A paid-for video ad on Twitter and a Video On Demand (VOD) ad for Royal Mail:
a. The video ad on Twitter, seen on 27 July 2017, featured a scene with customers and staff in a bank. A short while later a gang of men in balaclavas with baseball bats entered the bank and shouted, This is a robbery. The staff and customers in
the bank were made to get on their knees with their hands held up and were threatened with the baseball bats. One female member of staff was grabbed repeatedly by the shoulder and the wrist and asked her full name and date of birth by one of the
assailants. Other customers were asked similar questions about their personal identity, passwords and log-in details, while a member of the gang appeared to type the information on a hand-held electronic tablet. One customer offered a gang member
money to which he said, We don't want your money. Throughout the scene the members of the public, which included a child, were shouted at aggressively by the assailants, appeared scared and some were crying. One gang member asked another, Got it?
they replied, Got it all, after which the gang left the bank. On-screen text stated Your identity is now your most valuable possession. Text at the end of the ad stated, LET'S BEAT IDENTITY FRAUD followed by text that stated Visit our ID Fraud
Centre for help and advice, accompanied by the Royal Mail logo and the text, The future in safe hands.
b. The VOD ad, seen on ITV Player on 9 August 2017 at approximately 9.00 pm during an episode of Coronation Street, was the same as ad (a).
Seven complainants challenged whether ads (a) and (b) were likely to cause fear and distress without justifiable reason, particularly for those who had been victims of violence, and whether ad (b) was inappropriately placed at a time when children
could have been viewing.
ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld
The ASA noted that Royal Mail had sought and followed advice regarding the ad's placement from Clearcast and CAP's Copy Advice team, and acknowledged that the ad had not been shown on VOD before 9 pm. We concluded therefore, that it was unlikely
that children had seen ad (b).
We acknowledged that identity fraud was a growing problem and it was important that steps were taken to inform the general public about how serious it was and how they could protect themselves. While we understood that the scenario of a bank
robbery was chosen to emphasise the seriousness of the crime, we noted that this was not among the common scenarios in which identity fraud was perpetrated. As a result, we considered that consumers would not be able to clearly see from the ad how
they could protect themselves, for example by avoiding certain actions that could make them potentially vulnerable to identity fraud. We noted the ads' reference to the Royal Mail's ID fraud centre, but it did not appear until the very end of the
ad, during which time the scenario was presented without explanation or context.
Furthermore, because the setting of the ad was recognisable and showed ordinary people, including a child, being shouted at aggressively by criminals, lying on the floor and trying to hide behind furniture, and looking visibly frightened, the
impact was heightened and there was an added sense of threat. Because of this, we considered it to be reminiscent of other crimes or situations that people may have experienced that extends beyond the bank robbery depicted and therefore could
trigger negative emotions for those who had been victims of violence. We did not consider that the use of baseball bats made the ad less violent than if knives and guns had been used, as the bats were often shown held in a threatening manner by
the criminals or positioned next to customers heads.
We understood Royal Mail and ITV's view that the ad served to highlight a serious and growing crime and to assist customers to find information to protect themselves. We noted from the results of the test sample of viewers that the ad may have
increased ID fraud awareness for those who had seen it. We also noted that Royal Mail had amended the Twitter ad so that a warning appeared accompanying the video and that they did not intend to use the ad again. However, we considered that the
overall presentation of the ads, as seen by the complainants, was excessively threatening and distressing to the extent that it overshadowed the message the ad intended to convey. We concluded the ad was likely to cause fear and distress to
viewers, in particular to victims of violence, without a justifiable reason.
We told Royal Mail to ensure that in future their ads did not cause fear or distress without justifiable reason.
Australia's advert censor has dismissed a swath of complaints about supposedly offensive Sportsbet adverts that some felt denigrated Christians.
A Sportsbet advertising campaign which used the word Puntmas to describe the racing season has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Bureau following complaints of blasphemy.
The ads feature four men at the racetrack, humming and singing Christmas carols, with a voiceover promoting a new feature of the betting app which allows users to cancel their bets. They end with an appearance from former sprinter Ben Johnson who
featured in an earlier ad for the bookmaker which was banned for making light of drug use .
The Advertising Standards Board received a number of complaints, many of which took issue with the association of Christmas and gambling. For them to use it in a gambling ad reaches new lows in the gambling industry, one complaint read.
Regrettably, we live in an era where it has become acceptable to denigrate our Christian heritage, another said. This advertisement deliberately tries to associate gambling with the spirit of Christmas. No doubt gambling will ruin Christmas for
many families this year. I find this ad to be in very poor taste.
One person said it was beyond offensive to associate betting with one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar, while another said they especially don't want my children to recognise the tune and start to relate Christmas and gambling.
In its response, Sportsbet rejected that the ads in any way discriminated against or vilified any section of the community on account of religion.
The Advertising Standards Board sided with Sportsbet, dismissing the complaints. In its determination, it said many members of the community consider Christmas as a cultural holiday more so than a religious one. [Though] Christmas has
significant meaning to some, the use of 'Puntmas' in the context of a promotion of a gambling product may be considered tasteless but such a connection of words does not denigrate Christianity or Christians, the ASB said.
Transport for London (TfL) has removed Free Balochistan adverts from London black cabs after pressure
from the Pakistani government
The World Baloch Organisation , which advocates for rights of the ethnic Balochs who live in the Balochistan regions straddling Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, launched its campaign on London's black cabs to highlight the war crimes and human
rights abuses of the Islamabad government.
The #FreeBalochistan adverts carry slogans saying Stop enforced disappearances and Save the Baloch people
The British High Commissioner in Islamabad was summoned to appear before the Pakistani Foreign Secretary, Tehmina Janjua, on Friday over the adverts which they said directly attack its territorial integrity and sovereignty.
In the second phase of rescuing the self-regulation of advertising in South Africa, the Advertising Standards Authority of South
Africa (ASA) has introduced a voluntary levy system on advertising spends.
The scheme sets a voluntary levy of 0.1% of advertising spend and is to be collected by advertising agencies that implement advertising campaigns.
ASA have noted that companies with a massive spend, such that they consider 0.1% is too high, then ASA will be willing to negotiate the figure down.
Parents say images promoting a new horror film on the side of buses are too scary for children to see.
Posters for Jigsaw have been seen on the side of Stagecoach buses in Kent and around the country, alongside other marketing on television and online. The bus adverts are based on the Jigsaw poster right.
Ashford father-of-two Chris Paine says the image, which depicts a ghoulish serial killer character called Billy the Puppet, is inappropriate for children. He said his daughter saw the posters when they were leaving the train station. He said:
My children are aged 12 and 15 and they just don't watch those sort of films. I really don't think it's appropriate.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says it has received 24 complaints about the adverts from across the country, 21 of which are about bus posters. ASA press officer Estelle Yuen said: The nature of complaints have generally been that the
imagery is frightening and unsuitable for public display where children can easily come across them.
Back in 2016, after a bit of a hoo-hah about a 'beach body ready' advert, London Mayor Sadiq Khan pressurised Transport For
London (TfL) into introducing a PC ban for all adverts which didn't adhere to the notion of 'body positivity'.
And in the latest example of extreme PC censorship, Heist, a company which sells up-market tights, recently revealed that TfL forced it to cover-up a woman's naked back with a bandeau top in one of its adverts on the tube.
A representative from Exterion Media, the company which works on behalf of TfL and enforces its policy, told Heist:
Whilst I know this is only showing a bare back, it still depicts a 'topless model. If we could add a boob tube around the back I think this would be passed.'
It also looks as if the tights were photoshopped to darken them a little to hide a rather sharply outlined bottom.
Australia's Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) will investigate complaints made about an lamb marketing campaign that has angered the easily offended.
Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) launched an amusing advert featuring actors portraying Jesus, Lord Ganesh, L. Ron Hubbard and Buddha.
So far the ASB has received about 30 complaints about the ad. An ASB spokesperson told SBS World News most people who complained about the ad cited discrimination and vilification on the grounds of religion.
MLA Group marketing manager Andrew Howie explained the advert:
Lamb is the meat that brings people together. Our 'You Never Lamb Alone' campaigns have promoted the value of unity and inclusivity. This latest campaign instalment is no different,
Our intent is never to offend, but rather acknowledge that lamb is a meat consumed by a wide variety of cultures and capture how the world could look if people left their differing views at the door and came to the table with open arms, and
Howie also pointed out Ganesh was sitting across the table from Buddha, another vegetarian. Neither of them are eating meat or drinking wine but they were willing participants at the party which we would hope everyone can come together and
celebrate their difference.
Not all deities were represented at the dinner table. To save offending muslims with a depiction of Mohammed, he was conveniently unable to make the dinner party.
Hindu Council of Ausralia spokesperson Balesh Dhankhar said they were very hurt and angry about this ad campaign. The reason being the Hindu community cannot imagine their deity, Lord Ganesh in this case, as eating meat. Dhankhar said most people
who follow Hinduism were vegetarians and seeing Lord Ganesh in this manner was very insulting. He said the Hindu community was one of the fastest growing in Australia and seeing the deity depicted in this manner went against the country's values.
The High Commission of India in Canberra said it had made a demarche to three Australian
government departments. It also urged Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) to withdraw the advertisement because many people considered it offensive and hurting their religious sentiments.
A number of community associations have also registered their protest with government of Australia and Meat and Livestock Australia, the high commission said in a statement.
Eternal whinger Rajan Zed has called for a ban of the Meat & Livestock Australia lamb advert.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that it was highly irresponsible of MLA to continue with this ad despite the clear expression by Hindus that it was very inappropriate and hurt their feelings.
Rajan Zed also urged Australia Advertising Standards Bureau to act urgently on the various complaints received by it regarding this ad.
Besides withdrawing the ad immediately, MLA Board Chair Dr. Michele Allan and Managing Director Richard Norton should resign for apparently working against the interests of the organization by upsetting consumers instead of charming them, and
using cheap tactics to attract attention instead of seriously attempting to prevent consumers from reducing their lamb consumption, Rajan Zed indicated.
Zed had sought ban on You Never Lamb Alone video ad, which seemed to make fun of Lord Ganesha. Zed pointed out that Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and he was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in
selling lamb meat for mercantile greed. Moreover, linking Lord Ganesha with meat was very disrespectful and highly inappropriate, Zed added.
Fight of Gods is no longer available for purchase from within Thailand on Steam. This item is currently unavailable in your region,
notes the entry in Steam's online store.
After the game was released, Buddhist officials in Thailand expressed outrage. Booncherd Kittitharangkoon, the director of a state agency that governs monks and temples, told reporters that the game could damage Buddhism.
Booncherd said he had asked the Culture of Censorship Ministry to send a complaint to Taiwanese game developer Digital Crafter. He warned that Thai authorities could take legal action if some characters were not removed.
A spokesman for British developer, PQube acknowledged that Thailand has formally demanded that the game be removed from sale in their territory.
Vogue fashion magazine has been reporting on the dangers of social media posts that contain images which included
alcohol brands. Vogue magazine writes:
Tourists might not realize as they make their guidebook-mandated pilgrimage to nightlife hotspots like Khao San Road, is that despite the country's many Full Moon parties and bar girls, alcohol advertising is illegal. And posting a photo on
social media of your beer by the beach could count as advertising.
Recently police have begun to strictly enforce 2008's Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, which bans displaying the names or logos of products in order to induce people to drink such alcoholic beverages, either directly or indirectly.
Last month, police announced their intention to more closely patrol social media and charge those found breaking the law. That means even if your favorite actress wasn't being paid for her endorsement and really was just sharing a photo with a
drink by the pool or on a night out, she could find herself facing a 50,000 baht (about $1,500 USD) fine for indirectly inducing drinking.
Earlier this month, eight local celebrities were fined for posting selfies with alcoholic drinks on social media, with Thai Asia Pacific Brewery and Boon Rawd Brewery Co. (the producer of Singha beer) also implicated in the case. But police
aren't just monitoring the accounts of the rich and famous -- at the beginning of August, three bar girls found themselves arrested after making a Facebook Live video inviting people to come enjoy a beer promotion.
A product listing on www.ratandboa.com, for The Christy Skirt, seen on 2 March 2017, which featured an image of a woman from the neck down wearing a top that partially exposed her breasts and revealed a nipple piercing.
A complainant challenged whether the image was offensive, because it was highly sexualised and objectified women.
Rat and Boa Ltd stated that while the image may have been distasteful to the individual complainant, the Code stated that this was not enough in itself to find a breach. They said that there was nothing in the ad to suggest anything that would
otherwise breach any other parts of the Code.
They explained that the woman in the photo was the co-founder of Rat and Boa and she had undertaken the shoot with her own free will and expression of artistic license. They stated that it was unreasonable to suggest that she would objectify women
ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld
The ASA noted that the image was cut-off at the model's shoulders and her breasts were partially exposed, revealing a nipple piercing. One hand was placed on the waist band of the skirt, pulling it down to show her lower abdomen. We considered
that the image was gratuitous and sexually provocative, because the model's pose emphasised her breasts and torso, rather than the product itself.
We concluded that, by using a sexualised image of a woman, the ad objectified women and was likely to cause serious and widespread offence.
The ad must not appear in its current form. We told Rat and Boa Ltd to ensure that their future ads did not contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
A Video on Demand (VOD) ad for Femfresh bikini line shaving products, seen on ITV Player and 4oD in March and April 2017, featured several women, who were wearing briefs and swimwear, dancing. It included multiple close-up shots of the women's
Seventeen complainants, who believed that the ad objectified women and portrayed them in an overly sexualised way, objected that it was offensive and socially irresponsible.
ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld
The ASA noted that Church & Dwight had received advice from Clearcast, which set out Clearcast's view that the ad was OK for VOD. However, we noted that the advertiser had primary responsibility for ensuring that VOD ads complied with the CAP
The ad promoted products for shaving the bikini line, and given their intended use, it was relevant for the ad to focus on that area of the body and show women wearing swimwear and fitness wear that exposed it. We also noted that many of the dance
moves used in the routine reflected those that might be seen in some exercise classes. However, overall we considered that the dance sequence was highly sexualised, in the style of a music video, and featured many thrusting dance moves. The ad
focused to a large extent on the women's crotches, with relatively few shots of their faces, and some of them wore high-cut swimsuits that were more exposing than many swimsuits. Even taking into account the nature of the product, we considered
that it had been presented in an overly-sexualised way that objectified women. We concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and therefore breached the Code.
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Church & Dwight Ltd not to use advertising that objectified women and which was likely to cause serious or widespread offence to promote their products.
In response to recent boycotts by high profile advertisers, YouTube has clarified its censorship rules to enable video-makers to know which
content it considers to be advertiser-friendly.
In a blog post, the video-sharing website said it would not allow adverts to appear alongside hateful or discriminatory content. It will also refuse to place ads next to videos using gratuitously disrespectful language that shames or insults an
individual or group. The guidelines also discourage film-makers from making inappropriate parody videos using popular family entertainment characters.
YouTube has detailed new censorship rules in a blog post:
Hateful content: Content that promotes discrimination or disparages or humiliates an individual or group of people on the basis of the individual's or group's race, ethnicity, or ethnic origin, nationality, religion, disability, age,
veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other characteristic associated with systematic discrimination or marginalization.
Inappropriate use of family entertainment characters: Content that depicts family entertainment characters engaged in violent, sexual, vile, or otherwise inappropriate behavior, even if done for comedic or satirical purposes.
Incendiary and demeaning content: Content that is gratuitously incendiary, inflammatory, or demeaning. For example, video content that uses gratuitously disrespectful language that shames or insults an individual or group.
However, the announcement has met with some criticism from video makers. Captain Sauce, pointed out that the algorithm used to detect whether a video may contain inappropriate content was not perfect.
Whilst Eugenia Loli pointed out that mainstream news networks often post inflammatory studio debates that could be judged incendiary and demeaning, while music videos often pushed the boundaries of sexually-explicit content, but these still
carried advertisements. He wrote:
Why punish the little guy, but not the big networks? This is a double standard.
Posters, featuring US TV personality Khloe Kardashian wearing a leotard, have
caused politically correct 'outrage' over 'body shaming'. The adverts have appeared on London's underground transport network featuring a campaign by Protein World, a healthy eating company.
The PC stance is that posters of fit and beautiful people cause confidence issues among the not so fit and beautiful.
Green politician Caroline Russell said she received complaints from constituents about the advert and said that people who travel on the Tube should not be bombarded by adverts that imply their bodies are not good enough. She said in an interview:
Young people receive this negative message from enough social media channels and it's appalling that this is being reinforced on Tube platforms, against the Mayor's own policy, when people are taking trips to school, to work, or going out to socialize.
Transport for London, who manage the London tube network, said that the posters are acceptable and are not covered under Sadiq Khan's advert ban.
Protein World previously hit the headlines with an advert with a bikini clad model and the slogan: Are You Beach Body Ready .
Wicked Campers are known as a brash, unapologetic company that built its reputation on homourous slogans plastered across
But almost a year on from a nationwide furore that saw New Zealand's Chief Censor ban a handful of its vans from the road, the feeling is that the company has been somewhat tamed. Golden Bay's Pohara Campground assistant manager Leigh Johnson said:
They are not like they used to be 12 months ago. It think they have toned it down.
The film censor's ban meant that the specific vans were banned from public places in New Zealand and Wicked could face a fine of up to $200,000 per offence if it continued to use them.
Murchison's Riverside Holiday Park, leaseholder Robin Sandford, said it seemed:
All the bad ones had disappeared. I don't know if they have taken them off the road or what but we don't see a lot of them coming in here. I saw two in the last two weeks and there was nothing offensive on them. They were funny but they weren't
A Bristol taxi firm has generated a little outrage by resurrecting a previously controversial advert campaign suggesting that if beer goggles
are kicking in then perhaps it's time to call a cab.
The campaign for CityFox taxis features male and female adverts of overweight people next to the slogan: if I start to look sexy book a taxi .
Inevitably the advert featuring the woman has 'outraged' local feminists. Bristol Women's Voice said it was appalled
by the ad as it reinforces harmful gender stereotypes and sends the message that women are to be judged by their physical appearance .
However there are no reports of the feminists being concerned about men being judged by their appearance.
The same theme was previously used by West Quay Cars of Southampton in 2015, and on that occasion, advert censors of the ASA dismissed complaints saying that the adverts were light hearted and would not cause widespread offence.
CityFox has now decided to scrap the campaign anyway. However CityFox told the Bristol Post that it would not apologise for the campaign which also featured a dishevelled male on a flyer aimed at female passengers.