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    2012: April-June

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  Irresponsible Waste of Money 'Investigating' Such a Baseless Complaint...

ASA dismisses a ludicrous whinge about Daisy perfume advert


Link Here 22nd June 2012

marcjacobs daisy eausofresh advert A magazine ad for Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume was seen in ELLE magazine. The ad showed a female model sitting astride a horse. The model was leaning back slightly, wearing a short white dress and holding an outsized bottle of the product in her lap. Text stated THE NEW FRAGRACE FOR WOMEN and DAISY MARC JACOBS EAU SO FRESH . Issue

The complainant objected that the ad was offensive and irresponsible, because they believed it showed a young girl in a provocative pose.

Coty UK Ltd said the model was 19 at the time of the shoot. They also believed that her pose was not styled in a manner that suggested she was a child. The advertiser also said that the ad did not show private body parts or any sexual activity. The overall intention of the ad was to reflect the bubbly, playful nature of the fragrance.

They also highlighted that the target readership of the magazine was 18- to 25- year-old women and that they would be unlikely to find the ad offensive or irresponsible as it was in line with the consistently edgy style of the magazine.

ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld

The ASA understood that the ad had appeared in a magazine whose target readership was women between 18 and 25 years and that the advertiser and publisher believed that it reflected the tone and style of the magazine. We noted that the model was wearing a short white dress that exposed most of her leg, she was leaning back slightly whilst seated astride a horse and held a large bottle of the fragrance over her groin area.

We understood that the model was 19 at the time of the shoot and considered that, although youthful, she did not look like a child. We also acknowledged that the overall styling of the ad was consistent with the editorial content of the magazine in general but that the placement of the product could be seen as sexually suggestive. However, we concluded that as the model's overall pose and expression was not sexually provocative and because she did not appear to be a child, the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or be seen to be irresponsible.

On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

 

 Update: Sofa King Secretive...

ASA revises decision about 'Sofa King Low Prices' but seems secretive as to why


Link Here 21st June 2012  full story: Sofa King Adverts...ASA whinge at Sofa King adverts

hayden philips In February this year the ASA had a whinge about a long running Sofa King catchphrase:

The Sofa King -- Where the prices are Sofa King Low.

But Mark Kypta, who has run Sofa King and used the slogan for 10 years, argued the decision was not consistent with similar cases, including the ASA's rejection of 52 complaints against Burger King advertisements in 2010.

In 2010, 52 complaints were made against a Burger King advertising campaign that used phrases such as king tasty , king delicious and no king parking . The ASA allowed the advertisements, stating they were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence because they did not contain any explicit bad language.

And so Kypta said he had appealed against the ASA decision.

Then last week the ASA amended the wording to their Sofa King decision (without changing the overall decision that somehow the pun is likely to cause 'widespread offence').

The ASA noted that they had changed the wording but they seem secretive as to why. No mention of it being as a result of an appeal judgement, but surely it was.

It seems a very poor show that censorship imposed on the public should be subject to secretive judgments, but there you go. The system was set up for industry self censorship but has not been adapted when it was imposed on websites that have nothing to do with advertising industry.

Sofa King Low advert Anyway the appeal process adjudicated by Hayden Philips, the Independent Reviewer, ended up with the ASA wording for the Sofa King advert being changed as follows:

Original decision in February 2012:

The ASA noted that the phrase ... Sofa King Low! used the advertiser's company name but considered that it could be interpreted as a derivative of the swear word fuck , which consumer research had found to be a word so likely to offend that it should not be used in ads at all, even when it was relevant to the name of a product. Because of that, we concluded that the slogan was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and that the ad breached the CAP Code.

Revised decision in June 2012:

The ASA noted that the phrase ... Sofa King Low used the advertiser's company name but considered that, when spoken and heard, it sounded like a derivative of the swear word fuck . Because of that, we concluded that the slogan was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and that the ad breached the CAP Code.

The main change seems to be that the ASA removed their claims about 'consumer research'.

I wonder if the ASA themselves have been hypercritically hauled up for unsubstantiated claims?

 

  Political Correctness in Cycles...

ASA dismiss whinge about cycle clothes featuring models covering their breasts with their arms


Link Here 21st June 2012

assos model The website, www.assos.com, featured a model wearing various women's waterproof cycling products. The model was wearing the products with no other clothing, appearing semi-naked. Her breasts were covered with her arms.

One complainant challenged whether the images were offensive and demeaning to women.

ASSOS of Switzerland responded and pointed out that the garment was shown next to the skin with no other clothing as this is how it was intended to be worn. They also said that the model was photographed purposefully covering her breasts.

ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld

The ASA noted that the images on ASSOS of Switzerland's website [selling to the UK with prices in Sterling] showed a woman wearing only the cycling wear on the lower part of her body with no other clothing covering the upper half of her body. We acknowledged that the advertiser intended to show the model without additional clothing as this was how the products should be worn, that is, with no clothing underneath. However, we noted that the lack of clothing on her upper body could be seen as unnecessary to some consumers. Nevertheless, we concluded that the nature of the model's pose and her overall state of undress was unlikely to be seen as offensive and demeaning to women.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code  rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

 

  Not Overtly Sexual...

ASA dismiss whinges about gay kiss poster


Link Here 17th June 2012

manhunt advert A poster for manhunt.net, an online dating service, seen in February 2012 showed two topless men, one with his arm around the other, who were about to kiss.

The ASA received 20 complaints.

  1. All the complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive because they believed the image was overtly sexual.

  2. Fourteeen complainants challenged whether the ad was inappropriate for general display, where it could be seen by children.

Online Buddies said the ad was first displayed next to the oldest gay bar in London and was displayed at a second location several metres away from London's largest gay club. In selecting both locations, they took into account the proximity to gay clubs, where they believed the ads were most likely to be seen by their target audience and they ensured the ad was not within viewing distance of schools or businesses that provided children-based services.

Online Buddies said the image showed one of the men with his arm casually draped around the other's shoulder, that the men were about to kiss but also that their bodies were barely touching. Although they believed that the image was mildly sexually suggestive, they did not consider their body language was overtly sexual. They believed that the image used was the most appropriate way to convey their product, they were a company which served a gay male audience and therefore, the image was relevant. They did not believe that the ad was offensive.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. Not Upheld

The ASA noted Online Buddies had booked locations which were close to gay clubs but which were also away from schools or businesses that offered children-based services and that they believed both the locations and image were relevant to the advertised product. We understood the ad was a large billboard and that all the complainants had seen it in its first location before it had been moved. We acknowledged Online Buddies' attempts to restrict the ad, both before it was displayed and after they became aware of complaints made to the ASA.

We recognised that the image in the ad was relevant to the advertised product. However, we noted that the couple were shown bare-chested and from the chest up only and it was therefore unclear whether they were naked or not. We noted that the eyes of one man were closed whilst the eyes of the other appeared to be seductively looking at him and that their lips were parted as if they were about to kiss. Although we considered the image could be seen as sexual and the ad's size could draw attention to the sexual nature of their embrace, we considered the image of the embracing couple who were about to kiss was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and Offence), but did not find it in breach.

2. Not Upheld

We noted that both Online Buddies and Primesight had given the poster's location careful consideration so as to avoid schools and businesses that provided children-based services. We considered the ad was sexually suggestive, rather than overtly sexual. Because of that, we considered the ad was inappropriate for children to see and therefore, it warranted a placement restriction to prevent it from being displayed within 100 m of schools. We understood that such a restriction had already been applied and we therefore concluded that in this instance, the placement of the ad was not socially irresponsible.

On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility), but did not find it in breach.

 

 Updated: This Censorship Bollox Must Not Appear Again in its Current Form...

ASA looking beleaguered in trying to apply its vague and inadequate code to the internet


Link Here 17th June 2012

healing on the streets bath Back in February 2012. The ASA censored a group called Healing on the Streets - Bath. They wrote:

A website and a leaflet, for Healing on the Streets - Bath, viewed on 10 May 2011:

a. The website home page stated Our vision is to :- Promote Christian Healing as a daily life style for every believer, through demonstration, training and equipping. We are working in unity, from numerous churches outside the four walls of the building, In order to :- - Heal the sick ... .

A page headed What people have told us afterwards ... included five testimonials in which people stated that after receiving prayer their conditions had been improved.

b. The leaflet was available for download on the website under the heading Download a healing flyer by clicking below . The leaflet stated NEED HEALING? GOD CAN HEAL TODAY! Do you suffer from Back Pain, Arthritis, MS, Addiction ... Ulcers, Depression, Allergies, Fibromyalgia, Asthma, Paralysis, Crippling Disease, Phobias, Sleeping disorders or any other sickness? We'd love to pray for your healing right now! We're Christian from churches in Bath and we pray in the name of Jesus. We believe that God loves you and can heal you from any sickness . Issue

A complainant challenged whether:

  1. the claim in ad (b) that the advertiser could heal the named conditions was misleading and could be substantiated;

  2. the testimonials in ad (a) misleadingly implied that the advertiser could heal the conditions referred to; and

  3. the ads were irresponsible, because they provided false hope to those suffering from the named conditions.

  4. The ASA challenged whether the ads could discourage essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

...

The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told HOTS not to make claims which stated or implied that, by receiving prayer from their volunteers, people could be healed of medical conditions. We also told them not to refer in their ads to medical conditions for which medical supervision should be sought.

Now the ASA have just updated the decision acknowledging that it has no remit to censor the webpage. The ASA has limited its censure to just the group's flyer.

The ASA have updated the adjudication to delete the references to the website:

A leaflet stated NEED HEALING? GOD CAN HEAL TODAY! Do you suffer from Back Pain, Arthritis, MS, Addiction ... Ulcers, Depression, Allergies, Fibromyalgia, Asthma, Paralysis, Crippling Disease, Phobias, Sleeping disorders or any other sickness? We'd love to pray for your healing right now! We're Christians from churches in Bath and we pray in the name of Jesus. We believe that God loves you and can heal you from any sickness . The leaflet was viewed on 10 May 2011. Issue

The complainant challenged whether:

  1. the claim that the advertiser could heal the named conditions was misleading and could be substantiated; and

  2. the ad was irresponsible, because it provided false hope to those suffering from the named conditions.

  3. The ASA challenged whether the ads could discourage essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought.

...

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told HOTS not to make claims which stated or implied that, by receiving prayer from their volunteers, people could be healed of medical conditions. We also told them not to refer in their ads to medical conditions for which medical supervision should be sought.

Update: Independent Review

17th June 2012. See article from hotsbath.org

Healing on the Streets (HOTS) have explained the background to the ASA change of heart:

We are grateful to the ASA's Independent Reviewer and the ASA Council for reviewing and amending this decision, and confirming that there was a fundamental flaw in the original assessment of the complaint about our website.

The ASA has now confirmed that our website is not within its remit because the statements made on it reflects our beliefs and relate to a cause or idea - the website explains our belief that God can heal and provides information about prayer offered by our volunteers and therefore the ASA has confirmed that nothing on the website is in breach of the advertising regulations.

The ASA still considered that leaflets handed out could be in breach of the advertising regulations, however we changed the leaflets several months ago to reflect the concerns which the ASA had previously expressed.

The ASA is due to re-publish the adjudication confirming its views on the leaflets, but the revised adjudication does not apply to what is on our website, meaning we can continue to express our beliefs that God can and does heal, as well as providing information and testimonies explaining all about Healing on the Streets.

HOTS Bath will continue to fulfill its commitment to demonstrate the love of God through healing of body, mind and spirit on the streets of Bath and elsewhere.

Comment: So how come ASA thought they could censor websites?

See  article from  godandpoliticsuk.org

By admitting that ruling against the website was outside their remit, the ASA has unfortunately demonstrated their own lack of judgement in regards to the original decision. Given that their role is to make sure that companies and organisation stick to advertising legislation, it is distinctly worrying that they have shown a lack of understanding of the very legislation they seek to uphold. Their conduct unfortunately undermines their reputation and vindicates the levels of frustration expressed by those supporting the work of HOTS which has included MPs and major Christian organisations.

 

  Back Off Mr Wiggles...

Advert censor fears that Pilgrim's Choice cheese advert may lead to kids shaving themselves with kitchen blades


Link Here 15th June 2012

pilgrims choice video A TV ad, for Pilgrim's Choice cheese, showed a woman opening her fridge door. A male voice behind her said Easy there, pilgrim. The woman turned to see a miniature cowboy sitting on the kitchen counter, wiping an oversized cut throat razor on a tea-towel. He proceeded to shave himself with the large blade, wiping the razor across his face and neck, as he spoke to the woman in a low, gravelly voice. The cowboy then jumped off the counter and said, I'll let myself out before running from the room. The end shot showed the cowboy, on his way out through the cat flap, pointing an oversized gun at a cat. He said, Back off, Mr Wiggles.

The ASA received 35 complaints:

  1. 24 viewers challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and likely to cause harmful emulation among children, particularly because it was broadcast before 9pm;

  2. 17 viewers challenged whether the use of a gun in the final scene was offensive, irresponsible and trivialised gun crime; and

  3. 17 viewers challenged whether the ad was irresponsible, offensive and distressing, because it trivialised knife crime and violent behaviour.

Clearcast pointed out that the cowboy had used the razor correctly and had not done anything untoward with it or handled it in an irresponsible way. They confirmed that they had considered the ex-kids restriction appropriate given the cowboy's use of the barbershop razor. They believed the likelihood of child emulation was small with that restriction in place and they confirmed that they did not believe the ad required a greater restriction. They said over 16s would appreciate the humour of the miniature cowboy behaving normally and using normal-sized props and that they would not attempt to copy his use of the razor. They said barbershop razors were not items that were commonly found in households, which again reduced the likelihood of emulation.

Adams Foods said the gun scene was clearly intended to be humorous because the cat was almost double the size of the cowboy. They did not believe that the gun scene was irresponsible given that films, such as westerns , were shown at any time of day and frequently showed guns being fired and people being hurt or even killed by them. They said they did not believe the ad had trivialised gun crime or violent behaviour.

ASA Assessment

1. Upheld

The ASA considered that older children would understand that the scenario depicted in the ad was surreal, because of the disconnect between the cowboy and the modern domestic kitchen in which the ad was set, the size of the cowboy and the manner in which he jumped down from the counter and ran out of the kitchen, leaving the property through the cat flap. We judged that older children would understand the shaving scene and the dangers of handling sharp objects. We did not consider that they were at risk of emulation.

However, we were concerned that younger children might not understand the ad and might find the miniature cowboy character particularly intriguing. Although we appreciated that the cowboy was using the razor to shave, we noted that the razor appeared very large and we considered that young children would not distinguish between the blade of a barbershop razor and the blades of common household objects, such as kitchen knives. We were therefore concerned that young children might mimic the cowboy's actions using common household objects in a manner that could seriously endanger their health.

We noted the restriction Clearcast had applied. However, that did not prevent the ad from being broadcast around daytime programmes that were not specifically targeted at children and we noted that a number of the complainants had seen the ad when watching TV with their young children during the day. We accepted that the restriction in place meant that children who saw the ad were likely to be supervised by their parents or carer who could explain the potentially dangerous behaviour and emphasise that it should be avoided. However, such was the potential for serious harm that would result from emulation by young children, we considered that the scheduling restriction was insufficient to minimize the risk of young children seeing the ad. We judged that the ad should have been given a 9pm timing restriction to ensure that it was not broadcast at a time of day when younger children were likely to be watching.

Because we considered that the ad could encourage younger children to behave in a way that could endanger their health, and because we considered the scheduling restriction applied was insufficient to minimize the risk of younger children seeing the ad, we concluded that the ad had not been scheduled appropriately.

On this point, the ad breached BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social responsibility), 4.1 and 4.4 (Harm and offence), 5.2 (Children) and 32.3 (Scheduling).

2. Not upheld

We acknowledged current concern about gun crime, which was reflected in some of the complaints we received. We considered that the size of the gun, both in relation to the cowboy and the cat at which it was pointed, and the fact that the cowboy was attempting to leave the house using the cat flap reinforced that the ad was surreal in nature. We considered that the cowboy's statement Back off Mr Wiggles dispelled any sense that this was a situation in which the cat was in danger, nor was the scene reminiscent of images that would commonly be associated with gun crime. We did not consider the overall tone of the ad likely to be seen to trivialise gun crime or violent behaviour. Because of that, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence and that it was not socially irresponsible.

On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social responsibility) and 4.2, 4.4 and 4.9 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.

3. Not upheld

We acknowledged current concern about knife crime, which was reflected in some of the complaints we received. We noted that the barbershop razor that the miniature cowboy ran across his face and neck appeared very large in relation to him, but we also noted that the razor was being used in the act of shaving and not in a threatening manner. It was not aimed at any other character or out towards the viewer and there was no depiction or suggestion of violence. We did not consider that the impression given by the shaving scene was reminiscent of images that would commonly be associated with knife crime and we did not consider that the overall tone of the ad was likely to trivialise knife crime or violent behaviour. Because of that, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or undue fear or distress and that it was not socially irresponsible.

On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social responsibility) and 4.2, 4.4 and 4.9 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.

 

  Twats...

Advert censors ban Frosty Jack's anti-conventional YouTube adverts


Link Here 14th June 2012

anti busybody advert Videos on the Frosty Jack's YouTube page promoted a cider drink.

a. An internet video ad, titled Anti-wasp , featured a man killing a wasp with an aerosol and lighter.

b. A second internet video ad, titled Anti-Gimmicky featured a man talking about the features of his car in a comically exaggerated fashion.

c. A third internet video ad, titled Anti Busybody. Anti-controversial , featured a man parking in a disabled space. When questioned by another man he said that he had Tourettes and shouted Twat .

A member of Alcohol Concern's Youth Alcohol Council challenged whether:

  1. ad (a) was likely to appeal particularly to people under 18, because it showed a person behaving in an adolescent or juvenile manner;

  2. ad (b) was likely to appeal particularly to people under 18; and

  3. ad (c) was likely to appeal particularly to people under 18

ASA Decision: Complaints Upheld

1. Upheld

We noted that the ad featured a young man killing a wasp with an aerosol and lighter, whilst smiling. We considered that the ad showed a person behaving in a juvenile and cruel manner. We noted that the ad did not portray the young man drinking or consuming the product, but considered that the action in the ad displayed irreverent and laddish behaviour. Although we did not consider that the ad would appeal to all, we considered that that action was likely to appeal particularly to young people.

Because we considered that the juvenile and irreverent behaviour in the ad would appeal particularly to young people, including those who were under 18 years of age, we concluded that the ad was irresponsible and in breach of the Code.

On that point, the ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 18.14 (Alcohol).

2. Upheld

We noted that the character's monologue described his car and lifestyle in an exaggerated and boastful way, which did not match the modest reality which viewers could see in the video. We considered that the character's immodest monologue about his car played on his apparent lack of self-awareness and relied on a stereotyped characterisation of a misguided young man. In light of that, we considered that the ad's content, and the type of humour it used, was likely to appeal particularly to young people.

In light of the type of humour and stereotyped characterisation that the ad used, we concluded that the ad was irresponsible and in breach of the Code.

On that point, the ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 18.14 (Alcohol).

3. Upheld

We considered that the action in the ad relied on mocking someone who had simply pointed out that the parking space should be reserved for the disabled, and that the protagonist subsequently pretended to have Tourettes to insult that person. We considered that that type of humour was irreverent and juvenile and, although we did not consider that that approach would appeal to all, we considered it was likely to appeal particularly to young people. We also considered that the ad trivialised a neurological condition which affected children and adults, and that the action in the ad could be seen to reinforce negative stereotypes in relation to Tourettes. We also considered that the ad suggested that it was acceptable for anyone to use a disabled parking space, rather than recognising that it was a space reserved for those with disabilities.

We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and in breach of the Code.

On that point, the ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 18.14 (Alcohol). Action

The ads must not appear again in their current form.

 

 Update: ASA Exploited by Campaigners...

Archbishop Cranmer predictably cleared by the ASA over worthless whinges, probably politically motivated, that should have been dismissed at the first opportunity


Link Here 13th June 2012

gay marriage Four ads for the campaigning group Coalition for Marriage:

a. A press ad, seen in Country Life Magazine, featured photos of couples on their wedding day. The ad stated 'I do' 70% of people* say keep marriage as it is. We agree: politicians should not be meddling with one of our great national institutions. 190,000 people have signed our petition in favour of keeping the definition of marriage unchanged. Whilst fully recognising the rights and views of others, we're asking you to support us. If you want to keep the true meaning of marriage as it is, and has been for thousands of years, say 'I do' - by signing our petition at c4m.org.uk PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION visit c4m.org.uk today ... Coalition for Marriage . Small print stated (*Source: ComRes poll for Catholic Voices) .

b. The ad was the same as ad (a), and was seen in the Daily Telegraph.

c. An online ad, seen on the blog of Archbishop Cranmer , featured photos of couples on their wedding day on the first frame. The second frame stated I do . The third frame stated 70% of people* say keep marriage as it is ... (Source: ComRes poll for Catholic Voices) . The final frame stated Help us keep the true meaning of marriage. PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION Click here ... Coalition for Marriage .

d. The ad was the same as ad (c), and was seen on blog of Guido Fawkes .

1. Twenty-four complainants challenged whether the claim 70% of people say keep marriage as it is in ads (a), (b), (c) and (d) was misleading and could be substantiated.

2. Eleven complainants objected that ads (a) and (c) were offensive.

3. Three complainants objected that ad (a) was misleading, as they did not believe it made clear that the aim of the online petition was to oppose same sex marriage.

1. Coalition for Marriage said the poll on which the claim was based was carried out by ComRes, who were a well-known and reputable polling company used by many sources. They said the poll asked whether marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman . They provided a link to the full poll results, and said they did not believe it was misleading to base the claim 70% of people say keep marriage as it is on the answer to this question. They pointed out that the question referred to continue and defined and said these meant the question related to whether the definition of marriage should be kept as it is, and not widened. They said the existence of other polls on the issue of gay marriage were not relevant, and that readers were free to make up their own mind about the opinions behind the polling figures. They pointed out that the ads stated clearly the source for the polling figure and that the poll was commissioned by Catholic Voices.

2. Coalition for Marriage did not believe the ads contained anything that was likely to cause offence. They said that pictures of happy couples on their wedding day appeared regularly in the media, and that the rest of the ad merely contained further information about their campaign. They said the aim of the ad, and their campaign, was to defend the definition of marriage enshrined in UK law as it had existed for hundreds of years. They believed those complaining were intolerant of opposing views. They believed the ads were an upbeat, warm-hearted presentation that simply endorsed the longstanding, globally accepted legal definition of marriage.

Country Life said their magazine covered a diverse range of subjects and they were not afraid to put forward a point of view or encourage debate. They said they accepted ad (a) because, in their opinion, it was simply an organisation's point of view and in theory no different to any other campaigning ad, about which there would always be differing opinions. They said they had received a small number of complaints from people who felt the ad was offensive but did not believe all had been from people who were actually readers. They said it was not their intention to cause offence and they welcomed all readers, whatever their point of view.

Archbishop Cranmer did not believe that ad (c) would be seen as offensive or homophobic. He pointed out that it merely featured pictures of photos of couples on their wedding day and a quotation from the marriage liturgy, and did not believe any rational or reasonable person would find this offensive.

3. Coalition for Marriage did not believe the ad was likely to mislead readers as to the purpose of the petition. They believed that asking people to sign to show their support for the current legal definition of marriage explicitly signalled objection to same sex marriage. They believed anyone signing the petition would be aware of the current political debate around marriage. They also pointed out that the ads directed people to their website to sign the petition, and that more information about their campaign and the current political debate about same sex marriage was available there.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not Upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that Coalition for Marriage based the claim 70% of people say keep marriage as it is on a poll carried out by ComRes for Catholic Voices, and this was clearly stated in the ads. The question asked in the poll was whether respondents agreed with the statement Marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman and 70% said they did. The poll related to an online panel of 2004 people, and the data had been weighted to be representative of the general population. Although some complainants believed the claim made in the ads was misleading because it did not reflect the results of other polls on the issue of same sex marriage, we considered the claim accurately represented the responses received to the poll conducted by ComRes and that the source for the claim was sufficiently prominent to ensure that those viewing the ad would be aware that it referred to the results of that poll only. Most people would expect polls relating to matters of opinion to lead to differing results depending on the exact wording of the question and the context in which it was asked. Also, the ad stated on which poll the claim was based and who had commissioned it. Finally, the poll was publically available on the ComRes website. We concluded that the claim was not misleading,

On this point we investigated ads (a), (b), (c) and (d) under CAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation) but did not find them in breach.

2. Not upheld

We noted the complainants believed that ads (a) and (c) were offensive as they considered them to be homophobic. However, the ads focused on the current legal definition of marriage and its history. We considered that, although some people might disagree with the advertisers' opinions on the matter of same sex marriage, the ads in themselves did not contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point we investigated ads (a) and (c) under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find them in breach.

3. Not upheld

The ad appeared in the context of a high-profile public debate around the issue of same sex marriage. We considered that readers seeing the ad would infer from the references to keeping marriage as it is that Coalition for Marriage were opposed to same sex marriage and that this was the purpose of the petition. The petition was on Coalition for Marriage's own website, which contained further information about their campaign. Therefore, we concluded the ad was unlikely to mislead readers about the aim of the online petition.

On this point we investigated ad (a) under CAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising) but did not find it in breach.

 

  Frubbish...

ASA throws out whinges about TV advert for Frubes yoghurts


Link Here 3rd June 2012

frubes advert A TV ad, for a children's yoghurt, Frubes, seen in March 2012 featured the inside of a fridge and cartoon Frubes characters lined up behind one another and marching in unison behind the leader, who was dressed as an army Sergeant Major. The Sergeant Major initiated the following singing exchange with the solders: We are Frubes and we are proud! , rip our heads off, sing it loud! , suck our guts out . The endframe featured the Sergeant Major standing beside a pack of Frubes saying Frubes. Rip their heads off and suck their guts out.

The ad was cleared by Clearcast with no timing restriction.

Nine viewers challenged whether the ad, and particularly the phrase Rip their heads off and suck their guts out , was inappropriate for children to see and therefore irresponsible.

Yoplait UK Ltd explained that the Frubes brand had been advertised on TV for several years with various creative content that included the strapline Rip their heads off and suck their guts out . They said they considered the strapline as referring to the Frubes characters only, and did not consider it offensive. They said the strapline had become an integral part of the Frubes advertising.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA understood that the ad had been cleared without any scheduling restrictions and had been broadcast on various children's TV channels, including Nickelodeon and Boomerang. We noted that the Frubes brand had been using the strapline Rip their heads off and suck their guts out for seven years. We also noted that the strapline was made in the context of animated cartoon Frubes characters and was not directed at anyone. We understood that the product was a fruit-flavoured yoghurt which came in slim plastic pouches and was consumed by tearing off the top of the pouch and sucking the contents out, and the strapline reflected this.

We noted that the ad did not feature the animated characters engaging in acts of violence towards each other and we considered that the language used was mild and relevant to how the product would be eaten. We noted two viewers reported that their young children had repeated the phrase. We considered that although some viewers might find the strapline distasteful and not want young children to hear or repeat the phrase, it was unlikely to cause harm or distress to children. For these reasons, we concluded that the ad, and particularly the phrase Rip their heads off and suck their guts out , was not inappropriate for children to see and was not irresponsible.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social responsibility), 4.1 (Harm and offence) and 32.3 (Scheduling) but did not find it in breach.

 

  Ludicrous Advert Censors Want Everybody to Live in a PG Rated World...

ASA get wound up by 12A rated YouTube trailer for Ghost Rider


Link Here 2nd June 2012

ghostrider trailer Two ads for the film Ghostrider: Spirit of Vengeance in 3D:

a. A digital outdoor ad seen in Glasgow Central Railway Station, on 14 and 15 February 2012 showed a trailer of the film, which was displayed without sound. The ad showed various scenes including a living skeleton character whose head was on fire and a man with a missing eye, screaming at the screen.

b. A YouTube banner ad, seen in February 2012, showed an image of Nicholas Cage which faded into a moving image of a skeleton whose head was on fire while text stated GET READY FOR THE WORLD'S DARKEST HERO . The film's title and a range of clickable options then appeared on the right of the banner ad and a static image of the skeleton character sat on a motorbike and wielding a flaming chain appeared on the left.

1. One complainant, whose children aged four and seven years had been frightened by the ad, challenged whether ad (a) was unsuitable to be seen in an untargeted medium where it could be seen by children.

2. One complainant challenged whether ad (b) was unsuitable to be seen by children.

1. & 2. Entertainment One (eOne) said that the film was certified by the BBFC as a 12A which meant that anyone aged 12 and over could go and see the film unaccompanied and children younger than 12 may see the film if accompanied by an adult.

They said that while the ads may have been considered unsuitable for general viewing, the media selected to display the ads was not intended to be viewed by unaccompanied children under the age of 12 where an adult would not be capable of shielding the child from such fear or distress.

eOne said that YouTube advised in their Terms of Service that anyone under 13 should not use the site and they therefore considered that YouTube was not a medium which would target children under the age of 12, without parental supervision. They said that it was a parent's responsibility to review YouTube's Terms of Service and recognise that it was not recommended for children under the age of 13.

In relation to ad (a), eOne said that Glasgow Railway Station was used widely by working commuters and as such, was not a location that would or should have been frequented generally by children under the age of 12 and in any event, they understood that it was highly unlikely that any children under 12 would be at the station unaccompanied.

YouTube, who displayed ad (b) on behalf of eOne said that they did not consider that the ad was unsuitable for untargeted display on the basis that the film was rated 12A and displayed obviously fictitious content. They considered that it was the responsibility of eOne to ensure that any ads submitted for display on YouTube were compliant with the CAP code.

ASA Decision Complaints Upheld

1. Upheld

The ASA noted that the imagery shown in ad (a) reflected the content of the film which was rated as a 12A by the BBFC. However, we also noted that most of the scenes included depicted violence or scenes of horror from the film, including footage of the film's main character, a living skeleton engulfed in flames attacking people with a metal chain. We considered these images could frighten some children and that the ad was likely to catch their attention, especially because it was shown on a large screen. We therefore concluded that it was unsuitable to be shown in an untargeted public medium

Ad (a) breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.2 (Harm and offence).

2. Upheld

We noted that ad (b) reflected the content of the film and that the skeleton figure was a fantasy character and was likely to be recognised as such. However, we considered that the moving image in the ad, which depicted the film's lead actor Nicholas Cage turning into the skeleton character after his face was consumed with flames had the potential to cause distress to some children. We noted that in order to create a YouTube account, users were required to confirm that they were at least 13 years old. We also noted, however that this ad could be viewed without logging in to the site and therefore it was not possible to prevent under 13-year-olds from viewing it. We also understood that a small proportion of visitors to YouTube were children despite their Terms of Service stating that under 13s should not use the service; seven per cent of YouTube users were aged between two years and 11 years and nine per cent were aged 12 to 17 years. Because ad (b) included imagery that could have caused distress to some children, and it could be viewed by all YouTube users including children, we concluded that it was inappropriately targeted and breached the Code.

Ad (b) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.2 (Harm and offence).

 

  Record Breaking Whingeing...

The ASA reports that 2011 was a record year for the number of complaints


Link Here 1st June 2012

ASA logo 2011 was a record-breaking year, mainly because of the extension of our remit to advertisers' own claims on their own websites and other social spaces.

In 2011 we received a record 31,458 complaints about 22,397 ads.  Our action led to 4,591 ad campaigns being changed or withdrawn [20%].

Some ads receive multiple complaints so we report on both the total number of complaints received and the number of ads (cases) to which these complaints relate.

  Complaints Cases
2009 28,978 13,956
2010 25,214 13,074
2011 31,458 22,397

ASA identified a breakdown of reasons for resolved complaints and case in 2011.

  Complaints Cases
Misleading Information 64% 78%
Easy Offence 26% 15%
Supposed Harm 10% 7%

 

  Splitting Hairs...

ASA dismisses whinges about jokey barbers advert


Link Here 31st May 2012

barber browns A regional press ad for Barber Brown's, a hairdressing salon, seen in the South West edition of the Metro on 21 February 2012 and 8 March 2012, featured an image depicting Jesus, bathed in light. Text stated He is coming ... Better get your hair done! Barber Browns UNISEX .

Two complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive to Christians. One of the complainants believed the ad implied that Jesus would judge people on their outward appearance and the other believed it was offensive to depict the Second Coming as humorous.

Barber Brown's said that they had been using the ad for well over three years in various formats, including flyers that were available in a local church, and that they had received an overwhelmingly positive response, including being featured in an article in the national press. They said that it was not their intention to cause offence and they felt that their intentions had been misinterpreted. They said that the ad was meant to be humorous and different rather than offensive.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted that the ad featured a depiction of Jesus bathed in light and that the text appeared to make reference to the Second Coming. We acknowledged that some people might find the ad distasteful. However, we considered that most consumers would understand that it was a light-hearted take on the biblical story rather than a mockery of Christian belief. Because we considered that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence, we concluded that it had not breached the Code.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

Comment: Arbitrary Mediation of Religious Offence

See  article from  secularism.org.uk

National Secular Society logo The National Secular Society has accused the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of being inconsistent in dealing with complaints about ads using religious imagery after the watchdog cleared an advertisement for a barber's shop that appeared to mock Jesus' second coming but had previously banned adverts for ice cream featuring a pregnant nun and apparently gay priests.

The NSS has written to the ASA's chairman, Lord Smith, asking him to revisit the ice cream ad judgments with a view to reversing them.

In its latest report, the ASA has cleared an advertisement for a barber's shop which was accused of offending Christians.

But previously the ASA had banned two advertisements from the ice cream manufacturer Antonio Federici one of which showed a pregnant nun and the other featured two priests who appeared to be on the verge of kissing each other.

Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, said: The ASA is completely inconsistent in its approach to adverts featuring religious imagery. It bans much milder advertisements --- such as those for the ice cream company Antonio Federici which sent up clergy and nuns rather than anything directly to do with faith --- and yet clears this one that parodies Jesus. Where's the logic in that?

Mr Sanderson said that the ASA may be easing up a little on its previously strict approach to advertising using religious images after NSS staff met with Lord Smith to discuss the ASA's unjustifiable restrictions on free expression.

 

  Celebrating 50 Years of Political Correctness...

ASA publish their top 10 adverts of 2011


Link Here 31st May 2012
Phones 4 U advert The most complained about UK adverts of 2011
  1. Phones 4 U

    659 complaints – not upheld

    A series of TV and video-on- demand ads featuring a ghost-like little girl prompted complaints that they were offensive, irresponsible, unduly distressing and inappropriately scheduled at a time when children might see them. Although we recognised the ads might cause some unease, we considered a post-7.30 pm restriction was appropriate.
     

  2. Littlewoods Home Shopping

    585 complaints – not upheld

    This online and broadcast ad generated a range of complaints including that it implied Father Christmas didn't exist and was sexist because it suggested mum bought all the presents. After careful consideration, we judged that there was nothing in the ad that broke the rules.
     

  3. CSL Sofas

    260 complaints – not upheld

    This TV ad for sofas depicted three female models posing and dancing in lingerie. We appreciated that some viewers might have found the images distasteful and gratuitous, but we considered the ad not to be problematic
     

  4. Lynx 2012 Deoderant

    214 complaints – not upheld

    In a TV ad parody of the story of Noah's Ark, a man attracted a hoard of women to his boat by spraying himself with deodorant. Viewers complained that the end of the world theme upset children mocked the Christian faith and was demeaning to women. We accepted the ad didn't appeal to everyone, but it contained nothing explicit that would cause harm or serious or widespread offence.
     
  5. Travel Palestine

    Travel Palestine 149 complaints – upheld in part

    Complainants challenged whether a magazine ad promoting tourist sites in Palestine was misleading because it suggested Palestine was a recognised country and suggested areas, including Jerusalem, were in Palestinian- administered territory. We told the advertiser not to suggest that it was universally accepted that locations were part of Palestine when that was not the case.
     
  6. Durex Condoms

    126 complaints – not upheld|

    This TV ad for condoms sparked complaints that it was inappropriate to appear before the watershed and was unsuitable to be seen by children. Because the ad was scheduled away from when young children might be watching and did not contain any graphic images or content, the ad did not breach the Code.
     
  7. Lynx Shower Soap

    115 complaints – upheld in part

    A poster featured a woman under an outdoor shower wearing bikini bottoms and clasping an undone bikini top against her breasts. We considered that, alongside the strap line the cleaner you are the dirtier you get , the ad was likely to cause offence and was unsuitable to be seen by children.
     
  8. Phones 4 U

    98 complaints – upheld

    A national press ad for miraculous deals on mobile phones featured a cartoon illustration of Jesus Christ grinning broadly and winking. Because the ad was published during Easter, we considered it was disrespectful to the Christian faith and likely to cause serious offence.
     

  9. The Money Advice Service

    80 complaints – not upheld

    Complainants objected that a TV ad and website for financial products and services were misleading. We concluded that the advertiser's claims about its advice service and that it was set up by Government had been substantiated.
     
  10. Phones 4 U

    79 complaints – not upheld

    Viewers considered a TV ad featuring a man being chased through the woods by a zombie to be offensive and unsuitable to be seen by children. We thought the post-7.30 pm restriction was sufficient to ensure it was unlikely to be seen by young children watching television alone.

 

  Celebrating 50 Years of Political Correctness...

ASA publish their top 10 adverts of all time


Link Here 30th May 2012
kfc mouths full advert video The most complained about UK adverts of all time
  1. KFC Zingers (2005) .

    1,671 complaints – not upheld.

    This TV ad showed call centre workers singing with their mouths full. Many objected it could encourage bad manners amongst children. Although not to everyone' taste, we thought it was unlikely to change children's behaviour or undermine parental authority.
     

  2. Auction World (2004)

    1,360 complaints – licence revoked.

    Shopping channel Auctionworld's consistently poor customer service, misleading guide prices and delays in delivery of goods resulted in a flurry of complaints, which we passed to Ofcom who issued a fine and revoked their licence to broadcast.
     
  3. Paddy Power Bookies (2010)

    1,313 complaints – not upheld

    Viewers complained that the image of a cat being kicked across a pitch by a blind football player was offensive to blind people and could encourage animal cruelty. We judged the ad was unlikely to encourage or condone cruelty to animals or cause serious or widespread offence.
     
  4. The Christian Party (2009)

    1,204 complaints – not upheld

    Complainants objected that the strap line There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life was offensive to atheists and couldn't be substantiated. Political party ads are out of our remit, but even if it had been in remit we wouldn't have banned it because it was clearly a statement of opinion, rather than fact.
     
  5. British Safety Council (1995)

    1,192 complaints – upheld

    This leaflet featured the Pope wearing a hard hat with the strap line The Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt always wear a condom . Although intended to raise awareness for National Condom Week and promote safer sex, we agreed with complainants that it was offensive to Roman Catholics
     
  6. Marie Stopes International (2010)

    1,088 complaints – not upheld

    A TV ad offering sexual and reproductive healthcare advice, information and services attracted complaints for various reasons, including that it promoted abortion. We felt it was clearly promoting an advice service and wasn't advocating one course of action over another, nor trivialising unplanned pregnancy.
     
  7. Volkswagen (2009)

    1,070 complaints – upheld in part

    The ASA upheld, in part, against this ad campaign that depicted an engineer fighting multiple versions of himself. We ruled that the level of violence in two of the ads meant they should only be shown after 9 pm.
     
  8. Opium Perfume (2000)

    948 complaints – upheld

    We agreed with complaints that a poster ad for Opium perfume featuring a naked Sophie Dahl was sexually suggestive and, in an untargeted medium, likely to cause serious or widespread offence. But we didn't uphold a small number of complaints about the same ad in women's magazines.
     
  9. Department of Energy and Climate Change (2010)

    939 complaints – upheld in part

    We received objections that this TV and press campaign about climate change was misleading and scaremongering. We didn't agree with the majority of the objections, but did uphold complaints about claims in some of the press ads for exaggerating the likelihood and impact of extreme weather conditions.
     
  10. Barnardo's (2008)

    840 complaints – not upheld

    Designed to raise awareness of domestic child abuse, this TV campaign featured repeated scenes of violence and drug-taking, which many viewers found upsetting and not suitable for broadcast at times when children were likely to be watching. We did not doubt the distress or offence described by many of the complainants. However, we considered the ads were scheduled appropriately and their aim justified the use of strong imagery.

 

29th May   

Updated: ASA Get in a Pickle as an Arbitrator of Political Correctness...

CD Universe - Buy Music CDs, TV on DVD, DVDs, Video Games for XBox, PlayStation 2 and Much More

ASA asked to think again about Channel 4's Big Fat Gypsy Wedding posters
Link Here

Bigger Fatter Gypsier The advert censor has been asked to review its decision not to formally investigate a controversial Channel 4 billboard campaign for the Big Fat Gypsy Weddings documentary.

The campaign - which featured the words Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier printed over images of gypsy children - led to 372 complaints that claimed it was offensive and racist.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) decided against investigating the campaign earlier this year because it judged that although the ads might not be to everyone's taste , the images and text reflected the tone and content of the programme, and were therefore unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

The ASA's independent reviewer, Sir Hayden Phillips, has recommended that the ASA council review its decision following a request by the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain (ITMB).

David Enright, a solicitor representing the ITMB, said:

The advertising campaign caused outrage. Hundreds of travellers and gypsies complained to the ASA about these adverts, which they saw as being racially demeaning and damaging to them, their communities and their children.

Travellers and gypsies now wait to see if the ASA council considers that they are entitled to equal protection by the regulator.

Update: ASA will now formally investigate complaints

29th May 2012. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

ASA logo The ASA is to formally investigate Channel 4's Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier advertising for Big Fat Gypsy Weddings , after the Traveller community successfully appealed the regulator's original decision.

The ASA has said its original decision to clear the campaign was flawed and admitted it never knew that one of the complainants was the Irish Traveller Movement of Britain, a material fact to which they should have had regard .

Legal representatives of the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain, and several co-complainants, appealed to the ASA's independent reviewer, Sir Hayden Phillips, to reassess the decision and consider an investigation. Phillips, who cannot force the ASA to conduct a formal investigation, told the regulator's council he believed that the ad campaign should be subject to a full investigation.

The ASA council, which met on Friday, has now asked the regulator to open an investigation to see if Channel 4's ad campaign is in breach of advertising rules relating to supposed widespread offence. The ASA will investigate the ITMB complaint, and the issues raised by co-complaints submitted for review by the traveller body's solicitors, but not the 371 other complaints the advertising also watchdog received.

 

  Tired of Easy Offence...

Advert censor dismisses ludicrous whinges about woman in hot pants appearing in tyre advert


Link Here 24th May 2012

mr unique logo A regional press ad, for Mr Unique tyre and exhaust centres, was seen in the Harlow Star and the Hoddesden and Broxbourne Mercury. The ad stated We're Back and featured an image of a woman wearing denim hot pants and a cropped top. She was shown leaning on a car with a wrench in one hand and the other placed on her hip. Issue

The ASA received two complaints from members of the public.

  1. Both complainants challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, because they believed it was sexist.
  2. One of the complainants also challenged whether the ad was suitable to be distributed in an untargeted medium.

1. & 2. Mr Unique said the ad was in a retro style which they had been using in their advertising for many years. They said that the image was related to their business and that the woman holding the wrench was shown working on a vehicle in a workshop. They said they regretted if the ad had offended any members of the public, because that was not their intention, and that they had had positive feedback about the ad from both male and female customers.

A SA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. & 2. Not upheld

The ASA noted that the woman was wearing denim hot pants and a cropped top. We also noted that she had her hand on her hip. We considered that the overall effect of the image, including the woman's facial expression, was only mildly sexual. We noted that the ad did not contain any innuendo and concluded that, because it was no more than mildly sexual, the ad was suitably targeted. We also considered that children were less likely to view the ad than if it had appeared in an untargeted medium. We concluded that, although some might find it distasteful, the ad was not overtly sexual and was not demeaning to women. We therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence in the medium in which it appeared.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social Responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

 

  Playing Safe...

Advert censor plays down the easy offence for a while and dismisses whinges for a Durex Play advert


Link Here 23rd May 2012
durex play o advert An internet display ad for Durex Play O lubricant gels, which was seen on www.tvguide.co.uk, featured the facial expressions of a number of women who appeared to be experiencing sexual pleasure, whilst an operatic aria played. A voice-over stated Feel more with Durex Play. Lubricants to add pleasure to every touch. Get your free sample on Facebook. The ad offered the functionality to click through to further details of the free sample offer.
  1. One complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive due to its sexual nature.
  2. Three complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsibly placed, because they considered that it was unsuitable to be displayed on a general interest TV listings website, which could be viewed by children.

Reckitt Benckiser said that, whilst the product and the brand were of a sexual nature and the advertising must therefore have some sexual content, they did not believe that the sexual content was explicit or likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

TVGuide.co.uk said that the ad was provided by an independent network that serves ads through their website. They told us that, following the complaints, they had requested that the ad be blocked from appearing again. They told us that 4.6% of their users were under 18 years old.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA acknowledged the complainant's concern, and appreciated that advertisers and publishers needed to be aware of the sensitive nature of ads for this type of product. However, we considered that the ad was not overtly graphic, contained no explicit material and we concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence, provided it was targeted appropriately.

On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

2. Not upheld

We acknowledged the complainants' concern that children using the website might have been exposed to the ad. We noted, however, that only a small proportion of TVGuide.co.uk's users were under the age of 18, and we therefore concluded that it had been targeted appropriately and was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to users of TVGuide.co.uk.

On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code  rule 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find it in breach.

 

23rd May   

Extract: ASA Concedes Lord Smith's Conflict of Interest...

Melon farming Fresh
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See further details
Melon Farming Fresh

 

Archbishop Cranmer makes the Telegraph over his call for Chris Smith to resign from the ASA
Link Here

archbishop cranmer logo Thanks to John Bingham, the brilliant Social Affairs Editor of The Telegraph, the demands of this blog for the Chairman of the Advertising Standards Authority to step down over his manifest conflict of interest have entered the mainstream media. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

The issue really is quite straightforward, and His Grace is at a loss to understand why others cannot see it. Lord Smith is actively campaigning for same-sex marriage while chairing an organisation that is investigating a perfectly reasonable and inoffensive advertisement promoting traditional marriage for alleged homophobia . The complaint is malicious and vexatious and ought to have been dismissed; the investigation is harassing, bullying and intimidating. Lord Smith's position is untenable.

Yet the intrepid Mr Bingham has established that the ASA itself believes that their Chairman has a conflict of interest in this matter. A spokesman said: Our chairman ordinarily does not vote, we have got 13 members of the council and the decisions are taken by them and our chairman does not ordinarily vote unless it is split. There is a conflict of interest here so even should the decision have been split he would not vote.

Well, thank God for that.

So much for Dr Webster's insistence that the ASA Chairman is operationally distinct : it is apparent that he chairs all Council meetings (how many limited companies have a council?) which take the decision to investigate potential breaches of the advertising code. This being the case, it is simply not sufficient for Lord Smith to lose his vote. He would have been (and will be) present at all discussions and party to all decisions: it is absurd to assert that his status and influence as Chairman have no bearing at all upon the decisions of other ASA Council members. It is very difficult indeed to support an advertisement in favour of heterosexual marriage in the presence of someone who believes it to be homophobic .

...Read the full article

Update: ASA and Lord Smith's (shifting) declarations of interests

26th May 2012. See  article from  archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.co.uk

The ASA have kindly acknowledged His Grace lengthy contribution to their investigation, which they summarised thus:

Archbishop Cranmer did not believe that ad (c) would be seen as offensive or homophobic. He pointed out that it merely featured pictures of photos of couples on their wedding day and a quotation from the marriage liturgy, and did not believe any rational or reasonable person would find this offensive.

And he has been given until 10.00am on 30th May to send them any comments on the factual accuracy of this.

...Read the full article

 

22nd May   

Extract: ASA v. Coalition for Marriage Ltd (2012)...

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Archbishop Cranmer responds to the ASA demands for justification of the totally inoffensive anti-gay marriage advert
Link Here

archbishop cranmer logo And finally Archbishop Cranmer wrote to the ASA to answer their original questions:

By sending out complaint papers which demand responses with such phrases as We require you to respond... and we will need to see robust documentary evidence to back the claims and a clear explanation from you of its relevance ; and by doing so with demands to answer your questions by a certain deadline with threats of punitive action for non-compliance, you fraudulently convey an excess of power and claim an authority which you do not, in law, possess. You impress upon the recipient that you are the superior moral agent, and that submission and obeisance are the only appropriate response. Authority which is exerted without right is an illegitimate use of power; illegitimate authority is tyranny; and tyranny leads to injustice, which can have no authority at all. By abusing your self-certified power and self-authenticated authority for the perpetuation of an image of your self-integrity, you deny all authority. You ought to rename yourselves the Political Substandard Tyranny.

Your treatment of His Grace has been mendacious, oppressive, and partisan. This has only become apparent as he refused to comply with your demand to keep all correspondence confidential. How many others have been intimidated, harassed and bullied into submission by you as they suffered in silence, fearful of the consequences of disclosure?

...Read the full article

ASA's Chris Smith comes Out4Marriage

See  article from  archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.com

Archbishop Cranmer also questions whether Chris Smith's campaigning in favour of gay marriage is appropriate to for the head of an organisation that is seemingly harassing political opponents.

With impeccable ('interesting') timing, Lord Smith of Finsbury has come out in favour of the campaign for same-sex marriage.

For all the reasons previously observed, Lord Smith must now resign his position as Chairman of the ASA, who have aggressively and deceptively made demands of His Grace (and others) in relation to a Coalition for Marriage advertisement which merely sought to uphold the traditional view of marriage and English law as it presently stands.

...Read the full article

 

19th May   

Extract: An Admission of Error...

ASA write again to Archbishop Cranmer
Link Here

archbishop cranmer logo The ASA finally wrote to Archbishop Cranmer without the previous patronising Foboffish:

We're sorry for any confusion or upset we've caused. We do accept that our first email didn't state that you were not compelled to respond to us, though we did clarify that explicitly in our second email to you. We do try to work with -- rather than against -- advertisers, agencies and publishers to resolve complaints that are raised with us. We also strive to make sure that our communications are clear, so we will certainly take on board the issues you've raised for future investigations.

Our website statement clarifies that publishers are not compelled to respond in these cases and was published after our second email to you.

Given that our investigation is ongoing and that you are not the subject of that investigation, I will not be addressing the wider queries you have raised or corresponding further on those points. That's because your questions go beyond your involvement in this case.

See the full article

 

18th May   

Extract: The ASA Responds to His Grace...

The Archbishop is somewhat unimpressed by an ASA response written in Foboffish
Link Here

archbishop cranmer logo The ASA has kindly responded to His Grace (within the 48hr deadline requested), and they appear to have opted for Discursive Deflection Letter No.17b, which incorporates expressions of absolute vacuity patronisingly written in sentences of monosyllabic nothingness as though the recipient were a moron. It answers none of the eight questions asked, and merits a jolly good fisking:

RE: ASA Complaint Investigation - 192907/JT

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your email. I am writing to provide some further explanation as to why we contacted you about this ad, and how our process works.

His Grace thanks you for that, but he has no questions about how your process works. He simply asked why you chose to escalate this matter immediately to the level of formal investigation , and why you chose His Grace alone from the blogosphere to justify his decision to publish/distribute it. You answer neither question. And His Grace doesn't like the tone of I am writing to provide some explanation as to... how our process works : he is neither five years old nor mentally deficient.

See the full article

 

17th May   

ASA Frothing at the Hip...

ASA whinge at sex reference in advert for Manhattan's Bar, Stoke
Link Here

manhattan bar advert An ad, for a club night, was viewed on Manhattan Bar's Facebook page on 18 January 2012 and was headlined CAN YOU CUM TWICE ON A FRIDAY? . The headline text was an off-white colour and the letters appeared to be formed from dripping liquid. Text below stated Whatever you buy b4 midnight we'll give you FREE when you come again . The ad also included an image of a woman, whose facial expression was suggestive of sexual activity.

A complainant challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

Manhattan Bar did not respond to the ASA's enquiries. Assessment

ASA Decision: Complaint Upheld

The ASA was concerned by Manhattan Bar's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to respond promptly to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.

We noted the ad included an image of a woman whose facial expression was suggestive of sexual activity as well as the text CAN YOU CUM TWICE ON A FRIDAY? , which appeared in the form of an off-white dripping liquid and we considered was a clear sexual reference. We considered the overall impression of the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence to visitors to Manhattan Bar's Facebook page and therefore concluded that it breached the Code.

The ad breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).

 

17th May   

Update: ASA Deny Bullying...

But Archbishop Cranmer demonstrates that they are speaking bollox
Link Here

gay marriage Presumably due to the Daily Mail picking up the story of Archbishop Cranmer's battle with the ASA who say that they are investigating offence and homophobia attributed to a totally innocuous advert calling for people to sign an anti-gay marriage petitition

 ASA have now made a statement on their website at  asa.org.uk . This includes:

One of the bloggers on whose blog the ads appeared has raised concerns about us contacting him as part of our investigation. We have long found it useful to ask, in confidence, publishers of ads subject to offence complaints for their views, because they can give us a valuable insight into whether or not their readers are likely to be offended. They are not the subject of our investigation, as we have made clear to them in this case, and they are not compelled to respond.

But Archbishop Cranmer takes particular notice of the claim: "they are not compelled to respond". He has published correspondence between himself and the ASA and demonstrates that the ASA bullies are speaking bollox:

See  Archbishop Cramer's response: ASA semantics and lies from  archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.co.uk

 

16th May   

Update: ASA Persecuting His Grace Now in the Public Gaze...

Daily Mail reports on the ASA and republishes the supposedly offensive advert
Link Here

gay marriage The well known and respected blog archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.co.uk is being put under pressure by the politically correct advertising police of the ASA.

An innocuous 'advert' calling for reader to sign a petition opposing gay marriage resulted in 24 complainants, including the Jewish Gay & Lesbian Group.

The call to sign the petition simply consists of

1. Photos of couples on their wedding day on the first frame.

2. The second frame stated I do .

3. The third frame stated 70% of people* say keep marriage as it is ...(Source:ComRes poll for Catholic Voices) .

4. The final frame stated Help us keep the true meaning of marriage. PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION Click here ...Coalition for Marriage .

The ASA demanded that Archbishop Cranmer justifies the advert and how he answers the ludicrous claim that it is somehow offensive and homophobic,

The story has now being picked up by the Daily Mail who gave the ASA to explain their requests of Archbishop Cranmer. The Daily Mail wrote:

ASA logo The ASA today stressed it would not necessarily uphold the complaints, which would lead to the ad being banned.

It said in a statement: The right of advertisers responsibly to express their views will undoubtedly be an important factor in our assessment of whether the ads are likely to cause serious or widespread offence. We are also looking at whether the ads are misleading.

The authority also responded to Archbishop Cranmer's outrage over the threatening way in which it approached him, explaining that: We have long found it useful to ask, in confidence, publishers of ads subject to 'offence complaints for their views, because they can give us a valuable insight into whether or not their readers are likely to be offended'.

Note the conciliatory tone used by ASA when being exposed in the press. Note the reasonable sounding:

We have long found it useful to ask, in confidence, publishers of ads subject to 'offence complaints for their views, because they can give us a valuable insight into whether or not their readers are likely to be offended'.

Then compare it with the bullying tones used by the ASA in an adjudication published today re a Facebook advert for Manhattan Bar. The ASA then wrote about 'asking' for advertiser input:

[Advertiser] Response

Manhattan Bar did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.

Assessment Upheld

The ASA was concerned by Manhattan Bar's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to respond promptly to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.

Meanwhile the Jewish Gay & Lesbian Group have published a statement about complaints attributed to the group. The group shouted on their website somewhat unconvincingly that it wasn't a call for censorship:

JGLG HAS NOT CALLED FOR CENSORSHIP OF ANYTHING. ONE OF OUR MEMBERS ASKED THE ASA FOR AN INVESTIGATION INTO AN ADVERT SEEN IN A MAGAZINE BECAUSE HE BELIEVED IT TO BE UNLAWFUL. HE WAS NOT ACTING ON BEHALF OF JGLG. WE WOULD LIKE TO STATE THAT CALLING FOR AN INVESTIGATION ISN'T THE SAME THING AS CALLING FOR CENSORSHIP.

 

16th May   

ASA Political Censors...

ASA policing political donations on the grounds that they could be used for something harmful
Link Here

chimney daubed toxic crime Claims on Redecorate a power station chimney page on www.greenpeacegiving.org.uk on 30 December 2011 stated Chimneys, they're a bit dull aren't they? We prefer them when they have statements written down them, like 'no new coal' or 'stupid', which say what we think about them. Actually we'd prefer them if they weren't there at all, because coal is the most climate-wrecking fuel there is, but we're working on that one. 80 Send this Gift. How this gift works ... Direct actions are about being there in person to stop an environmental crime from taking place. The proposed new power station at Kingsnorth in Kent would emit about the same amount of CO2 as the world's 30 poorest countries, and when we shut down the existing power station in 2007 we brought the issue of whether it needs to be built firmly to the front line. Shutting down dirty power stations is just one of the ways Greenpeace is working to secure a clean energy future, but painting down the side of giant chimneys cranks up the political pressure and throws a vital spotlight on one of the greatest threats to our climate . A photograph on the page showed a person in a climbing harness painting on the side of a power station chimney.

An internet user challenged whether the claims were harmful and irresponsible, because he believed they encouraged consumers to sponsor an illegal activity and encouraged and condoned anti-social behaviour.

Greenpeace said they took non-violent direct action based on their intention to protect the planet from environmental harm and they did not aim to break the law. They believed, while the tone of the heading Redecorate a power station chimney was tongue-in-cheek, the example in the ad of the action taken at Kingsnorth power station was clear. They said those activists had not taken direct action with the intention of breaking the law and had subsequently been found not guilty of causing criminal damage.

ASA Decision: Complaint Upheld

The ASA noted Greenpeace took direct action without the intention of breaking the law, but understood that, although the Kingsnorth activists had been found not guilty of criminal damage, other similar activity might nonetheless lead to acts that were illegal or anti-social.

We considered that defacing property would generally be viewed as anti-social, and would in some circumstances be illegal, and considered that the claims Redecorate a power station chimney and ... We prefer them when they have statements written down them, like 'no new coal' or 'stupid' ... and the photograph of a man painting slogans on the side of a chimney condoned such behaviour. Although we considered that the claims themselves were unlikely to influence the public to engage in such exploits themselves, we considered that the claim ?80 Send this Gift. How this gift works ... sought donations in order to make it possible to finance similar direct action by others and thereby encouraged such behaviour. We therefore concluded that the ad was harmful and irresponsible because it encouraged and condoned anti-social behaviour.

The claims breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.4 (Harm and offence). Action

 

15th May   

Updated: Advertising Standards Authority Persecutes His Grace...

ASA harangues well known blogger over polite call to sign a petition against gay marriage
Link Here

gay marriage The well known and respected blog archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.co.uk is being put under pressure by the politically correct advertising police of the ASA. As Archbishop Cranmer explains:

Apparently there have been a number of complaints about one of the advertisements His Grace carried on behalf of the Coalition for Marriage. He has been sent all manner of official papers, formal documentation and threatening notices which demand answers to sundry questions by a certain deadline. He is instructed by the Investigations Executive of this inquisition to keep all this confidential.

Since His Grace does not dwell in Iran, North Korea, Soviet Russia, Communist China or Nazi Germany, but occupies a place in the cyber-ether suspended somewhere between purgatory and paradise, he is minded to ignore that request. Who do these people think they are?

The call to sign the petition simply consists of

1. Photos of couples on their wedding day on the first frame.

2. The second frame stated I do .

3. The third frame stated 70% of people* say keep marriage as it is ...(Source:ComRes poll for Catholic Voices) .

4. The final frame stated Help us keep the true meaning of marriage. PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION Click here ...Coalition for Marriage .

Apparently 24 complainants, including the Jewish Gay & Lesbian Group challenged whether the claim '70% of people say keep marriage as it is' However, His Grace is not required to respond to that point, since he did not conduct the research. But it transpires that 10 of these 24 complainants objected that the petition call is somehow offensive and homophobic, and he is requested to respond to these allegations.

...Read the full article

Update: Illiberal Conspiracy

14th May 2012. See  article from  liberalconspiracy.org

liberal conspiracy logo An interesting post at liberalconspiracy.org suggested that it is correct that the ASA should follow up the complaints and demand a response from the blogger:

They are, of course, people who are tasked simply with doing a job which entails investigating complaints about advertising lodged by members of the general public, and all they've done so far is contact Cranmer and offer him the chance to give his side of the story.

...

As regards the allegation that the advert is, itself, offensive and homophobic well. let's be honest, we're hardly in God Hates Fags territory here are we? And, in any case, this is essentially a single issue political campaign and should, therefore , attract a greater degree of protection under Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights than would be the case for purely commercial advertising.

In short, it should take no more than 10-15 minutes to compose a suitable response which addresses and roundly dismisses the complaint.

Why is it that the British authorities always seem to start from the default position that a complainant is right?

The 'advert' in question is clearly not threatening, or inciting in anyway whatsoever, it is not even mildly insulting. It is just a call to support a stance that is actually the status quo and is currently the law of the land.

The PC police at the ASA should not be allowing political campaigners to make complaints that end up hassling those merely exercising their right to free speech. It is not free speech if people are harassed and bullied into justifying their stance. The ASA should tell the complainants to sling their hooks and not support bullying.

Update: His Grace Responds with support from diverse organisations

15th May 2012.

Christian Concern are unimpressed by ASA bullying. From an article on  christianconcern.com :

Christian Comcern The investigation was launched after anonymous complaints were received against the blog for featuring the online advert which urged members of the public to sign the Coalition for Marriage petition.

The complainants, including the Jewish Gay & Lesbian Group, have described the advert as offensive and homophobic . The anonymous writer has now been given until 21 May to respond to the allegations.

The writer behind the blog, which was ranked as the 24th most influential blog in the UK, commented:

This is nothing short of censorship. Nothing in the advert is factually incorrect or offensive. It is an advert to campaign to simply keep the law as it is. It is outrageous to suggest it is homophobic and the fact that the ASA are even considering such an allegation is ludicrous and displays evidence of a lack of even basic research by them before making the demand of Cranmer that they have done.

Critics have noted that the Chairman of the ASA is Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury, who is Vice President of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and a leading supporter of same-sex marriage. He has previously been named by Pink News as being in the top 30 of the most powerful homosexual people in British politics.

Meanwhile the National Secular Society are also unimpressed. From an  article on  secularism.org.uk

National Secular Society logo The rather eccentric Christian blogger Archbishop Cranmer is under investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority after he reproduced an advertisement from the group Coalition for Marriage which is seeking to thwart the Government's plans to legalise same-sex marriage.

The ASA has said that it has received ten complaints that the advertisement is offensive and homophobic . It demands that the Archbishop explain himself before he is once more sent to the stake.

Needless to say his wit and style is more than a match for the rather authoritarian tendencies at the Advertising Standards Authority, and he has turned the tables on them quite deliciously.

The NSS wants to announce its support for the Archbishop Cranmer blog. Although it disagrees with this blogger profoundly on so many issues, it agrees with him entirely that the Advertising Standards Authority is overstepping the mark and posing a rather sinister threat to freedom of expression.

But Archbishop Cranmer is enjoying confronting the ASA bullies. He has written a fine response.

archbishop cranmer logo He asks some pertinent questions of the ASA:

[Re] the complaint concerns the Coalition for Marriage advertisement, it must be observed that the same advertisement appeared on numerous blogs ('Internet [display]'), including Guido Fawkes (which you acknowledge) and ConservativeHome. You appear not to have troubled ConservativeHome at all in the pursuit of your enquiries, and your letter states that you have copied in Guido Fawkes for information only. Ergo you appear to have singled out His Grace alone in the blogosphere ('Internet [display]') and made demands only of him to respond to Point 2 of the complaint, i.e., that the advertisement was homophobic and offensive . Why are you harassing His Grace alone in the blogosphere? Why are all blogs which displayed this advertisement not being treated equally?

You state that 10 of the 25 complaints received deem the advertisement to be offensive and homophobic . His Grace understands the plainest meaning and definition of the term offensive . But, since homosexuals and homosexuality are nowhere mentioned in the advertisement, could you please clarify how the term homophobic is being used in this context?

See the full response from  archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.com

 

9th May   

Mixed Messages...

Advert censor dismisses whinge about reference to woman looking good
Link Here

nottingham readymix advert An ad, on the back of a local bus seen in January and February 2012, for a company supplying concrete, featured a picture of a woman wearing a short, low-cut black dress lying on her front. Behind the woman was an image of a cement mixer and a man laying cement using a pump. Text stated Why barrow it ... pump it! ... YOU THINK SHE LOOKS GOOD...CHECK OUR NEW CONCRETE PUMP!!

A complainant challenged whether the ad was unsuitable for children to see.

Ratcliffe Fernley Media Ltd (RFM), Nottingham Ready Mix's agency, responded on their behalf. They said that the ad was not targeted at children and that they did not feel that children would make the connection between the text and the image of the woman. They explained that barrow and pump were technical terms used by builders with regards to concreting areas and they believed they would mean little, if anything, to children.

RFM said that the female model used in the ad was fully clothed and was not in an overtly sexual pose, nor could her cleavage be seen. They believed it was unlikely that a child would think there was anything untoward about the ad. They did not believe it was unsuitable for children to see.

ASA Assessment: Not Upheld

The ASA noted that the woman was wearing a low-cut short black dress and that her position meant that she was not showing any cleavage. We considered that she was unlikely to be seen as indecently dressed. We did not consider her pose was provocative or sexually suggestive. We considered that children were unlikely to understand the connection which might be inferred between the text in the ad and the image of the woman. For those reasons, we concluded that the ad was suitable for outdoor display and was unlikely to be seen as socially irresponsible.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find it in breach.

 

3rd May   

ASA Loves Condoms But Not Sex...

Advert censor dismisses whinges about condom posters
Link Here

love skyn advert Two poster ads, viewed in March 2012, advertising SKYN condoms:

a. One poster was headlined Love sex. Hate condoms. Love SKYN . Further text stated This changes everything. SKYN condoms are made from a revolutionary new material Polyisoprene, to revolutionise your sex life .

b. Another poster was headlined Roll on better sex . Further text stated This changes everything. SKYN condoms are made from a revolutionary new material Polyisoprene, to revolutionise your sex life . Issue

Twenty-four complaints challenged whether ad (a) was:

1. offensive; and

2. inappropriately placed where it could be seen by children.

Two complainants challenged whether ad (b) was:

3. offensive; and

4. inappropriately placed where it could be seen by children. CAP Code (Edition 12) 1.34.1 Response

Ansell Ltd stated that there was a higher possibility of public complaints being received because of the product being advertised and stated that there would always be people who would be offended by any mention of condoms and contraception. They believed, however, that this was significantly outweighed by the benefit to society in reducing teenage and unwanted pregnancy and in reducing sexually transmitted diseases. They believed it was important that such products were allowed to be mass-marketed to reach the maximum number of possible consumers and also that the product would encourage the use of condoms.

They additionally stated that there would inevitably be people, including parents of young children or those with certain religious beliefs, who would not want to see any advertising for sexual wellness products. They believed, however, that it was important that people had the opportunity to be informed about sexual wellness products. They also stated that they did not believe the ads were overtly sexual, degrading to women or likely to encourage promiscuity.

They stated that neither ad was placed within the 100 m of a school and that the ads were not placed near churches.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Not Upheld

1 & 3 Not upheld

The ASA noted both ads included the prominent use of the word sex alongside an image of the head and shoulders of a woman who appeared to be wearing only underwear. We acknowledged that the use of the word sex , the reference to condoms and the images of the women referred to sexual activity, but considered that the images were not sexually explicit and the overall tone of the ads was not provocative. We acknowledged that some consumers would find the posters distasteful because of the overt references to sex and sexual activity. However, we considered that, in the context of ads for condoms, the images and text in the ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point we investigated ads (a) and (b) under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find them in breach.

2 & 4 Not upheld

We noted both ads included the prominent use of the word sex alongside an image of the head and shoulders of a woman who appeared to be wearing only underwear. We also noted the use of the word sex , the reference to condoms and the images of the women referred to sexual activity. We considered that it was acceptable to use a reference to sex to promote condoms on a poster provided that it was not done in a way that was sexually provocative, but nevertheless considered that the direct reference to sexual activity meant that the posters were unsuitable to be placed in those locations where they were most likely to be seen by children. We noted Ansell had imposed a placement restriction on the ads meaning that they would not be positioned within 100 m of any school. We therefore considered that the ads were responsibly placed.

On this point we investigated ads (a) and (b) under CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find them in breach.

 

2nd May   

Fillies Cause a Stir at the ASA...

Advert censor easily offended by lap dancing club poster
Link Here

fillies epsom advert A poster ad, for an adult entertainment venue, included a large image of a woman's torso. The woman was in a reclined position and her torso and the lower part of her breasts were exposed; she wore a top that covered the upper part of her breasts. The ad included the text Join the FILLIES girls at STIR and also showed a logo that included the silhouette of a woman.

 The ASA received six complaints from members of the public:

  1. The complainants challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, particularly in an untargeted medium, because they believed it was degrading and objectified women.

  2. Some of the complainants also challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, particularly in an untargeted medium, because they believed it was overtly sexual.

  3. Some of the complainants also challenged whether the ad was unsuitable to appear where it could be seen by children, in particular because it appeared in the proximity of a primary school.

1. & 2. Fillies Clubs Ltd (FC) said they had used the same logo for around three years and had not received any complaints during that time. They said the silhouette was clearly of a woman wearing a cat suit and heels and that it had been changed from its draft format so it no longer showed the outline of a nipple, thereby removing any suggestion that the nipple was exposed. They said the model used for the main image in the ad was gender neutral so it was decided not to include the face. They said the image could be male or female or, as in the current case, neither. FC said the ad did not include any derogatory images or text in relation to either gender and there was no innuendo. They said offence was a subjective matter. However, they disagreed that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

3. FC said the ad only appeared in one location, which was within the boundaries of a pub car park. They said the poster was not in close proximity to a school or residential area.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

1. Upheld

The ASA noted the ad was for an adult entertainment venue and, as such, the image was relevant to the nature of the club being advertised. We noted that FC said the model was gender neutral but given the prominence of the breasts in the image, particularly in conjunction with the text Join the FILLIES girls ... , we considered consumers were likely to view the torso as being that of a woman. We noted the model's head was not included in the image and considered consumers would understand from the ad that they were being invited to view the faceless model's naked torso and, in particular, the breasts. We considered the ad presented the model as a sexual object and considered that, particularly in conjunction with the references to FILLIES it was likely to be seen as objectifying women and demeaning them. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, particularly in an untargeted medium.

On this point, the ad breach CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).

2. Upheld

We noted the model's naked torso occupied almost the entirety of the ad and that the only visible clothing was a top that merely covered the upper part of the breasts, which were very prominent. We considered the model's pose and dress were sexually provocative and had the effect of making the model appear sexually available. We also noted the ad included a logo that showed the silhouette of a woman, also in a reclined position. Although we acknowledged the imagery in the ad was relevant to the nature of the venue being advertised, we considered it, in particular the main image of the model, was overtly sexual and was therefore likely to cause serious or widespread offence in an untargeted medium.

3. Upheld

We understood the ad was placed outside a station and approximately 0.2 miles from a primary school. Nevertheless, we noted it could be seen by children, given that it appeared in an untargeted medium. We considered the ad was overtly sexual and therefore unsuitable to appear where it could be seen by children. We concluded that the ad breached the Code and that it was irresponsible for such an overtly sexual image to appear in an untargeted medium.

On points 2 and 3, the ad breached CAP Code  rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence). Action

The ad should not appear again in its current form. We told FC to ensure future marketing communications were prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and society and that, particularly in an untargeted medium, they did not contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

 

28th April   

Confused.com Advert Winds up the Easily Outraged...

Drip drip drip of Mothers' Union whingeing becomes a torrent of bilge
Link Here

confused com nectar video TV viewers have got their knickers in a twist over the sight of cartoon women dancing in bikinis and a large woman flashing her underwear in an advert.

The 30-second TV ad for insurance company confused.com has resulted in 37 nutter complaints from 'outraged' members of the public who ludicrously claim it is too overly sexual.

Cartoon characters with large breasts in skimpy bikinis are shown jumping up and down in slow motion to the Village People's YMCA song - while another woman's short dress rides up to expose her pink knickers.

The ASA has investigated the firm's ad and has found the complaints to be bollox.

A spokesman for the authority said the organisation had received a number of complaints on a range of issues including that the ads were misleading in the representation of the value of nectar points. Other complaints were logged because the advert was overly sexual and inappropriate for children to see, and that it is offensive in stereotyping on religious and race grounds. The spokesman said: We have decided, following an ASA Council decision, that there were no grounds to take any action on these issues.

The Mothers' Union today slammed the advert for increasing the creeping sexualisation of television. A spokesprat said:

This advert increases our major concern about the drip-drip affect of sexualisation of everyone on television. It is having an impact on everyone - including children - and we need to protect them from this wallpapering of sexualisation.

It is high time something is done about this. We need to become aware of what is going on before the drip-drip becomes a torrent.

 

25th April   

Fucking Morality Censors...

ASA whinges at student event flyer on grounds that casual sex is 'potentially unsafe'
Link Here

pearl lounge aberdeen logo A leaflet, distributed around Aberdeen University campus on behalf of The Pearl Lounge, stated VALENTINES FU*K FEST THURSDAY 16TH FEBRUARY GO HOME WITH A STRANGER! 70P BROKE BOMBS GET YOUR NUMBER AT THE DOOR LEAVE YOUR MESSAGES SEE MORE FU*KING THAN DAVID ATTENBOROUGH COULD HANDLE! . Issue

Aberdeen City Council and a member of the public challenged whether the leaflet was:

  1. offensive, because it featured sexually explicit material; and

  2. irresponsible, because the text GO HOME WITH A STRANGER encouraged potentially unsafe practices.

The Pearl Lounge said they did not support the message communicated in the leaflet. They also said it was not the promoter's intention to cause harm or offence but to create a tongue in cheek promotion aimed at students. They said the event was cancelled and all promotional material had been withdrawn. They also said they had since worked closely with Aberdeen City Council and student bodies to ensure similar risky promotions did not run again and that all future material for external events was proof read by the venue.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

1. Upheld

The ASA welcomed the advertiser's assurance that similar promotional material would not be distributed in future. We noted the ad stated VALENTINES FU*K FEST... SEE MORE FU*KING THAN DAVID ATTENBOROUGH ... and considered that, because it was clear from the use of asterisks in the words FU*K and FU*KING that they represented swear words, the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence to some readers.

On this point the ad breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence)

2. Upheld

We considered that the text GO HOME WITH A STRANGER , in conjunction with the text VALENTINES FU*K FEST and SEE MORE FU*KING THAN DAVID ATTENBOROUGH ... was likely to been seen as encouraging readers to go home with a stranger to have sex. We considered that, because this was a potentially unsafe practice, the ad was socially irresponsible. We therefore concluded that it breached the Code.

On this point the ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.5 (Harm and offence).

 

18th April   

Party Pooper...

ASA dismiss whinge about a party pack of alcoholic drinks
Link Here

livingsocial logo An alcohol sales promotion on www.livingsocial.com, visited on 11 November 2011, stated 'Boys' Night In' with 12 Beers, Bottle of Vodka, Mixer, and Two Packs of Pringles, with Delivery ( 21), or Two Bottles White Wine, Bottle of Vodka, Mixer, and Two Packs of Pringles, with Delivery ( 23) ... Wouldn't parties be better if you could magically summon supplies? Well today's wizard deal from After Shottz will let you do just that with a 'Girls' Night In', or 'Boys' Night In' delivered to your door (within PO postcodes). If you fancy a spell of fun with the lads or the ladies, After Shottz will wave their wands and deliver all you need for a supernaturally good time. For just 21 the boys will receive 12 550ml cans of beer, a 70cl bottle of vodka, a two-litre bottle of mixer, and two packs of Pringles (a 46 value). While girls can treat themselves to two bottles of white wine, a 70cl bottle of vodka and a two-litre bottle of mixer, and two packs of Pringles for just 23 (a 46 value). After Shottz supplied parties are the stuff of legend so grab today's deal and conjure up all the ingredients for a perfect boys' or girls' night in - no need to say 'abracadabra' .

A complainant challenged whether the ad was socially irresponsible, because it encouraged excessive drinking.

ASA Decision: Complaint not upheld

The ASA noted that the promotion offered the ingredients for a perfect boys' or girls' night in and stated Wouldn't parties be better if you could magically summon supplies? . We noted that the boys' package offered beer and the girls' package offered white wine, and considered that the references to boys' night in or girls' night in were primarily intended to describe the type of alcohol available in the respective packages. We noted that there was a limit of one voucher per group and considered that the offer targeted people throwing parties in their homes, rather than at individual drinkers and that the ad focused on how supplies for a house party could be conveniently delivered to the party location. We considered that the language used in the ad was generally measured and did not refer to, or overtly encourage, excessive drinking.

Because we considered that the promotion was targeting parties, where the pack would be divided between and consumed by a group of people, and because we considered that the language used in the ad was measured, we concluded the ad did not encourage excessive drinking, and was not socially irresponsible.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code  rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising), 18.1, 18.3 and 18.10 (Alcohol), but did not find it in breach.

 

14th April   

Given the Push...

ASA dismiss whinges about a bra advert
Link Here

hm super push bra advert A TV ad and a digital poster, for H&M's Super Push Bra, viewed in December 2011:

a. The TV ad showed a woman dancing in her underwear. The model looked down at her chest and at the camera. On-screen text stated Super Push Bra 9.99 .

The ad was cleared by Clearcast without a timing restriction.

b. The digital poster featured three separate images of a woman wearing her underwear and each was accompanied by text which stated SUPER PUSH BRA. 9.99 . The first image showed the model in an arced pose with her hands resting behind her head. The model had a playful expression on her face. The second image showed the model with her hands beside her head. Her eyes were shown to be looking towards the advertised product. The third image showed the model in an arced pose. Her eyes were looking directly out from the image and she had a sultry expression on her face.

  1. Three complainants objected that the TV ad was offensive.
  2. Three complainants objected that the TV ad was unsuitable to be broadcast at times when children might be watching.
  3. One complainant objected that the digital poster was indecent and offensive.
  4. One complainant objected that the digital poster was not suitable for display in locations where children could see it.

H & M said the ad showed a bra from their underwear range. They said they had chosen to show the bra on the model to demonstrate the uplifting effect of the bra. They said it was their intention to show the function of the garment in a playful way, but did not intend for the ad to be deemed indecent or offensive.

Clearcast said they did not believe the ad required a timing restriction because the model was not acting in a provocative manner. They said the model was modelling underwear which demonstrated the enhanced cleavage that the bra could achieve. They said the model was shown enjoying herself to uplifting music. In that context, they believed the tone of the ad was fun and playful.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted the ad was for a push-up bra and the model was shown to caress her body, wink and blow a kiss to the viewer. In one scene the model was shown to look towards the advertised product before holding a sustained look directly towards the viewer. The ad did not, however, include any explicit nudity and whilst we understood the ad might be viewed by some as sexually suggestive in nature, in the context of an ad for a bra, we considered it was not overtly sexual. Whilst we recognised that some people might find the ad distasteful, we considered the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point, we investigated ad (a) under BCAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

2. Not upheld

We acknowledged the complainant's concern that the ad was unsuitable for broadcast when children might be watching. However, as stated in point 1 , we noted the ad did not include any explicit nudity and whilst we understood the ad might be viewed by some as sexually suggestive in nature, in the context of an ad for a bra, we considered it was not overtly sexual.

We therefore considered the ad did not include anything that was likely to cause harm or distress to children or was otherwise unsuitable for them. On that basis, we concluded that the ad was suitable for broadcast without a timing restriction.

On this point, we investigated ad (a) under BCAP Code rule 32.3 (Scheduling of Television and Radio Advertisements) but did not find it in breach.

3. Not upheld

We noted there was no explicit nudity in the ad, and that the ad was for a push-up bra. We considered the nature of the product meant that viewers of the ad were less likely to regard the ad as gratuitous or offensive. We noted the first image showed the model with her hands resting behind her head and with a playful expression on her face. We also noted the second image showed the model with her hands beside her head and her gaze towards the advertised product. We again considered the model's facial expression to be playful. We noted the third image showed the model in an arced pose which accentuated her hip. We considered the pouted lips and the fact that the model was looking directly at the viewer gave the model a sultry expression. Whilst we understood the ads might be viewed by some as mildly sexual in nature and therefore distasteful, we concluded that the images in the ad were playful and were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point, we investigated ad (b) under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

4. Not upheld

We considered the ad might be viewed by some as mildly sexual in nature. However, we considered that the images were not overtly sexual in nature. We therefore concluded that ad (b) was acceptable for use in outdoor media likely to be seen by children.

On this point, we investigated ad (b) under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find it in breach.

 

12th April   

Great Bodywork...

Shame about the pathetically politically correct ASA putting a spoke in the works
Link Here

tri uk advert A magazine ad for Triuk bicycle frames, seen in Cycling Plus , stated It all starts with great bodywork and featured an image of a bicycle frame and a naked woman. The woman held one arm up over behind her head, while the other covered her breasts. The text TRIUK covered her from the navel down.

A complainant, who believed that the image was sexist and degrading to women, challenged whether it was offensive.

Triuk said, whilst they were concerned that someone had found their ad offensive, they believed that the ad was not degrading or sexist in any way. They said the ad was a piece of artwork with a friendly tongue-in-cheek caption and had intended to be eye-catching and show the aesthetic features of the bicycle frame. They also said, because 45,000 issues of the magazine that contained the ad had been sent out and Cycling Plus had not received any complaints, and because the use of the female form in the cycling industry was commonplace, they believed that the ad was acceptable.

Cycling Plus said their magazine was read predominantly by men in their 30s to 50s and did not believe that the ad was offensive.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA noted the ad featured an image of a naked woman and that, although the image was not sexually explicit, it had sexual connotations. We also noted that it bore no relevance to the advertised product and that the text It all starts with great bodywork likened the aesthetic qualities of the woman to those of the product. We therefore considered that, in this context, the image was likely to cause serious offence to some readers of Cycling Plus and concluded that it breached the Code.

The ad breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).

 

11th April   

Motivated by Censorship...

ASA finds that Budweiser radio advert did not follow the PC propaganda line about alcohol
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grab some buds mets advert A radio ad, for Budweiser beer, heard in December 2011, included a male character, who gave a motivational-style speech during which other male characters cheered. He stated ... gentlemen, there is nothing special about tonight ... tonight is underrated. Tonight is free of expectation. Tonight you cannot be disappointed, it's just another night. That's why tonight could be the greatest night of your life. Because it's on nights like tonight that you end up at a party and you don't know a single person who's carrying you on their shoulders. It's on nights like tonight when you wanna bring your passport, just in case. Gentlemen, you were conceived on a night like tonight. So tonight, before going out for that ice cold Budweiser, you put in that extra two minutes in front of the mirror. Because you never know who you're going to meet ... So raise your bottles of Budweiser high in the air and make a toast to tonight. Now get out there, great times are waiting. Say it with me now ... . The characters all chanted Grab some Buds . A voice-over stated ... for the facts, drinkaware.co.uk. Please drink Budweiser responsibly.

A complainant challenged whether the ad linked alcohol to sexual success.

InBev said Budweiser advertising in the UK drew upon the commonly attributed American values of optimism, free-spiritedness and a positive attitude. They said Budweiser believed that an optimistic outlook and can-do approach to life could bring about the sharing of great times with friends. The radio ad was part of that tradition and was designed to capture the spirit of anticipation.

InBev said that, importantly, there were only two references to alcohol in the ad, which came towards the very end of the coach's speech. The references to Budweiser were independent of the messages delivered in the coach's speech and neither reference was so strong as to directly link its consumption to sexual success or activity, nor did they imply that the consumption of alcohol was essential. They strongly believed the ad complied with the Code.

The RACC said the ad's message was about going out with a positive attitude rather than a message about going out and drinking or drinking being linked with sexual activity, sexual success, seduction or enhanced attractiveness. The ad was one in a series that focused on having the night of your life , which was deliberately bigged up and described in a consciously exaggerated manner for dramatic effect. They did not believe there was any link between alcohol and sexual success.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA noted the ad was intended to capture a positive attitude and enjoyment of time spent with friends. We considered, however, the tone of the ad was such that it was likely to be interpreted as reflecting a sense of anticipation ahead of an evening where alcohol would be drunk. We noted the ad included the references ... before going out for that ice cold Budweiser ... , ... So raise your bottles of Budweiser high in the air and make a toast to tonight ... and featured the group chanting Grab some Buds . We also noted the speech-giver encouraged the members of the group to make additional effort in getting ready for the evening, even though there was nothing remarkable about it, by putting ... in that extra two minutes in front of the mirror , because they did not know who they were going to meet. We noted it was suggested that it was on such nights that unexpected and significant events, including conception, could take place. We considered the ad was likely to be understood as suggesting the group was preparing for an evening where alcohol would be drunk and during which the participants would have a great time, including the possibility of meeting a potential sexual partner. We considered the ad linked alcohol to sexual success and therefore concluded that it breached the Code.

The ad breached BCAP Code rule 19.6 (Alcohol).

 

9th April   

Seeing Through Nutter Complaints...

ASA dismisses ludicrous whinges about a glazing advert with a woman in hot pants and a cropped top
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camel group logo A regional press ad, for the glazing company, Camel Glass & Joinery, was viewed between November 2011 and January 2012 in the North Devon Gazette and North Devon Journal. It featured images of doors sold by the company as well as of a woman who was wearing denim hot pants, a cropped top and red boots. She was crouched and appeared to have her hand on her hip.

The ASA received [an unspecified number] of complaints:

  1. All of the complainants challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, because they believed it was overtly sexual.
  2. Some of the complainants also challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, because they believed it was demeaning to women.
  3. Some of the complainants also challenged whether the ad was unsuitable to appear where it could be seen by children.

Camel Glass & Joinery (CGJ) said the ad was intended to attract DIY and trade customers. They said it was not intended to be offensive but to be bright and eye-catching with discounts and low prices. They said the image was a standard one bought from an agency; the woman was fully clothed and it was used to draw attention to the discounted items shown in the ad.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Not upheld

The ASA noted the woman was wearing denim hot pants, a cropped top, and red boots. We also noted she was crouched and considered she appeared to have her hand on her hip. We considered the overall effect of the image, including of the woman's facial expression, was only mildly sexual.

Although we noted the image of the woman was not directly relevant to the products being advertised, we considered the ad did not demean women. We also noted the ad did not, for example, include any innuendo and that it appeared in a targeted medium. We considered children were less likely to view the ad than if it had appeared in an untargeted medium and concluded that, because it was no more than mildly sexual, the ad was suitably targeted. We also concluded that, although some might find it distasteful, the ad was not overtly sexual and was not demeaning to women. We therefore concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence in the medium in which it appeared.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

 

7th April   

Hanging Well with the ASA...

ASA clear underwear advert featuring David Beckham
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hm david beckham advert A digital poster for H&M, displayed on 30 January 2012, showed three images of David Beckham. One image featured David Beckham wearing only a pair of trunk briefs. Issue

Three complainants objected to the ad.

  1. Three complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive.

  2. Two complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible, because it contained material that they said was unsuitable for children to see.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Not Upheld

  1. The ASA noted that there was no explicit nudity in the image, and that the ad was for an underwear range. We considered that the nature of the product meant viewers of the ad were less likely to regard the ad as gratuitous or offensive, and considered that the poses and facial expressions of David Beckham were mildly sexual at most. While we acknowledged that some viewers might consider the images distasteful, we concluded the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

    On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code  rule 4.1 (Harm and Offence) but did not find it in breach.
     

  2. Because the ad was for an underwear range, was not overtly sexual and did not feature explicit nudity, we considered the ad was not unsuitable for children to see, and concluded it was not socially irresponsible.

    On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find it in breach.

 

5th April   

Taking on a Genre...

ASA claim that 'teen' is a banned word for advertising adult services
Link Here

livelines uk logo A national press ad in the Daily Star, for an adult telephone chat line, seen in August 2011 featured a picture of a topless young woman. Text stated 18+ teenager SEX. TINY NAUGHTY TEENS GIVE FULL SEX RELIEF. 0909 XXX XXXX ... . Small print at the bottom of the ad stated Calls cost 36p per minute + network extras. Calls recorded. Mobile users may receive free promotional messages. 18+ only ...

A complainant challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and harmful, because they believed it sexualised young teenagers.

Livelines UK pointed out that the ad had been appearing in the Daily Star for the past year and no previous complaints had been made about it. However, they had decided to remove the ad from the Daily Star and other publications in response to the complaint.

They did not believe the ad was irresponsible or harmful, or sexualised young teenagers. They explained that all of their services were aimed towards adults aged 18 years or over, and they did not intend to imply that females providing the service were under the age of 18. They believed that the text 18+ , which was displayed prominently, made clear that the females providing the service were at least 18 years of age and pointed out that the small print at the bottom of the ad also reiterated the 18+ only message. They said the word teenagers could refer to individuals aged 18 and 19. They said that because references to teenager SEX and 18+ were featured alongside each other, they believed it was clear that the teenagers providing the service were over 18 years of age.

They explained they had purchased the image used in the ad from an adult content provider, which had provided to Livelines copies of the model-release form and proof of ID. They said the ID showed the model was over 18 when the photograph was taken.

Livelines maintained that all of their phone operators were over the age of 18 and they had signed documentation to prove this. They also said they were regulated by Phone Pay Plus and had to adhere to a strict code of practice, which required, amongst other things, that their service users must be over the age of 18.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA noted that the ad contained the text 18+ in the body copy and referred to 18+ only in the small print. However, we considered that the reference to 18+ was not clear and this could have been interpreted by readers to mean they had to be 18 or over to use the service, although we noted that according to Livelines it meant the females operating the service were at least 18 years old. We also considered that the references to teenager SEX and TINY NAUGHTY TEENS added to the impression that the females operating the service were under 18 and therefore considered that readers were likely to infer that they were being invited to engage in sexual conversations with teenagers, who could be young women under the age of 18 and could be as young as 13, although we understood from Livelines that this was not the case as all of their operators were over the age of 18. We concluded that the ad was socially irresponsible and harmful.

The ad breached CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility).

 

4th April   

American Apparel, British Prudes...

ASA bans fashion adverts featuring minor nudity
Link Here

american apparel socks 1 advert Eight ads on American Apparel's website, viewed in October 2011, and an ad in a free lifestyle magazine available from shops, distributed in October 2011:

  • a. The first website ad showed a woman wearing lace knickers and an un-zipped hooded sweater. She was arching her back towards the camera and her breasts were exposed.

  • b. The second website ad showed two women lying face-down on a bed, shot from above. They were looking up towards the camera. They were wearing thigh-high socks and nothing else, revealing their bare buttocks.

  • c. The third website ad showed the same two women wearing only thigh-high socks. They were lying on their sides, looking towards the camera. Their buttocks, and one woman's breast, were visible.

  • d. The magazine ad showed a woman lying on a bed. She was wearing a grey jumper and white knickers. Her legs were spread apart and her arms were raised above her head.

  • e. The fourth website ad was the same image as the magazine ad.

  • f. The fifth website ad showed two images of the same woman wearing the grey jumper and white knickers. In the first image she was sitting on the bed with her legs spread apart and her hands resting on the bed between her legs. In the second image she was lying on the bed with her legs spread apart. She was looking up towards the camera.

  • g. The sixth website ad showed four images of the same woman wearing the grey jumper only. In all of the images she was standing, facing diagonally away, and looking over her shoulder towards the camera. Her buttocks were visible in all of the images. The bed was visible in the background.

  • h. The seventh website ad showed two images of a woman wearing white trousers only. In the first image she was standing side-on to the camera. She was arching her back and holding her arms over her breasts. In the second image she was standing diagonally face-on to the camera. She was arching her back with her arms raised to her head, exposing her breasts.

  • i. The eighth website ad showed the same two images of the woman wearing white trousers, superimposed over an image of the American Apparel factory building. Grey lines were drawn onto the images of the woman as if they were pencil drawings.

A complainant challenged whether the images were offensive, because they believed that they were pornographic, exploitative of women and inappropriately sexualised young women.

American Apparel (AA) said they did not believe that any of the images were pornographic, exploitative of women or inappropriately sexualised young women. They said the images on their website featured real, non-airbrushed, everyday people, and that the vast majority of them were not professional models. They said that the sorts of images which appeared were the sorts of images people regularly shared with their friends on social networks and which normal people could relate to. They said the approach was not graphic, explicit or pornographic but was designed to show a range of different images of people that were natural, not posed and real. They said that the women who featured in the images were clearly in their twenties, and emphasised that they were happy, relaxed and confident in expression and pose. They said the women were not portrayed in a manner which was vulnerable, negative or exploitative. They said the partial nudity in some of the images was not explicit or graphic and the poses were intended to show off the products advertised.

AA said that, although they did not have any demographic data with regard to visitors to their website, they imagined that the types of products featured in the images were purchased by young adults in the 18 to 35 age range, and in particular, people in their twenties. They considered it was therefore likely that it would be young adult women who would be viewing the images, and argued that such adult women were highly unlikely to be offended by such images. They said that Crack Magazine, in which ad (d) was published, also had an adult audience and they did not think that its readers would be offended by the image

AA said they believed it was important to judge what was and was not offensive by reference to the current times and the views of the majority of decent and reasonable people, not a small and puritanically-minded minority. They said the images in their advertising were less, and certainly no more, sexual in nature than a large proportion of the images of other companies. They provided copies of ads in a variety of magazines and websites to illustrate their view. They said members of the public were frequently exposed to far more sexually exploitative images in advertising, and even more so in newspapers, television and on the internet. AA said they believed that if the complaint was upheld it would be applying a standard of offensiveness and censorship which would be completely out of date in the more adult and non-repressive world of today, and would also mean that the vast majority of lingerie advertising would be deemed to be offensive, pornographic, exploitative or to inappropriately sexualise women.

Crack Magazine responded in relation to ad (d). They said that although it was regrettable that someone had taken offence to the image, this was the first and only complaint they had received about an American Apparel ad in their magazine and as such it seemed that there was a common consensus amongst their readers that the material was not unduly offensive. They said that, although they appreciated the suggestive nature of the pose and clothes in question, in their opinion there were much worse ads in circulation. They said their audience was an educated, mature, adult demographic that would be able to distinguish between a mildly suggestive ad intended to sell something and something totally inappropriate. They said they felt they were able to distinguish totally inappropriate ads and would censor them and inform their advertisers if that was the case. They did not feel that was the case with ad (d).

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

We noted that ads (a), (b), (h) and (i) featured women whose breasts were exposed, and ads (b), (c), and (g) featured women whose buttocks were exposed. We acknowledged that in some ads, for example ads for lingerie, it was reasonable to feature women in limited amounts of clothing. However, we noted that the majority of clothing items featured in the ads were outer garments, and considered that the nature of the women's poses meant that their breasts and buttocks were the focal points of the images rather than the products. We considered that the nudity was therefore gratuitous. We also considered the women's poses in ads (a), (c), (h) and (i) were sexually provocative, because the poses emphasised their breasts and hips, and that although the poses in ads (b) and (g) were more subtle, the nudity and the flirtatious nature of the poses meant they were also sexually provocative. We noted the woman in ads (d) and (e) was wearing a jumper and knickers, but considered that the nature of her pose meant that the focal point of the image was on her groin rather than on the products. We noted the woman was posing on an unmade bed, that she was gazing into the camera, her arms were raised above her head, her jumper was pulled up slightly and her legs were spread apart, and considered that her pose was therefore sexually provocative. We concluded that the gratuitous nudity in ads (a), (b), (c), (g), (h) and (i), in combination with the sexualised nature of the poses, and the sexually provocative pose in ads (d) and (e), meant the ads were exploitative and inappropriately sexualised young women.

We noted the women appeared to have been photographed in everyday locations, without professional lighting, styling or makeup, and considered that resulted in the impression that the images had been taken by amateur photographers and posed by women who were not professional models. We understood that was at least in part because AA generally did not use professional models in their advertising and preferred to use images featuring real , non-airbrushed, everyday people. We considered that was not in itself problematic. However, we considered that in the particular context of images which featured nudity and sexually provocative poses, there was a voyeuristic and amateurish quality to the images which served to heighten the impression that the ads were exploitative of women and inappropriately sexualised young women. We concluded ads (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (g), (h) and (i) had not been prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society.

Whilst we noted we had not seen any demographic data with regard to visitors to AA's website, we noted AA's view that it was likely that the products featured in the ads would be purchased by young adult women, and therefore that they would be most likely to view the images. We acknowledged that was likely to be the case with regard to the images which appeared in AA's online store. However, we considered that, where the images appeared on the home page and in the Advertising section of AA's website, they were likely to be viewed by a wider audience. Nonetheless, we considered it was likely that ads (a), (b), (c), (e), (g), (h) and (i) were likely to cause serious or widespread offence wherever they appeared on AA's website within the remit of the ASA. With regard to ad (d), we understood Crack Magazine was intended for an educated, mature, adult audience but nonetheless considered that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence in a magazine that was untargeted and freely available in a range of locations including shops, hair salons and pubs.

Not upheld in relation to ad (f)

We considered the pose of the woman in ad (f) was only mildly sexually suggestive, and, in the context of the medium in which it appeared, it was not irresponsible or likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

Ads (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (g), (h) and (i) breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).

Ads (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (g), (h) and (i) must not appear again in their current form. We told AA not to use similar images which were exploitative of women or that inappropriately sexualised young women in future.