ASA Watch

 2017: April-June



  Widespread offence of 1 complainant and 1 PC extremist advert censor...

ASA bans online casino advert from Daily Star Wins for a casino featuring sexy female croupiers


Link Here 11th May 2017

daily star wins video A TV ad for StarWins.com, seen on 17 January 2017, began with a shot of two men standing at a bar in a pub next to a table where a man and a woman were chatting to each other. One of the men at the bar watched a woman as she walked past before a voice-over stated, Allow me to introduce you to Star Wins and one of the men pulled out his mobile phone and swiped the screen. The men were transported to a casino. The camera panned from a woman in a sequined dress dancing on a stage to the men as they walked down a flight of stairs. As they reached the floor of the casino the voice-over stated, For you card sharks we've got real female croupiers who can handle that as a woman wearing a sequined gold dress walked between them. The men watched her as she walked towards and past them and turned to look behind them to continue watching her as she walked to join the other dancers on stage. The men smiled at each other and continued further into the casino. The voice-over stated, Or if roulette is your thing, we'll put you in a spin 24/7 as the two men walked past a table where two female croupiers wearing tight, low-cut dresses stood with two female and one male gambler. The croupiers watched the men closely as they walked past. The men then approached a roulette table where a female croupier stood, along with a group of mainly female gamblers. One of the men flipped a chip onto the table while staring intently at the croupier. The voice-over continued, You'll be surprised where it can take you. Star Wins. Get in the game as the men were shown throwing chips into the air in celebration, surrounded by the group of women. A final shot showed them celebrating back at the bar in the pub. The couple at the table next to the bar turned to smile at them.

1. One complainant, who felt the ad was sexist and objectified women, challenged whether the ad was offensive.

2. The ASA challenged whether the ad suggested that gambling could enhance personal qualities, and linked gambling to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

1. Upheld

The ASA noted that all the casino employees seen in the ad were women and that the majority of the people present in the casino were women. While in the casino the men only interacted with each other or with women (rather than other men), and when interacting with women in each case either the men or the women gave each other intense looks which suggested they were appraising them physically. We considered the ad put particular visual emphasis both on the generally high proportion of women in the casino and on the physical attractiveness of the female casino employees to the two male protagonists.

We considered that the combination of those visual emphases with the voice-over specifically highlighting that Daily Star Wins (which provided only online casino services) employed real female croupiers, served to depict the presence of physically attractive women as the key attraction of Daily Star Wins. We considered the ad therefore objectified women, and concluded it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence on that basis.

2. Upheld

When the men were initially shown in the pub the only person who paid attention to them was the barman serving their drinks. We noted that in contrast, in the casino they exchanged intense looks with the female casino employees, a group of people (mainly consisting of women) began to gather around them as they approached the roulette table, and that group had grown when they were shown winning and celebrating. We considered that all those aspects of the ad together created an impression that the men's interest in and eventual success at gambling had gained them recognition and admiration, and made them more popular and attractive to women. We concluded the ad therefore suggested that gambling could enhance personal qualities, and that it linked gambling to seduction and enhanced attractiveness.

Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Bear Group Ltd t/a Daily Star Wins to ensure their ads did not cause serious or widespread offence through the depiction of or objectification of women. We also told them to ensure their ads did not suggest that gambling could enhance personal qualities, or link gambling to seduction or enhanced attractiveness.

 

  Keeping Up with Appearances...

ASA dismisses whinges about Protein World advert featuring Khloe Kardashian


Link Here 9th May 2017

can you keep up with a kardashian advertA poster and digital outdoor ad for Protein World, seen in February 2017:

a. The poster was seen on the London Underground network and featured Khloe Kardashian in a swimsuit with text that stated Can You Keep Up with a KARDASHIAN? . Text further stated Take the protein world 30 Day Challenge .

b. The digital outdoor ad featured the same text and image as ad (a).

Fourteen complainants, who believed the ads promoted an unhealthy and competitive approach to dieting, objected that the ads were socially irresponsible.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA understood that the Copy Advice team had seen the ads prior to them appearing and advised that they were likely to be acceptable.

We considered that the ads promoted Khloe Kardashian's body image as desirable and aspirational; this was supported by her pose and the airbrushed style. However, we did not consider that she appeared to be out of proportion or unhealthy.

We considered that people would understand the phrase Can you keep up with a Kardashian? was double entendre; to be understood as referencing both the popular TV series Keeping up with the Kardashians which Khloe Kardashian appeared in and the use of Protein World's products to achieve a desirable body image. We further considered that readers would regard Take the 30 Day Challenge read in conjunction with the former phrase and the product name The Slender Blend to mean that if they used Protein World's products and followed the challenge regime they could lose weight.

We acknowledged that the use of the terms Can you keep up with ... and challenge could be interpreted as having a competitive quality, but we did not consider that the terms or the ads overall encouraged excessive weight loss or other extreme or potentially harmful dieting behaviour. We therefore concluded the ads were not socially irresponsible.

 

  A year of worthy protection from fraud and worthless PC easy offence...

ASA and CAP publish their joint annual report


Link Here 21st April 2017
asa 2017 The Annual Report 2016 reveals how our work has changed and how ASA adapted to a fast changing advertising landscape where nearly half of the work now involves regulating online ‘advertiser-owned’ ads , material that just five years ago wasn’t covered by the rules. 

2016 marked the five year anniversary of the ASA and CAP extending the advertising rules to cover companies’ and other organisations’ own ad claims on their own websites and social media spaces, for example on You Tube, Facebook and Twitter.  The Annual Report reveals the impact of that change.  In the last five years:

  • The ASA has resolved 41,383 complaints about 36,872 online ‘advertiser-owned’ ads
  • Those ads accounted for 1 in 3 complained about to the ASA
  • 88% of complaints about online ‘advertiser-owned’ ads were about misleadingness, compared to 73% for complaints across all media.

The report highlights the regulatory challenges the changing advertising landscape poses, with the lines between offline and online and between paid-for, ‘owned’ and ‘earned’ advertising becoming increasingly blurred.  And the report shows how technological change has influenced the ASA’s strategy to have more impact and be more proactive.  

Key figures for 2016 included: 

  • The ASA resolved 28,521 complaints about 16,999 ads
  • 4,824 ads were changed or withdrawn as a result of ASA and CAP action (a record year and a 5% increase on 2015)
  • CAP delivered 281,061 pieces of training and advice to industry to help companies and organisations get their ads right (another record year and a 10% increase on 2015)
  • The ASA and CAP delivered strong enforcement, with 8 websites taken down, one successful prosecution of an alternative therapy provider following referral to our legal backstop, Trading Standards, and two arrests pending prosecution

 

  Shot down...

Advert censor ludicrously bans bar glassware advert for humorous references to the Karma Sutra


Link Here 20th April 2017

karma shotra A video ad on the online drinks retailer 31Dover.com's website and on Youtube, seen in February 2017, opened on a blurred background and title text The Karma Shotra appeared. Bar paraphernalia including glasses, bottles and a variety of alcohol products were then shown with doodle drawings such as arms and faces overlaid on them. These characters were shown smiling and touching each other in a sexual manner. Subtitles appeared throughout such as The Cork Screw and The Rim Job , each followed by the characters engaging in sexual activity.

Two complainants, who believed the ad strongly linked alcohol to seduction, sexual activity and sexual success, objected that the ad was socially irresponsible and breached the Code.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA considered that the video as featured on the advertiser's own website and on their YouTube channel was an ad which fell within the remit of the CAP Code. The video featured alcohol products and referred throughout to the website URL where products could be purchased and was therefore clearly directly connected with the supply or transfer of goods and services provided by 31Dover.com.

We considered that the ad strongly linked alcohol to sexual activity. The ad plainly features sexual innuendo, sexual references and sexual activity in association with the promotion of alcohol products and 31Dover.com. We did not consider that because there was no human and alcohol interaction and there were no specific alcohol products or brands featured that this impression would have been eclipsed. Because the ad linked alcohol with sexual activity, we concluded it was socially irresponsible and breached the code.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 18.1 18.1 Marketing communications must be socially responsible and must contain nothing that is likely to lead people to adopt styles of drinking that are unwise. For example, they should not encourage excessive drinking. Care should be taken not to exploit the young, the immature or those who are mentally or socially vulnerable. and 18.5 18.5 Marketing communications must neither link alcohol with seduction, sexual activity or sexual success nor imply that alcohol can enhance attractiveness. (Alcohol).

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told 31Dover.com to prepare future advertising in a socially responsible way and not to link alcohol to sexual activity in their future marketing communications.

 

  Thinly disguised political correctness...

ASA dismisses a whinge about a slim model in a Selfridges advert


Link Here 14th April 2017

selfridges slim advertAn email from Selfridges, seen in January 2017, showed a model standing side on in a long blue dress.

A complainant, who believed the model looked unhealthily thin, challenged whether the ad was socially irresponsible.

ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld

The ASA acknowledged that while the image did emphasise the model's slenderness through pose and the style of clothing, she appeared to be in proportion. We considered most people, including young children and women, would interpret the ad as focusing on the design and fit of the dress, rather than on desirable body image. We considered that, although the model was slim, she did not appear to be unhealthily thin or significantly underweight and therefore concluded that the ad was not irresponsible.

 

  PC censors strike...

Disgraceful ASA banning of advert for the mobile app Mobile Strike


Link Here 5th April 2017

mobile strike players in bikinis video  An ad on the advertiser's YouTube channel, seen in December 2016, for the mobile game app Mobile Strike , featured two women wearing bikinis and sitting on sun-loungers. They were playing the game on their phones. In another scene, shot in slow motion, a third woman, who was wearing a swimsuit, was seen walking down a path towards them and also playing the game on her mobile phone. As she approached, she flicked her hair back from her face and then stopped and looked into the camera. In the final scene, she approached the other two women and stood with one hand on her hip whilst looking and smiling at the two other women.

The complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because they believed it objectified women.

Machine Zone Inc explained that their mobile app game Mobile Strike, was a modern military-themed combat game where players could battle against other players. One important feature of the game was that it could be played on mobile devices, the game was therefore portable and could be played anywhere. They believed the juxtaposition between what people normally did by the pool (i.e. relax and lounge) with the visuals of the players battling it out with jets and tanks was what made the ad so striking. That theme was used in other ads for the game -- for example, players battling one another in cafes, restaurants and the launderette. The intention was to show that the Mobile Strike game could liven up a player's time spent in everyday, sometimes boring, spaces.

They did not believe the ad objectified women. They said that because of the setting, the women were wearing bathing suits. The intention was to feature real-sized women and reference mythical warrior women like Amazons and Wonder Woman , as the women were seen making strategic moves in battle against one another. They said they had concerns that the complainant's objection was the size of the women featured rather than what they were wearing or doing in the ad. They suspected that had the women been typically thin models seen in ads, it was unlikely that a complaint would have been made. They had decided to feature real-sized women as a nod to their diverse player base.

They said they had run the ad globally for a number of months and had not received any other complaints about it. In fact, they said they had received considerable support from their players for featuring real-sized women in their ad, as they were often under represented.

YouTube said the ad did not violate their Community Guidelines or Advertising Policies. They said the ad had been served through AdWords, a self-administered system and it was the advertiser's responsibility to choose appropriate targeting of their ads, as well as to abide by applicable law and regulations, including the CAP Code.

ASA Assessment. Complaint Upheld

The ASA noted that the images of the women wearing swimwear bore no relation to the product being advertised -- a combat-themed mobile game app. We also noted that in some of the scenes, the mannerisms of the women were seductive or sexually-charged. For example, in one scene, a woman wearing a thong bikini was seen walking towards a sun lounger and the camera angle was taken from below and behind so that as she walked into the scene, only her legs and her thong bikini bottoms were in view. We noted that another scene featuring one of the women wearing a swimsuit was shot in slow motion, and the emphasis was on her body rather than the mobile game app she was playing. One of the camera angles was shot side-on which highlighted her waist and chest. As she approached the camera, she flicked her hair back, stopped and looked seductively into the camera. We noted that the ad featured plus-sized models but we considered that fact was irrelevant. For those reasons, we considered that the ad objectified women and was therefore offensive.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Machine Zone Inc to ensure that its ads in future did not objectify women and cause offence.

 

  Jobs advertised in the Guardian...

UK's Political Correctness censor appoints new members


Link Here 3rd April 2017
ASA logo The Advertising Standards Authority Chairman, Chris Smith, has announced the appointment of four new Council members -- Neil Stevenson, Tracey Follows, Tess Alps and Nita Patel. The Council is the body responsible for deciding if an ad has broken the advertising rules. It also operates as the Board of the ASA.

The Council is formed of 13 members of whom two-thirds are independent of industry. The remaining third have a recent, or current, knowledge of the advertising or media sector.

New Council members will begin their terms in April 2017, with the exception of Ms Patel, who will commence her term in April 2018. The new appointments will be replacing Sir Martin Narey, Ray Gallagher and Hamish Pringle, who have all come to the end of their terms on the Council.

Tracey Follows is Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at The Future Laboratory. She has 20 years' experience in advertising; agency side at Cogent, McCanns, Lowe and VCCP, rising to CSO at J Walter Thompson; and client side as International Advertising Manager at T-Mobile and Head of Consumer Communications at BT.

Tess Alps is the Chair of Thinkbox and was its first CEO. She is a Fellow of the Royal Television Society, a member of BAFTA and currently sits on the corporate board of The Royal Academy of Arts. Her advertising background includes ITV companies Television South-West, Yorkshire TV and Tyne-Tees TV and thirteen years as a director of PHD Media, latterly as Chair.

Neil Stevenson is the Chief Executive of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission. He currently sits on the Board of the General Dental Council and is Chair of its Remuneration Committee. His past experience includes 11 years at the Law Society of Scotland and being a founder Director of the Scottish Arbitration Centre. He has a keen interest in equality, and for five years was a member of the advisory group on diversity to the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland.

Nita Patel is a Corporate Communications and Sustainability specialist. Through her business Planet Communications, she has worked with a number of well-known companies helping develop and deliver their sustainability communications. She is also the co-founder of new coffee shop and co-working space, CAYA, providing a multi-purpose venue for freelancers and nomad workers to eat, work and share space in a flexible fashion. This is her first Board position.