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 ASA Watch

 2013: Jan-March



 Updated: Merry Christmas ASA...

Advert censor bans Christmas card for the use of strong language. Isn't this unjustified and disproportionate censorship exactly what the Human Rights Act is meant to protect us from?


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Link Here 30th March 2013
human rights act logo
Article 10: Freedom of Expression
  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
     
  2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

Given that the non-threatening use of the word 'cunt' is perfectly legal and commonplace on the street, on post watershed TV, and in 15 rated films, then it is clear the part 2  exclusions simply do not apply.

An internet ad for a Christmas card, displayed on www.amazon.co.uk, featured an image of the card, on which text stated YOU'RE A CUNT SORRY, I MEANT TO SAY 'MERRY CHRISTMAS' . Text alongside the image stated YOU'RE A C*NT Sorry, I meant to say 'Merry Christmas' - Greeting/Christmas Card by SMELLYOURMUM .

You're a Cunt Christmas card A complainant challenged whether the ad was inappropriate and offensive.

Smellyourmum.com (SYM) believed the use of the word cunt should be considered in the specific context of it appearing on a humorous card intended for close friends or family; in that context it was simply the set-up to the punchline of the gag. It was not offensive and did not single out any groups of people based on ethnicity, religion, appearance or other characteristics. SYM said that when used with a positive qualifier, in this case Merry Christmas , the word could convey a positive sense of the person or object referred to, and they understood that the origins of the word were non-offensive. They said a documentary devoted to the word had been broadcast on the BBC and they believed that if it was acceptable to broadcast a documentary which used the word repeatedly and which had greater reach than their advertising in terms of audience, it was acceptable to use it in their advertising.

SYM said they accepted that some people might have had a strong reaction when seeing the word in the Amazon listing, because they had failed to view it in context. They said that unfortunately the Amazon system did not allow them to list an item in specific adults only or over 18 categories and it also did not allow them to censor the image. They said they would happily alter the image if that would help.

Amazon queried whether it was within the ASA's remit to prevent the display of product titles and images which were not otherwise prohibited by applicable decency laws. They said it was appropriate for the ASA to investigate ads used to generate sales, but it was inappropriate for the ASA to investigate the display of a product for sale, especially if that investigation targeted one retailer amongst many selling the same product online.

Notwithstanding that, Amazon said they were confident that the display of the product image was compliant with the CAP Code. The card was not offensive, aggressive or lewd in its message. The wording of the card did not target any particular group, nor was it likely to cause offence to any particular race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. It was meant as a bit of light-hearted, irreverent fun. They acknowledged that the humour might not be to everybody's taste, but considered that the subjective values of a small minority who might find it distasteful should not dictate a product's availability or the method of its advertisement to the wider public. They noted that Code rule 4.1 stated that marketing communications may be distasteful without necessarily breaching the rule. Amazon said the card had not been included in any customer mail-outs and, assuming that children would rarely search for Christmas cards, the only people who were likely to come across the listing were adults.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA considered that the product listing was an advertisement which fell within the remit of the CAP Code and it was therefore appropriate for us to investigate the complaint we had received. We understood the product might be available for purchase elsewhere online, but considered that because we had received a complaint specifically about an ad by SYM on Amazon, it was entirely appropriate to investigate the ad specifically in that context.

We acknowledged that the wording of the card did not target any particular group, and also acknowledged that in the context of an online shop it was likely that in the majority of cases the ad would be viewed by adults rather than by children. Nonetheless, we noted that CAP guidance on language advised advertisers that consumer research showed that the use of the word cunt was so likely to offend that it should not be used at all in marketing communications even when it was relevant to the name of the product. We noted the expletive in the product description was partly obscured by an asterisk but considered that even in the absence of the product image which showed the word in full, the intended meaning was still clear. We concluded the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told SYM to take care to avoid causing serious or widespread offence in future.

In response to the ASA censorship decision, Amazon took down the listing of the product.

Update: Tattooed rockers defend Christmas card c-word shocker

30th March 2013. See  press release from  smellyourmum.com

smellyourmum logo Lord Zion and Vikki Spit - the tattooed couple behind the ASA / AMAZON Christmas Card C-Word debacle - speak out in defense of the card in question, their SMELLYOURMUM.COM website and criticise the ASA over their ruling.

Lord Zion:

We started our website after years of unemployment. We wanted to start our band, SPiT LiKE THiS, and needed to be able to fund that as well as provide us with an income. Vikki learnt to screen-print, I built the website, designed our wares and we started advertising. It became really popular and we were soon able to come off Job Seeker's Allowance and pay our way through life. At the same time, it provided much needed fuel for our band, as well as good cross-promotion. To that end, not only have we sustained a living, our band has released several EP's, two full albums and played on the same bill as bands like Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper. Quite an achievement.

Vikki Spit:

We are not necessarily what the mainstream expect people like us to be. We don't drink, don't do drugs and keep fit. We might look a bit odd to them but, thanks to the sales of our items, we have been able to rescue two disabled cats from Cat's Protection and give regularly to various charities. I donate blood as often as I can and, in what little amounts of spare time I have, I give it to teach disabled people to ride horses. All the while, we just get on with what we do, work very hard and mind our own business.

Lord Zion:

The ASA ruling is way out of proportion. They received one complaint over the card. Before that complaint, the card was the number one best-selling single card on Amazon. So hundreds of YES votes versus one NO. The problem with organisations like the ASA is that their intentions are misguided. The majority of intelligent people understand the origins of words and how their structure within a sentence or situation qualifies their meaning. Problems tend to arise from the small portion of society who see a word and simply have a knee-jerk reaction to it, putting the cart before the horse. Fortunately for us, most of our customers are intelligent, sentient beings. The irony is, by their ruling, the ASA has caused the widespread offense they warned us against. Our website, it's wares and the C-Word has reached a far wider audience than we could ever manage on our own - all because of the ASA.

 

  CK One Shocks...

CK One advert too sexy to be shown during children's programmes


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Link Here 27th March 2013

ck one advert video A TV ad, for CK One perfumes, showed a group of young people, who were dancing. Some of the males were topless and some of the females wore hot pants and cropped or bra tops. One scene showed one of the males crouched down, with a female who was touching his shoulders behind him and another female straddling his lap; the male was touching her breasts. Voice-overs stated CK One, the original shared fragrance , ... and CK One Shock, daring fragrances for him and her.

The ad was cleared by Clearcast with no timing restriction.

  1. The ASA received 21 complaints from viewers, who challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, because they believed it was overtly sexual.

  2. Most of the complainants also challenged whether the ad was suitable for broadcast at times of day when children could be watching.

Clearcast said the ad had superseded a previous version and was approved without restriction. They said the scene the complainants were concerned about was fleeting and was too quick for them to notice, so they had not recognised the potential issue with the ad. They believed, however, the scenes were largely in line with those previously approved for the products, in particular the previous version of the ad referred to by Coty which included a close up of a couple kissing.

ASA Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA considered the scene the complainants were concerned about, which showed one of the males crouched down, with a female straddling his lap while he touched her breasts and another female touched his shoulders, was overtly sexual. We noted, however, there was no explicit sexual content in the ad and that the scene was very brief. Although we considered the ad was briefly overtly sexual and acknowledged it might therefore be distasteful to some, we considered that, in the context of marketing for perfume and if appropriately scheduled, the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to most viewers.

On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule 4.2 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

2. Upheld

We considered the scene the complainants were concerned about was overtly sexual and, although brief, therefore unsuitable for young children. We disagreed that the previous ad Coty referred to visibly included the same scene. We noted the ad complained about had no timing restriction and that it was therefore likely to be seen by children. While we acknowledged Coty's comment that the ad had not been scheduled in or around programmes of particular appeal to children, we were concerned that some complainants reported having seen it during family films. Nevertheless, we considered the overtly sexual nature of the scene in question meant the ad was inappropriately scheduled and an ex-kids restriction should have been applied to prevent the ad from being broadcast in or around children's programming. We concluded that the ad breached the Code.

On this point, the ad breached BCAP Code rules 4.1 (Harm and offence), 5.1 (Children) and 32.1 and 32.3 (Scheduling). Action

The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form in or around programmes of particular appeal to children.

 

  A Crap Whinge...

ASA dismisses complaint about Holy Crap Erin Smith Art products catalogue


Link Here 14th March 2013

Erin Smith Art A24767 Coaster A brochure, for a range of stationery products called holy crap erin smith art , featured a number of different products which had images of Victorian children alongside quotes. One quote stated I'm having one of those days where I just want to say fuck you! grab a couple of beers, and deploy the emergency slide ... .

A complainant challenged whether featuring the words fuck you! alongside an image of a child was offensive.

Enesco Ltd (Enesco) said they had featured the product in advertising produced for trade-only brochures and had since deleted it from their 2013 trade catalogues.

A law firm, representing the artist Erin Smith and Erin Smith Art, said the word fuck in British media and marketing was not uncommon and was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence. They also said the advertised products were sold in speciality shops patronised by those specifically looking for edgy, non-standard merchandise whom they believed would not find the image and language offensive. The photograph in question was of the artist's mother-in-law as a child and was used with permission. They believed that, while some may find it distasteful, it did not breach the Code.

Assessment: Complaint not upheld

The ASA considered that some readers might find the words fuck you alongside the image of a child distasteful. However, we considered that in the context of a brochure directed at traders only, which promoted various, similarly-themed stationery products produced by the artist, it was unlikely to cause serious offence to the target audience, or cause widespread offence amongst them.

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

 

  Have a Killer Christmas...

ASA dismisses whinges about homicidal advert


Link Here 13th March 2013

killer christmas video An internet video, for the online clothing retailer Asos.com, appeared on YouTube and the Entertainmentwise website. It showed a man pulling down large Christmas decorations, which crushed a man. He was also shown pushing a radio into a bath in which a man was sitting as well as shutting a woman in a chest freezer. On-screen text stated HAVE A KILLER CHRISTMAS .

Three complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible, in particular because it could be seen by children who might emulate the scenes shown.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Not upheld

The ASA noted that potentially dangerous scenarios were depicted in the ad, which was not age-gated on YouTube. While we considered it was therefore not suitable for younger children due to the risk of emulation, we also noted the ad, which did not show death or any explicit violence, was targeted at an audience of males in their twenties. We noted that Entertainmentwise was a gossip website, which we considered was unlikely to appeal to young children, and that the complainants had not reported seeing the ad with material that was targeted at children on YouTube. We considered the targeting used would not entirely prevent those younger than the intended audience from seeing the ad, but its placement meant it was unlikely to be viewed by young children. We considered that if older children, such as those interested in celebrity gossip, saw the ad, they were likely to understand that it was tongue-in-cheek and that the actions shown should not be emulated. Because we understood the ad was unlikely to be seen by younger children, and was likely to be understood as being tongue-in-cheek by older audience members, we considered it was not irresponsible. We therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.

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

 

  ASA Pokes Fun at Fat People...

Advert censor finds that a fat man advert causes 'widespread' offence


Link Here 7th March 2013

mirrorfit logoA poster, for a mirror retailer, was headed www.mirrorfit.co.uk . On the left was an image of an overweight man's naked body, visible from shoulder to thigh, with his hands covering his genitals. Text underneath the image stated Need a small mirror? www.mirrorfit.co.uk . On the right was an image of a woman, shown from shoulder to waist, wearing a bra and pushing her breasts together. Text above the image stated Need a big mirror? www.mirrorfit.co.uk .

The ASA received four complaints.

  1. Three complainants objected that the ad was offensive and unsuitable for display in a public place.
  2. One complainant challenged whether the ad was unsuitable to be displayed where it could be seen by children.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

1. & 2. Upheld

The ASA noted that the ad did not feature any explicit nudity. However, we considered that the text Need a small mirror? under the image of the male figure and Need a big mirror? above the female figure, invited consumers to consider the physical attributes of the models, whose heads were not shown in the images. We further considered that that text was likely to be understood by consumers as innuendo relating to the size of the male figure's genitalia and the female figure's breasts, and that the ad therefore objectified both men and women. We concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and that it was irresponsible because it was not suitable to be displayed where it could be seen by children.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).

 

  Immature Censorship...

ASA whinges at marginally sexy picture appearing on YouTube


Link Here 6th March 2013

mature dating uk advertA banner ad, for www.MatureDatingUK.com, featured text which stated mature dating uk ... Find the One Today on MatureDatingUK . The ad included a photograph of a woman sat on a chair wearing a short yellow dress and with her legs apart. One hand was placed on the inside of her left calf and one hand next to her crotch.

  1. One complainant, who viewed the ad on their e-mail account home page, objected that it was offensive and overtly sexual.

  2. One complainant, who viewed the ad on www.plentyoffish.com, objected that it was offensive and overtly sexual.

  3. A further complainant, who viewed the ad on YouTube, objected that the ad was offensive, overtly sexual and unsuitable for an untargeted medium where it could be seen by children.

Cupid acknowledged that the ad could be viewed by children. However, they pointed out that children could view more explicit content on YouTube. They therefore believed the ad did not breach the Code on this point.

Google said the ad was set up by the advertiser using Google AdWords and pointed out that advertisers were required to comply with Google's AdWords advertising policies, as well as with applicable laws and regulations, including the CAP Code. They further said that the ad breached Google's policies and that they were taking action to have the ad removed.

ASA Assessment

1. & 2. Not upheld

The ASA noted the ad showed the model in a short dress, with her legs apart and her hand placed over her crotch. 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, 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 the ad under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and Offence) but did not find it in breach.

3. Upheld

As noted in points 1 & 2, above, we did not consider the ad to be overtly sexual in nature, however, we did consider the ad could be viewed as sexually suggestive. We therefore concluded that the ad was unsuitable for an untargeted medium where it could be seen by children.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and Offence). The ad must not appear again in untargeted media where it could be seen by children.

 

  Thou Shalt Love Thy Reflection as Thy Self...

Harvey Nichols adverts interpreted as lesbian kisses cleared of religious offence


Link Here 3rd March 2013

harvey nichols love thyself advertThree posters promoted the opening of a new beauty section in the department store, Harvey Nichols. Each poster showed a woman about to kiss her mirror image. Text stated LOVE THYSELF .

The ASA received 17 complaints:

  1. Nine complainants challenged whether the ads were offensive, irresponsible and unsuitable for untargeted display where they might be viewed by children, because they appeared to portray a lesbian kiss;
  2. Ten complainants challenged whether the ads were offensive, irresponsible and unsuitable for untargeted display where they might be viewed by children, because they were sexually explicit;
  3. Two complainants challenged whether the phrase LOVE THYSELF , combined with the images in the ads, was offensive on religious grounds.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that each of the three ads showed an image of a woman leaning in to kiss her mirror image, rather than another woman. We considered that, particularly because of the identical styling of the model in each ad and the text LOVE THYSELF , the content was sufficiently clear and was unlikely to be widely misunderstood.

We acknowledged that some complainants had interpreted the posters differently and had understood them to depict a lesbian kiss. One person also mentioned a young child who had not identified that the kiss was between one woman and her mirror image. Although we recognised that some people might have found what they perceived to be a portrayal of a lesbian kiss distasteful, we considered that a reference to homosexuality in an ad would be unlikely in itself to cause widespread or serious offence or constitute irresponsible advertising.

Because we considered that it was sufficiently clear that the posters showed one woman about to kiss her mirror image, and because we also considered that they were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence even if interpreted differently, we concluded that the ads were not offensive, irresponsible or unsuitable for untargeted display because they appeared to portray a lesbian kiss.

2. Not upheld

We noted that close-up images of models' faces were common methods of advertising beauty products, and that the emphasis in each of the ads was on the styling of the model. In addition, the text LOVE THYSELF was prominent because of its size and position on the posters. We therefore considered that the aim of the ad, to promote the beauty department of a well-known department store, was clear and that the images used were consistent with that message.

The posters showed close-up shots of the face of a woman leaning in to kiss her mirror image; in each instance her lips were slightly parted but the faces were not touching. We noted that no nudity was shown and the poses were not provocative. We therefore concluded that the ads were not sexually explicit and were consequently not offensive, irresponsible or unsuitable for untargeted display.

3. Not upheld

We noted that the words LOVE THYSELF bore some similarity to the bible verse Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself and understood that, if that association was made, the ads could be seen to distort a religious message for commercial means. However, in our view the text LOVE THYSELF was not so strongly linked to the most central tenets of the Christian faith as to be widely interpreted as mocking the sacred elements of that religion. We also noted that LOVE THYSELF was not a direct biblical quote, and for that reason considered that it was not exclusively associated with Christianity. Given the absence of any other imagery or references which could carry religious meaning in the ads, we concluded that, in the context of an ad promoting a store's beauty department, the phrase LOVE THYSELF , combined with the images of a woman about to kiss her mirror image, was not offensive on religious grounds.

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

 

  Tits and Tatts...

ASA clears Rihanna concert poster


Link Here 2nd March 2013

rihanna gig advertA poster promoting a music concert featured an image of Rihanna, who was topless. Her nipples and most of her breasts were covered by her elbow and by text relating to the event.

Two complainants objected that the ad contained sexual imagery and was inappropriate for display where it could be seen by children.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Not upheld

Although it was clear from the image that Rihanna was naked from the waist up, the ASA noted she was presented in such a way that only a little of her breasts were visible and that her nipples were not shown. We further noted she was not posed in such a way as to accentuate her cleavage. We noted Rihanna was shown looking directly out at the viewer and considered that her facial expression was more challenging to the viewer than sexually suggestive. We considered that overall the image portrayed confidence and that it was not presented in an overtly sexual way. Although we understood some consumers would find the image distasteful, we considered that the ad was not unsuitable for public display or that a placement restriction was necessary to prevent the ads from appearing within 100m of a school.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 3.1 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

 

  Sensual Rather than Sexual...

ASA dismisses whinges about HM lingerie posters


Link Here 28th February 2013

hm lingerie advert A poster campaign for the high street retailers H&M Hennes & Mauritz lingerie collection included:

  • a. the poster ad featured a model wearing a set of push-up bra and pants;
  • b. the poster ad featured a model wearing a push-up night slip;
  • c. the poster ad featured a model wearing a push-up bra;
  • d. the poster ad featured a model reclining on a sheepskin rug wearing lingerie and stockings;
  • e. the poster ad featured a model reclining on a bed wearing a set of push-up bra and pants;
  • f. the poster ad featured a model reclining in a set of push-up bra and pants;
  • g. the public transport ad featured a model wearing a set of push-up bra and pants.
  1. Forty-seven complainants objected that the ads were offensive and demeaning to women.
  2. Those complainants also objected that the ad was unsuitable for public display where they could be seen by children.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted the images in ads (a), (b), (c), (e), (f) and (g) featured the model wearing various types of lingerie and that the majority of the designs included push up bra's which significantly accentuated the cleavage. We considered that, within the context of ads for a lingerie collection, the images were sensual rather than sexual and that whilst some consumers may have found them distasteful, the images were unlikely to be seen as offensive or demeaning to women. With regard to ad (d), we noted the model was shown reclining on her front on a sheep skin rug and her body was more provocatively positioned than in the other ads. We further noted the model was looking directly at the camera through tousled hair in a mildly suggestive way. However, whilst we understood that some individuals would find the image to be distasteful, we considered that it was not explicit or overtly sexual. We therefore concluded that ads (a--g) were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or be seen to demean women.

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

2. Not upheld

We understood some complainants were concerned that children would see the ads because of their locations on bus stops and on public transport. We considered ads (a), (b), (c), (e), (f) and (g) were only mildly sexual and considered that a placement restriction was unnecessary. Whilst we considered ad (d) was sexually suggestive the advertiser had put a placement restriction on all of the posters meaning that they were not placed with 100 m of a school. We therefore concluded that the ads were not irresponsibly placed.

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

 

  For Easily Offended Eyes Only...

ASA offended by poster for lap dancing club, but at least there's no claim of widespread offence


Link Here 27th February 2013

for your eyes only advert A bus stop poster, for a table dancing club, was headed FYEO ... FOR YOUR EYES ONLY ... The Ultimate Table Dancing Club . The image featured two women in an embrace, in a swimming pool. The woman at the forefront of the image appeared to be topless, and had her head arched back and her eyes closed.

A complainant challenged whether the ad was:

  1. offensive, because he believed it demeaned women and portrayed them as sex objects; and

  2. unsuitable for display where it could be seen by children, because of its sexually suggestive nature.

For Your Eyes Only Ltd (FYEO) said they did not feel that the image used was inappropriate or offensive in any way and that it was no more revealing, or in some cases less revealing, than images used in ads for lingerie retailers.

ASA Assessment: 1. & 2. Upheld

Whilst the ASA acknowledged that the nature of the service advertised meant that any advertising which involved images of women, was likely to be seen as at least mildly sexual, we considered that the image in question did not fall into that category. We accepted that the nudity in the image was not overt but we considered that the model in the forefront of the image clearly appeared to be nude above the waist, because the majority of her breast was visible. We further considered that the models appeared to be engaged in a passionate sexual embrace and, in particular, that the facial expressions of both models were suggestive of sexual arousal.

We noted that the ad appeared in an untargeted medium and therefore had the potential to be seen by a large number of people who were likely to find the image offensive. Because we considered that it was overtly sexual and could be seen by anyone, including children, we concluded that the ad was unsuitable for outdoor display and therefore breached the Code.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).

 

  Strings Attached...

ASA whinge at images on circular for dating website


Link Here 20th February 2013

cumletsplay advert A circular for an internet dating site Comeletsplay.com featured four images. One image had a couple embracing alongside text stating GENERAL DATING . Another image featured a woman lying on her front wearing a bra and thong knickers alongside text stating COUGAR DATING . A third image featured a woman's legs with thong knickers pulled down to around her knees alongside text stating NO STRINGS DATING . A fourth image featured two men embracing and two women leaning in to kiss each other alongside text stating GAY DATING .

A complainant challenged whether the circular was irresponsible, because it was untargeted and featured images which were unsuitable to be seen by children.

Comeletsplay.com explained that over 45,000 copies of the circular had been distributed and they had received no complaints about it apart from this one. Following receipt of the complaint, they had shown the circular to various people and had listened to their comments. They said there were no negative comments from anyone and no one was offended by the circular. They said no one thought their children could or would be affected by the circular. They pointed out that the circular clearly stated that the information was for 18 and over and not for minors. They said more graphic images could be seen in lingerie catalogues which were sometimes posted through letterboxes.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

cougarletsplay advert The ASA understood the circular had been posted through letterboxes and could therefore be seen by children. We noted that the image above the heading Cougar dating was of a woman lying on her front in string underwear and that her bare buttock was visible. We considered that the image, which showed partial nudity, was gratuitous and not suitable to be seen by children.

We noted that the image under the heading No strings dating was of a woman's bare legs from the thighs down and with her underwear pulled down to around her knees. We considered that although young children were unlikely to understand the image, older children were likely to understand the image was sexually suggestive, as it implied that the woman was available for sex. We considered it was therefore unsuitable to be seen by children.

For these reasons, we concluded that the circular was irresponsible because it was untargeted and featured images that were unsuitable to be seen by children.

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

 

  Taking Easy Offence...

ASA look set to try and ban products on Amazon that feature 'rude' words


Link Here 18th February 2013

European court buildings As you do, I was just perusing the Human Rights Act of 1998 when I spotted something I hadn't noticed before:

Human Rights Act 1998: The Incorporation of the European Convention of Human Rights into UK Law

Article 10: Freedom of Expression

Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers ... unless it's a marketing communication

It seems that this new phrase has been tacked on by the advert censors of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

sl500 aa300 The ASA are currently considering a complaint against a product listing on Amazon.co.uk. It is not an advert, just a product description that reads:

YOU'RE A C*NT Sorry, I meant to say Merry Christmas - Greeting/Christmas Card

The ASA seem set to ban it claiming the usual bollox of the widespread offence of one complainant.

The use of 'cunt' in a non-aggressive way isn't even an adults only issue. The BBFC regularly pass such usage at 15 (although if used aggressively it can trigger an 18).

So the word in a jokey context is hardly going to trigger prohibition via, the obscene publications act, or any of the threats, or menaces or incitement to hatred legislation etc.

Its seems that only under the made up laws of political correctness could such a product be banned.

It will be interesting to see what the ASA make of this, and whether the organisation has decided that it can now totally ban the sales products rather than just sticking to the remit of advertising.

 

  Clear Sight of Sexual Tension...

Keira Knightley gets ASA backs up


Link Here 13th February 2013

coco mademoiselle advert video A TV ad, for the perfume Coco Mademoiselle, included scenes that showed the actress Keira Knightley being photographed on a bed. The photographer was shown unzipping her clothes before she undressed herself, showing her shoulders and part of her back. The actress was then shown dressed only in a bed sheet crawling towards the photographer before lying back on the bed. The photographer appeared about to kiss her when she put a finger to his lips and said lock the door .

The ad was cleared by Clearcast with no scheduling restriction.

A complainant, who saw the ad during the film Ice Age 2 , challenged whether the ad was suitable to be broadcast during a film that was likely to appeal to children, because she believed it was overtly sexual.

Chanel said there was no nudity in the ad, and none implied, but the character briefly revealed only her shoulders as part of a photo shoot, which was the setting for the ad. They said the photographer helped the actress remove her boots, rather than her clothes, as part of a wardrobe change during the photo shoot. Chanel said a degree of sexual charge was common in perfume ads but while the character was playful and sensual, she was not overtly sexual and her telling the photographer to lock the door was a distraction because the next shot showed that she had left. They said the ad was in line with most viewers' expectations of perfume advertising and that children might mimic actions they saw in the film as well as scenes in advertising. They believed the ad was not unsuitable for children and that it was therefore scheduled appropriately. They said they had not received any complaints directly.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA acknowledged that the undressing in the ad took place in the context of a photo shoot but nevertheless considered those scenes involved sexually suggestive content. We noted that the photographer was directly involved in unzipping the actress's garments and that there was a suggestion that she was naked aside from a bed sheet. We also noted that there was clear sexual tension between the pair and that they appeared about to kiss on the bed. We noted that Ice Age 2 was of particular appeal to children. We considered the ad was suitable for older children, but that the sexually suggestive material was unsuitable for young children. We therefore concluded that the ad was inappropriately scheduled and an ex-kids restriction should have been applied to prevent the ad from being broadcast in or around children's programming.

The ad breached BCAP Code rule 32.3 (Scheduling).

 

  Showing Rare Sense...

ASA dismisses whinge about bus advert for La Senza


Link Here 7th February 2013

la senza logo A poster, displayed on a bus, featured an image of a woman wearing a bra with her hands on her hips. Text stated SEXY IS BACK ... THE NEW LA SENZA OPENS NOV.12 484 OXFORD ST.

A complainant challenged whether the ad was:

  1. likely to cause serious or widespread offence; and

  2. unsuitable to be displayed where it could be seen by children.

ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted there was no explicit nudity in the image and that the ad was for lingerie. Because the image clearly related to the product being sold, we considered that those who viewed the ad were less likely to regard it as gratuitous or offensive. We considered that the model's pose and facial expression were no more than mildly sexual and that the strapline was light hearted in tone. Whilst we acknowledged that some viewers might consider the images distasteful, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

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 that the model was wearing a bra and displaying her cleavage, alongside a strapline that included the word sexy . However, because the ad was for an underwear range and the image was no more than mildly sexual, we considered that the ad was not unsuitable to be displayed where it could be seen by children and concluded that it was not socially irresponsible.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find it in breach.

 

 Updated: Party Poopers...

ASA and Ofcom both ban slightly sexy TV trailer for The Valleys


Link Here 6th February 2013

tv advert the valleys video Banned by the advert censor, ASA

A TV ad for the MTV series The Valleys featured young people at a house party. Scenes included a woman bouncing on the sofa so you could see her pants, a man flexing his pecs, a women flexing her breasts in a low cut top, two women kissing, men and women kissing and a woman pulling up a man's top and touching his stomach.

The voice-over said, The harder they party, the harder they fall. Will they make it in Cardiff, or will they just end up back in the valleys? Brand new reality, coming soon to MTV .

The ad was cleared by Clearcast with an ex-kids restriction, which meant it should not be shown in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children.

Four complainants objected that, due to its sexual content, the ad was inappropriately scheduled before 9pm when children might see it.

Clearcast said that when assessing the ad they had considered previous decisions on ads for similar reality TV shows and for products which used innuendo or partial nudity in their treatment. They felt the ad did not go any further in terms of real or implied sexual content and considered an ex-kids restriction was sufficient.

ASA Decision: Complaints Upheld

The complainants had seen the ad between 8pm and 9pm during Eddie Stobart: Trucks & Trailers and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and believed that, due to its sexual content, the ad was not appropriate to be shown before 9pm. The ASA understood that the ad also been broadcast before 7.30pm. The ad did not contain any explicit nudity, but did include a number of shots that focused on breasts and a number of suggestive scenes such as a woman moving her hand down a man's torso, and two women being photographed on a mobile phone while kissing. Many of the interactions between individuals at the party were depicted with a sexual element and we considered that the overall tone of the ad was sexual. We therefore considered that the ad was not suitable for broadcast when younger children might be watching. We concluded that the ad was not suitable for broadcast before 7.30pm and that the scheduling restriction applied was not sufficient.

The ad breached BCAP Code rule 32.3 (Scheduling of television and radio advertisements).

Update: Banned by the TV Censor Ofcom

6th February 2013. See  Broadcast Beulletin [pdf] from  stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk

Ofcom logo The Valleys (Trailer) MTV Base,
14 September 2012, 10:10 (and also on other MTV channels at various times pre-watershed, between 28 August 2012 and 9 October 2012)

The Valleys, a reality series which started on MTV in September 2012, featured a group of nine young people from the valleys in south Wales brought together in a house in Cardiff hoping to achieve their ambitions. The pre-watershed trailer for this new series was shown across MTV channels. It explained the format of the series and introduced the characters of the nine young people featured.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to the trailer when shown on the morning of 14 September 2012 because of concerns regarding the sexual tone of its content. The complainant considered it to be unsuitable for broadcast during the day when children were available to view.

On reviewing the trailer, Ofcom noted that it was about 30 seconds long. It included images edited together in quick succession of a house party where the nine young people from the valleys were partying energetically with one another. The voiceover at the end of the trailer said: Can these nine party animals make it in Cardiff or will they just end up back in the valleys? Brand new reality starts Tuesday 25th September only on MTV.

Ofcom noted that the brief images in the trailer included those of:

  • a woman, shot from the back, appearing to kiss a man's nipple as he pulls his shirt up;

  •  a man lifting his t-shirt and flexing his chest muscles and a close-up shot of a woman, wearing a low-cut dress revealing her cleavage, flexing her breasts;

  • a man and a woman kissing one another as she strokes her hand down his side and then a shot of the two of them walking towards a room or corridor;

  • two women play-fighting in a bathroom with foam; and

  • two women kissing as they are filmed on a mobile phone.

Ofcom considered the material raised issues warranting investigation under Rule 1.3 of the Code, which states:

Children must...be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.

MTV stated that it considered the trailer suitable for broadcast pre-watershed. The Licensee said that the trailer was viewed by the compliance team on several occasions and discussed extensively. The aim was to ensure the trailer struck the balance between the necessary protection of under-eighteens, the provisions of the Code and conveying the nature of the series to the audience. None of the scenes or individual shots featured in the trailer came from any episode of the series.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.3

Ofcom noted that several of the edited images in the trailer showed physical interactions between the young people featured in The Valleys. It was this interaction which, in Ofcom's opinion, created an implicit but unmistakeable sexualised tone with the purpose of reflecting the adult editorial nature of the post-watershed series. For example, Ofcom noted: the two women kissing; the man and woman kissing while the woman strokes the man's torso in a suggestive manner; the woman appearing to kiss a man's nipple; and the woman flexing her breasts in a low-cut dress in response to a man flexing his chest muscles. There was no nudity but Ofcom noted that there were images of a man's naked torso, a woman's cleavage, and women wearing skimpy party dresses. In Ofcom's view, the cumulative effect of the scenes in this trailer, when viewed together, resulted in a clear adult tone which was in general unsuitable for a pre-watershed audience.

Broadcasts of the trailer however may have been appropriately scheduled when shown later in the evening relatively closer to the 21:00 watershed when children were less likely to view.

Ofcom concluded that this trailer was not appropriately scheduled so as to protect children and therefore it breached Rule 1.3.

 

  Shadowy Figure Taps Paramount on the Shoulder...

ASA whinges at Paranormal Activity appearing round Angry Birds game


Link Here 6th February 2013

Paranormal Activity Theatrical Extended Versions An in-game ad for the film Paranormal Activity 4 , which appeared around the game apps Angry Birds and Draw Something , included scenes of a person being dragged across a room by an invisible force. Another scene showed a young women talking to a friend online as a shadowy figure appeared behind her.

Three complainants challenged whether the ad was likely to cause fear or distress to children and was irresponsible, because it appeared during games likely to be played by children.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

The ASA welcomed the fact that the game owners, Rovio and Zynga, acknowledged that the ad was not appropriate for display around the mobile games Angry Birds and Draw Something . Although we accepted that Paramount had instructed their agency in good faith, errors had clearly been made by the various parties involved in placing the ad. We considered that the ad contained scenes that could be distressing to children and we concluded that its placement around mobile games that might be played by both adults and children was irresponsible.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.2 (Harm and offence).

We told Paramount to ensure that all agencies instructed to buy advertising space for their ads took account of the context in which the ad was to appear, to avoid the risk of causing undue fear or distress.

 

 Update: Better Behaved Ads...

ASA announces new advertising rules enforcing options to turn off behaviourally targeted adverts like on Google Adsense


Link Here 5th February 2013  full story: Behavioural Advertising...Serving adverts according to internet snooping

ASA logo New advertising rules overseen by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that provide the public with notice of, and control over, online behavioural advertising (OBA) come into effect today.

OBA is a form of targeted advertising. It involves the collection of information from a web browser, about web viewing behaviour so that it can be used to deliver online advertisements that are more likely to be of interest to the user of that computer.

The new rules require ad networks delivering behaviourally targeted ads to make clear they are doing so. Most are likely to do that through an icon in the corner of online ads. They must also allow consumers to exercise control over receiving targeted ads by providing an opt-out tool.

Anyone concerned about transparency and control of OBA can contact the ASA. Our website contains easy-to-understand information about what OBA is, how it works and how consumers can opt-out of receiving it if they choose. If a consumer continues to receive OBA despite having exercised their choice not to, we will take action to stop it on their behalf.

The Information Commissioner remains responsible for looking into complaints about the issue of consent, e.g. around the placement of cookies on a computer's web browser.

More information, tips and advice about OBA and opting-out can be found in the Your Ad Choices section of the YourOnlineChoices website.

Chief Executive of the ASA, Guy Parker says:

The new rules will provide greater awareness of and control over OBA, demystifying how advertisers deliver more relevant ads to us and allowing those of us who object to say stop. We'll be there to make sure that the ad networks stick to the rules.

 

  Hardly Showing Pink...

ASA dismisses whinges about Pink CD poster


Link Here 2nd February 2013

The Truth About Love nk A poster ad, which was seen on phone boxes, included an image of the singer Pink, who was crouched down wearing stockings and suspenders. Text stated P!NK The TRUTH ABOUT LOVE OUT NOW .

Two complainants challenged whether the ad was:

  1. likely to cause serious or widespread offence, particularly in an untargeted medium, because they believed it was overtly sexual; and

  2. unsuitable to appear where it could be seen by children, in particular because it appeared on the route to a high school and on a housing estate.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted the singer was crouched down wearing stockings and suspenders and had part of her midriff and lower back exposed. We also noted, however, that text partially obscured the singer's lower half. Nevertheless, while we acknowledged the use of such an image was not directly relevant to the product being advertised, we considered the pose and facial expression shown were not overtly sexual and therefore considered the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence. We noted that the ad appeared in an untargeted medium but, because its content was no more than mildly sexual, considered it was also suitable for display where it could be seen by children. We therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.

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.

 

  Pumped Up Video...

ASA dismiss complaints about advert for Converse boots


Link Here 1st February 2013

converse video A video ad for Converse boots, seen on www.last.fm, featured on-screen text which stated DO CONVERSE MAKE BOOTS? which was followed by scenes of women and the on-screen text YES! , intercut with images of boots and the on-screen text CONVERSE BOOTS! . The ad featured still images of a woman biting into chicken; a video clip of the upper torso of a woman in a bikini washing a car; a woman lifting her chin; and the upper torso of a woman in a bikini splashing water in the foreground, with two women in bikinis in the background. The pace of the editing quickened as the ad progressed. The ad did not feature sound.

A complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, explicit and sexist.

Converse Europe (Converse) said the ad and accompanying campaign were designed to raise awareness at a consumer level that Converse made boots in addition to the canvas shoes and high tops most widely associated with the brand. They used the simple question: Do Converse make boots? which was answered with a light-hearted, humorous parody of the much-quoted phrase Yes, yes, yes in an attempt to capture emphatically the answer to the question in a tongue-in-cheek manner. They said the intention was to be humorous rather than to push at the boundaries of what might be deemed sexually explicit. They stated that, although the banner images featured women, and some in bikinis, there was no nudity and they felt that the stylised production quality of the images and the speed at which the images followed each other meant that, even at face value, they were not overtly sexual to the point of being widely offensive. They said the images used simply showed women posing with a care-free attitude intended to convey excitement and a sense of abandonment rather than being explicitly sexist or in any other way derogatory toward women.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA noted that the ad featured images of women with varying expressions and dress, quickly intercut with images of Converse boots and the repeated on-screen text YES! . Although we acknowledged that some of the women's expressions, in combination with the repeated text YES! , would be interpreted by some viewers to be suggestive of an orgasm, we also noted that the text YES! appeared in response to the question DO CONVERSE MAKE BOOTS? and considered that the images and approach were intended to be humorous and tongue-in-cheek, and that most viewers would see it as a comical parody, rather than sexually suggestive or explicit.

We considered that the images of the women in bikinis were fleeting and brief. We noted that one woman was wearing her bikini near palm trees and another appeared to be having a water fight, which suggested circumstances where women might ordinarily be in bikinis, and therefore did not consider the use of those images was gratuitous, exploitative or sexist.

Whilst we accepted that some of the images and the humour used in the ad might not appeal to all tastes, we considered that the average viewer would recognise the ad as comical and tongue-in-cheek and considered it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to audiences. We therefore concluded that the ad was not in breach of the Code.

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

 

  Barely Legal Rules...

ASA whinges at advert for Hustler Club


Link Here 31st January 2013

hustler club uk logo A regional press ad, for Larry Flynt's Hustler Club UK, a strip club in Croydon, appeared in the Sutton Guardian. It was headlined HALLOWEEN FETISH NIGHT and a price list was headed Our Barely Legal Prices ... . The ad also featured a large image of a woman wearing a cutaway black PVC top and with a chain and padlock draped over her body.

A complainant, who believed the ad was overtly sexual, challenged whether the ad was:

  1. likely to cause serious or widespread offence; and

  2. unsuitable for an untargeted medium, in particular because it could be seen by children.

Larry Flynt's Hustler Club (LFHC) said the ad had been checked very carefully prior to publication and they had ensured there was no nudity or cleavage shown. They said they had not received any other complaints about the ad and the outfit the woman was wearing was similar to fancy dress that might be seen at Halloween events. LFHC said the text Our Barely Legal Prices ... was a play on words; they did not believed that this, or the picture were likely to cause serious or widespread offence. They said the Sutton Guardian was not attractive to children. They were, however, willing to amend their advertising if necessary.

ASA Assessment: Complaint 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 considered, however, the combination of the woman's PVC garments, her exposed leg and the chain and padlock, along with the text FETISH NIGHT and Our Barely Legal Prices ... , which we considered was likely to be understood as a reference to the age of consent, meant the ad was overtly sexual. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, particularly in an untargeted medium.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).

 

 Offsite Article: Having a Laugh at ASA's PC Extremism...


Link Here 31st January 2013
Dakota Fanning On Her Banned Marc Jacobs Ad: We Just Laughed About It

See article from huffingtonpost.com

 

  ASA takes a short break from PC extremism...

And dismisses whinges about a hard working mum in an ASDA Christmas advert


Link Here 30th January 2013

asda advert 2012 video A TV ad, video on demand (VOD) ad and an online video, seen on the marketer's own website and YouTube, for ASDA supermarkets:

  • a. The TV ad featured a mother carrying out various tasks in preparation for Christmas, such as buying a Christmas tree, writing Christmas cards, purchasing groceries, decorating the home, wrapping presents and cooking the Christmas dinner. The voice-over at the end of the ad stated, It doesn't just happen by magic. Behind every great Christmas, there's mum, and behind mum there's Asda.

  • b. The VOD ad, seen on ITV player, was identical in content to the TV ad.

  • c. The online video, on www.asda.com, was identical in content to the TV ad.

  • d. The online video, seen on the ASDA channel of YouTube, was identical in content to the TV ad. Issue

ASA received 620 compalints.

  1. The majority of thecomplainants objected that the ad was offensive and sexist, because it reinforced outdated stereotypes of men and women in the home.

  2. A number of complainants objected that the ad was likely to cause serious offence to single fathers or to men who played a primary domestic role.

  3. A number of complainants objected that the ad was offensive and distressing to children or families who had lost mothers.

Asda said the ad focused on the role of the mother at Christmas. They acknowledged the ad did not reflect universal experience, but said that extensive consumer research and feedback indicated that the majority of their customers identified with the ads representation of Christmas. They said they surveyed 1896 mothers who shopped at Asda and found that eight out of ten mother's said that they would be responsible for the food and present shopping, and wrapping the presents. They believed the ad reflected common experience; rather than outdated stereotypes.

Clearcast believed the ad portrayed a Christmas scene that would be understood by a large number of households. They pointed out that the father was shown helping the mother and said the ad celebrated the mother in a positive way. They also said the ad did not suggest that the scene was the model of how every family should be.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted Asda had carried out research to ascertain the experience of mothers at Christmas and discovered that of the 1896 mothers surveyed, 86% said that within their household they were mainly in charge of shopping for presents, 84% said they were mainly in charge of wrapping Christmas presents and 78% said they were mainly in charge of shopping for food for Christmas. We noted the ad focused on the mother's role in the Christmas preparations, however, we noted the father was also shown to assist in those preparations. We considered viewers were likely to understand the ad was not prescriptive of the experience of all at Christmas; rather it reflected Asda's view of the Christmas experience for a significant number of their customers. We therefore considered the ad was not likely to be seen as condoning or encouraging harmful discriminatory behaviour, or reinforcing negative stereotypes of men or women in general, and, for those reasons, considered it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

2. Not upheld

We acknowledged that single fathers and men with primary domestic responsibilities might find the presentation of the mother playing the central role in the Christmas preparations distasteful. However, we considered the ad was not prescriptive of the experience of all at Christmas and instead reflected Asda's view of the Christmas experience for a significant number of their customers. We also noted the ad showed the father assisting in the Christmas preparations. We therefore considered the ad was not likely to cause serious offence to single fathers or to men who played a primary domestic role and concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.

3. Not upheld

We acknowledged that the theme of the ad might upset some viewers, including children, who had lost mothers. However, we did not consider the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence or distress to those viewers. On that basis, we concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.

ASA considered rules 4.1, 4.2 and 4.8 (Harm and offence).

 

  Overtly Stereotypical Whinges...

ASA dismisses complaints about Marks and Spencers lingerie adverts


Link Here 23rd January 2013

ms autograph video Three digital outdoor ads, for women's underwear, featured moving images of the model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in a bedroom. Each ad began with a close-up image of a flower and on-screen text which stated A NEW COLLECTION DESIGNED BY Rosie; Only at YOUR M&S and then showed her modelling underwear. At the end of each ad was a black screen with text stating Rosie for Autograph Only at YOUR M&S :

a. The first ad showed her in a green bra and knickers. She was looking behind the camera with her body facing left. She rotated her body to the front, dropped her shoulders back, looked down and then back up.

b. The second ad showed her wearing a purple bra and knickers. She was looking behind the camera with her body facing left. She rotated her body to the front, ran her hand under her hair and put her hands on the back of her hips.

c. The third ad showed her wearing a flowered pattern bra and knickers. She began in profile looking left, then rotated to the front and continued turning to show her back and buttocks. Issue

Seven complainants, who believed the ads were overtly sexual, explicit, degrading to women and reinforced sexual stereotypes of women, challenged whether the ads were offensive and unsuitable for public display where they could be seen by children.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted the complainants' concerns about the ads. However, we also considered that it was acceptable for advertisers of lingerie to show their products modelled in ads, provided they did so responsibly. We also considered that, because the ads were for lingerie, consumers were less likely to regard the partial nudity shown as gratuitous.

In relation to ads (a) and (b) we noted that Rosie Huntington-Whitely was wearing underwear and standing in a bedroom, however, she appeared to be alone and we considered that her changes in pose were likely to be seen as simply modelling the garments. We therefore did not consider that there was anything in these ads that implied sexual activity, nor did her pose or behaviour draw attention to particular parts of her body in a way that was sexually suggestive.

We considered that the presentation of ad (c) was similar to (a) and (b), however, we noted that Rosie Huntington-Whitely rotated all the way round to show her buttocks. Although we considered that pose was marginally more suggestive, we considered that it was unlikely to be regarded by most members of the public as anything more than mildly sexual in nature.

Although we considered that some members of the public would find the nudity in the ads distasteful, we did not consider that the ads were likely to cause serious or widespread offence, or that they were unsuitable for public display where they could be seen by children. We noted that M&S had applied a placement restriction such that the ads would not appear near schools and considered this was more than sufficient.

We investigated the ads under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find them in breach.

 

  Revealing Political Correctness...

ASA whinges at advert for business cards


Link Here 19th January 2013

polar design logo A magazine ad for Polar Design, a print and design company, included a photograph of a woman's breasts with text stating Need business cards? . One breast was partially covered by a Polar Design business card with a man's fingers poised as if to peel the business card away from the page. The other breast was covered by a glued on business card, which, when peeled away, revealed text stating Don't wait until your last business card Order Now! 014 xxxx .

A reader, who believed the ad was sexist and objectified women, challenged whether the ad was offensive.

Scottish Provincial Press (SPP), publishers of Executive magazine, said they recognised that the ad was on the more liberal side of the taste spectrum, but did not believe that it would cause offence to their readers. Before publishing the ad, they sought the opinion of their local Chamber of Commerce who, after consulting their female members of staff, concluded that whilst some people might find the ad distasteful, it was unlikely to cause offence. SPP also asked their own female staff who, although some found it distasteful, did not find it offensive.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA noted the ad featured an image of a woman's breasts and, although the image was not sexually explicit, it had sexual connotations with an implicit invitation to remove the business card to reveal her nipple. We also noted the image bore no relevance to the advertised services, and considered it was therefore likely to be seen as sexist and to demean women by using their physical features for no other reason than to draw attention to the ad.

Although we acknowledged the steps taken by SPP before publishing the ad, we nonetheless concluded that it was likely to cause serious offence to some readers of the magazine.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).

 

  Pink with Rage...

Nutter object complains about Nicki Mianj concert poster


Link Here 17th January 2013

Va Voom A poster promoting a Nicki Minaj concert was seen on the platform of a metro station in Newcastle.

It featured an image of Nicki Minaj from the bust up, with her arms in the air, leaning against a wall. She appeared to be naked but was moderately covered in body paint. Her breasts were partially exposed. Text stated Nicki Minaj...Pink Friday: Reloaded Tour 2012 .

One complainant challenged whether the ad was:

  1. irresponsible because it featured nudity and was therefore unsuitable for display in an untargeted medium where it could be seen by children; and

  2. offensive because it objectified women.

1. Live Nation stated that the ad did not feature nudity. Instead they explained that the ad featured an image of Nicki Minaj wearing a nude bikini, which had been cropped to show only her head, shoulders and half of her bikini top. They provided a copy of the original image before it had been cropped, which they said established that the image did not expose Minaj's breasts.

2. Live Nation stated that the ad did not in any way present women as objects. They said they considered objectification as an attitude that regarded a person as an object for use, with little or no regard for a person's personality. In contrast, they said Minaj's persona was central to the image and the ad. They explained that the photograph had been taken during the photo shoot for Minaj's Reloaded Tour in which she was painted in a multitude of colours. They therefore considered that the photo shoot and the depiction of Minaj were in keeping with the image Minaj had created of herself; as a woman known for her fondness of bright colours and bold prints.

Further, they asserted that because the image was so stylised, it was not offensive or demeaning to women. They again argued that as it did not include any nudity, no allusions to sex and no innuendos, it could not be regarded as offensive or as objectifying women.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Not Upheld

1. Not upheld

We acknowledged that the original full length image clearly showed that Minaj had been wearing nude underwear when she posed for the photo. We considered, however, that the way the image had been cropped gave the impression that Minaj was topless, or that a large portion of her breasts were exposed, because it was not clear from the image that she was wearing a bra. We noted that the pose Minaj had adopted in the image, with her hands above her head, gave greater prominence to her breasts. We considered, however, that despite her pose, and the fact that most consumers would believe that her breasts were partially exposed, the image was only mildly sexual in nature. We therefore considered that it was not unsuitable to be shown on a poster site that could be seen by children.

On that point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 1.3 (Responsible advertising), but did not find it in breach.

2. Not upheld

As set out in point one, we considered that the image was only mildly sexual in nature. Similarly, we did not consider that the image or the ad as a whole was sexually suggestive and we therefore considered that the ad was not degrading to women and did not objectify them. Whilst we acknowledged that the ad might be distasteful to some, we concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

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

 

  A Far Cry from Offensive...

ASA dismiss worthless whinge about Far Cry 3 poster


Link Here 16th January 2013

Far Cry 3 Xbox 360 A poster for the video game Far Cry 3 featured a man sitting in a tropical environment dressed in combat uniform, holding a gun in each hand. In the background, two people were shown hanging upside down from a tree. Text stated FARCRY3 ... PLAY AT THE EUROGAMER expo ... OUT 30.11.2012 .

A complainant challenged whether the poster was offensive, irresponsible and likely to cause fear or distress to those who saw it, including children.

Assessment: Complaint not upheld

The ASA noted that the poster was intended to target audiences attending the Eurogamer Expo but considered that a poster displayed in the London Underground would be seen by the public generally and should therefore contain nothing that was likely to offend or distress them. We understood that CAP Copy Advice and CBS Outdoor had advised against the use of other images produced as part of the same campaign, which showed the main character pointing his gun towards a person buried up to their neck in front of him, but had considered that the version the complainant saw was likely to be acceptable for public display.

We noted that the poster prominently featured the title of the game, its release date and that it could be played at the Eurogamer event. We acknowledged that the men hanging from the tree appeared to be lifeless and that, whether alive or dead, their vulnerability when contrasted with the determined, menacing demeanour of the main character alluded to violence. We also noted that, although the main character had a gun in each hand, they were not being pointed towards another character, or towards the audience.

We considered that the image would be understood as reflecting the content of the game. Although we recognised that some adults would find violent video games offensive by nature, we considered that the image used in the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence. Furthermore, we considered that the absence of graphic violence meant that the image was unlikely to cause fear or distress to adults or children.

Because we considered that the poster was unlikely to cause offence, fear or distress to those who saw it, we considered that its display in an untargeted medium was not irresponsible.

We investigated the poster under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and Offence), but did not find it in breach.

 

  ASA Over React...

Whingeing at IT trade exhibition flyer


Link Here 15th January 2013

react innovative solutions advert A Flyer for an IT consultancy, which was distributed at a trade exhibition, was headlined Visit REACT at IP Expo 2012 . The ad featured an image of a woman's bare legs from the thighs down. She was shown bending over with her hands on her knees. Her underwear had been pulled down to below her knees.

A complaint objected that the ad was offensive and demeaning to women.

REACT Innovative Solutions (REACT) stated that the reason for using the image of the legs was to stand out from the hundreds of other similar stands selling technology and to help attendees remember them. They said the event was attended by adults only and that the ad was in no way intended to demean women. They said they had shown the ad to women in their company prior to attending the Expo and that none of them had found it offensive.

Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA noted the leaflet was handed out to attendees at an Internet Protocol Expo. We understood that such Expos were attended by both men ad woman who worked within the Internet technology business sector. We considered the image of the woman's legs with her pants around her knees was presented in such a way that suggested she was naked and that her pose could be interpreted as being sexually suggestive. Furthermore, the image was unrelated to the product being sold and no link was presented in the ad between the text and the image. We concluded that use of the image in the ad was gratuitous and degrading to women and was likely to cause serious offence to some attendees of the Expo.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).

 

  Raving Mad...

ASA easily offended by jokey newsletter with Jimmy Savile image


Link Here 13th January 2013

newsletteroct2012haloween An e-mail, for the DirtySmart clothing company, stated Trick or Treat - Dirty Smart Style in the subject line. The body of the e-mail was headed TRICK OR TREAT? . Text stated Hello young raver, It's Halloween and things are getting a little bit spooky ... Trick or Treat DIRTYSMART style! Below you will find 2 pictures ... One of the pictures will send you to a page displaying a vouchercode for 50% off all items! The other picture will double the price of everything! . Under the heading CHOOSE YOUR FATE (CLICK ONE) , arrows pointed to a cartoon image of a Halloween pumpkin and a cartoon image of Jimmy Savile.

A complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive and irresponsible, because it made light of allegations of sexual abuse made against Jimmy Savile.

DirtySmart said the e-mail did not make light of allegations of sexual abuse made against Jimmy Savile, and there was no reference to ongoing investigations. They said they had not intended to cause offence, and were simply using a topical image. The opening line Hello young raver was the opening line used in all of their newsletters. They added that their database was opt-in and opt-out, so users were free to unsubscribe at any point. They acknowledged that some people may have found the cartoon image of Jimmy Savile distasteful, but they considered it would not cause serious or widespread offence.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA acknowledged that advertisers were entitled to refer to current news stories, but noted the need for particular care in how such stories were used, especially those involving allegations about the sexual abuse of children, to avoid accusations of exploitation in order to sell products or services. Whilst the e-mail did not directly refer to the allegations against Jimmy Savile, we considered it was clear that his image had been used because of the ongoing public awareness about those allegations. In that context, we considered the statement CHOOSE YOUR FATE with a choice between clicking on the image of a Halloween pumpkin or Jimmy Savile as a Trick or Treat was likely to be seen as insensitive by recipients and was likely to cause serious offence to some. We concluded the ad breached the Code.

The ad breached CAP rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).

 

  No Cigar for Trailbike Magazine...

ASA finds Jimmy Savile advert in poor taste


Link Here 9th January 2013

tbm An e-mail, received in October 2012, stated Now then, now then in the subject line. The body of the e-mail stated TBM How's about that then in large print above a black and white image of Jimmy Savile, wearing underwear and smoking a cigar, with a superimposed copy of a TBM magazine in his hand. Text beneath the image stated Christmas is coming and what better way of relaxing than to pull up a comfy velour settee, light up a Cuban cigar and finger through a copy of your favourite magazine - delivered direct to your door. TBM ... the publication that doesn't take itself too seriously. 'As it 'appens!' .

Two complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive and irresponsible, in view of recent media coverage surrounding allegations of sexual abuse made against Jimmy Savile.

Extreme Publishing Ltd, trading as TBM Magazine (TBM), stressed that they had not intended to offend or upset anyone by sending the e-mail. They explained that the e-mail had been sent to almost 4,000 people who, as current or past subscribers to, or advertisers for, their magazine, had signed up to receive their eNewsletter. They noted that the ASA had received two complaints about the e-mail and said that represented a very small proportion of those who had received it.

TBM stated that the image of Jimmy Savile, which they said showed him wearing running shorts and not underwear, was not distasteful in and of itself, because pictures of him were prevalent in the media at the time. They pointed out that riders of trailbikes had to be at least 17 years old, and said in fact most of their magazine readers were much older and tended to be quite broad-minded.

TBM considered that neither the image nor the wording of the e-mail were distasteful, and reiterated that the text was obviously intended to be of a light-hearted nature. They said that was clear from the sentence TBM ... the publication that doesn't take itself too seriously . They suggested that it would not be possible to avoid upsetting everybody at all times, and, although they stressed that they were sorry for any offence which had been caused, said they did not consider the ad was in breach of the Code.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

The ASA understood that the e-mail was an eNewsletter designed to promote Trailbike & Enduro Magazine and had been sent to a mailing list of current and past subscribers as well as companies which advertised in the magazine. We acknowledged that TBM believed their demographic for the hard-copy magazine was a broad-minded adult audience. We also acknowledged TBM's statement that they had intended the e-mail to be humorous, and that they considered the joke to have been made at their own expense.

Although advertisers were entitled to refer to current news stories in their ads, we considered that particular care was needed in such cases, and especially when the stories involved allegations about the sexual abuse of children. We understood that the e-mail had been sent several days after the Metropolitan Police had launched a formal criminal investigation into alleged sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile, stating at that time that over 200 potential victims had been identified. We considered that the overall tone of the ad was light-hearted, and that that approach was likely to be seen as insensitive by its recipients when used in conjunction with references to Jimmy Savile, given the media climate at that time. We also considered that, particularly in view of the e-mail's subject line, the accompanying text and the large image of Jimmy Savile, who was seen reclining in an armchair wearing few clothes, it was likely to cause serious offence to some. We therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).