever, we have got an advertising campaign and will change the ads when we change them. The ASA don't have any authority. After the first complaint we received calls of support from all over the country.
A video advert for a special variety of Spanish cherries has been pulled after whinges it was sexist and vulgar .
The video was released to coincide with the seventh international cherry symposium in the town of Plasencia.
In the video for the smaller, crunchier, sweeter Picota del Jerte variety of cherries, advertisers played on some light hearted double entendre. Talking about cherries, they say that size does matter , before going on to say the smaller
the better! With a backdrop of silly music, the cherry commercial then claims the older, the tastier before showing a picture of women's breasts. This is followed up by the claim that the sweetest, smoothest and meatiest are the fresh ones
But unions and socialist PSOE politicians from the Extremadura region got all easily offended.
The Secretary for 'Equality' for the PSOE in Extremadura Nelida Martin whinged:
We are not going to consent to women's bodies being using as advertising and as objects of desire in a commercial lacking in creativity.
The socialists noted that Spain's [blatantly unequal] advertising laws prohibit any commercial which injure the dignity of women, or which put in danger the rights of the constitution, especially when it comes to infancy, childhood and women .
Major Spanish union the CCOO whined that the commercial was denigrating to women and used sexist and vulgar stereotypes .
In response, the cherry growers withdrew the advertisement from its website saying they had never intended to offend and aggravate anyone and that they were deeply sorry for any hurt they had caused.