An ad for Revo Turf, an artificial grass supplier and installer, seen in the landscape gardening trade magazine Pro
Landscaper on 4 April 2017, featured an image of a woman's legs from the knee down. Her legs were bare and she was wearing high heels, and standing on artificial grass. Large text stated The best way to get laid ..., followed by a description of
the advertiser's products in smaller text. The description concluded The Turf Group is the only place to get a good lay.
The complainant challenged whether the references to getting laid in combination with the image were offensive.
ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld
The ASA understood that laying turf was a commonly used term in the landscaping sector. We also acknowledged that the image of the woman's legs was not sexually explicit. However, we considered that when the image was combined with the headline
The best way to get laid and the further text The Turf Group is the only place to get a good lay, the references would be understood as a double entendre linking the landscaping terminology of laying turf with the slang terminology of getting
laid. We considered that connection had the effect of demeaning and objectifying women by presenting them as sexual objects in order to draw attention to the ad. We therefore concluded the ad was likely to cause serious offence to some consumers.
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Pile Height Ltd t/a Turf Group to ensure that future ads did not portray women in a manner that objectified them and which was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
In response to recent boycotts by high profile advertisers, YouTube has clarified its censorship rules to enable video-makers to know which
content it considers to be advertiser-friendly.
In a blog post, the video-sharing website said it would not allow adverts to appear alongside hateful or discriminatory content. It will also refuse to place ads next to videos using gratuitously disrespectful language that shames or insults an
individual or group. The guidelines also discourage film-makers from making inappropriate parody videos using popular family entertainment characters.
YouTube has detailed new censorship rules in a blog post:
Hateful content: Content that promotes discrimination or disparages or humiliates an individual or group of people on the basis of the individual's or group's race, ethnicity, or ethnic origin, nationality, religion, disability, age,
veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other characteristic associated with systematic discrimination or marginalization.
Inappropriate use of family entertainment characters: Content that depicts family entertainment characters engaged in violent, sexual, vile, or otherwise inappropriate behavior, even if done for comedic or satirical purposes.
Incendiary and demeaning content: Content that is gratuitously incendiary, inflammatory, or demeaning. For example, video content that uses gratuitously disrespectful language that shames or insults an individual or group.
However, the announcement has met with some criticism from video makers. Captain Sauce, pointed out that the algorithm used to detect whether a video may contain inappropriate content was not perfect.
Whilst Eugenia Loli pointed out that mainstream news networks often post inflammatory studio debates that could be judged incendiary and demeaning, while music videos often pushed the boundaries of sexually-explicit content, but these still
carried advertisements. He wrote:
Why punish the little guy, but not the big networks? This is a double standard.
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
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.
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.
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.
A 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 police unit to censor online insult and hate crime has been launched by London's mayor, Sadiq Khan.
The Online Hate Crime Hub is made up of five Met police officers who will try to identify, prevent and investigate online abuse. Sadiq Khan said officers would work with community 'experts' to develop the police's understanding of online hate .
The unit will cost £1.7m over two years. It is being funded by the Met and the Mayor's Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC), with £452,000 also being contributed by the Home Office Police Innovation Fund.I
Any online insult and hate crimes on the likes of Twitter and Facebook will be looked into by the unit.
City Hall said discussions were also under way with social media companies to develop appropriate online sanctions for perpetrators of online hate .
Offsite Comment: All hail Sadiq Khan's new Ministry of Truth
After watching two broadcasts of Music Hall (1934), one in the morning and one late at night, on the Talking Pictures TV channel. I
noticed that certain words were blanked out of the performance by GH Elliott.
After a small bit of research I realised that the word coon had been removed twice on both occasions.
Being a fan of music hall I was rather disappointed.
Does this mean that language other than swearing will be regularly removed whether shown before, or after the Watershed, whether in context, or not?
I have written to Ofcom to complain, but as you are aware they very rarely write back.
Tesco has apologised for any offence from a beer advertisement that claimed Good Friday
just got better .
The ad ran in some newspapers to promote great offers on beer and cider in the run-up to Easter.
Vicar and broadcaster, the Reverend Richard Coles, claimed the advert was extraordinarily and unnecessarily ignorant and causes unnecessary offence to many. It didn't need to.
Michael Wakelin, a former head of BBC religious programmes, chipped in
Tesco got it badly wrong with the crass advert. It was also a decidedly poor way of treating such a holy day.
I'm sure there was no attempt to offend, I'm sure that wasn't in their mind. It is just religious illiteracy; ignorance if you like, around what religious people hold dear, and that is my main concern.
A Tesco spokesperson told the BBC:
We know that Easter is an important time of the year for our customers. It is never our intention to offend and we are sorry if any has been caused by this advert.
Marvel Comics have embraced political correctness and have generated a number of diverse new characters and re-imagined several old
favourites with a sex change.
Recent storylines have included black female character taking over as Iron Man, a biracial Spider-Man, a female version of Thor, and a Muslim teenage girl as the new Ms. Marvel.
However it seems that some of their retailers aren't impressed by sales figures. At the recent Marvel Retailer Summit, the issue was brought up by geek culture trade magazine ICv2 who asked Marvel's vice president of sales, David Gabriel, why sales were
down? Gabriel relied:
What we heard was that people didn't want any more diversity. They didn't want female characters out there. That's what we heard, whether we believe that or not. I don't know that that's really true, but that's what we saw in sales.
We saw the sales of any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up against. That was difficult for us because we had a lot of fresh, new,
exciting ideas that we were trying to get out and nothing new really worked.
Note that Gabriel isn't saying Marvel thinks that diversity and female characters are a problem but rather that's the feedback he's getting from many retailers. In fact Marvel are very supportive of diversity and have employed may writers and artists
with like minded ideals. But nevertheless the comments offended the PC lynch mob resulting in several media articles denying that diverse characters are impacting sales, it must be that that they are not trying hard enough reach the market of PC leaning
comic book readers.
Marvel is a business, but it's a business that attempts to sell comics to a demographic that has demonstrated a categorical, historical (and ultimately violent) disinterest in anything that is not built explicitly for them, rather than seeking to expand
by making concerted efforts to entice other people into the fold. Marvel is certainly subject to the demands of capitalism, but it sets its attempts at inclusivity up for failure when it continues to push white men as its real audience and makes
them the metric for success.
Gabriel has since followed up with a corrective statement that spun around his previous comments:
Contrary to what some said about characters 'not working,' the sticking factor and popularity for a majority of these new titles and characters like Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, The Mighty Thor, Spider-Gwen, Miles Morales, and Moon Girl, continue to prove
that our fans and retailers ARE excited about these new heroes. And let me be clear, our new heroes are not going anywhere! We are proud and excited to keep introducing unique characters that reflect new voices and new experiences into the Marvel
Universe and pair them with our iconic heroes. We have also been hearing from stores that welcome and champion our new characters and titles and want more! They've invigorated their own customer base and helped them grow their stores because of it. So
we're getting both sides of the story and the only upcoming change we're making is to ensure we don't lose focus of our core heroes.
Perhaps a more straightforward commentary was from Jack Brooks in the comments to the article. He noted:
Marvel's classic male heroes have built a following over the decades. Marvel needs the financial coattails of the original characters for the replacement characters to survive, but then Marvel messes all over the male originals. Why? To show off their
Except that most of the female characters aren't prospering. Nearly all of the female versions are doing poorly in sales except Jane Foster Thor (though she was outsold last month by Original Thor). Moon Girl and Ms. Marvel are in the cancellation zone.
Spider-Gwen's sales are anaemic. Spider-Woman was the best-written of the group (in my opinion) and it was just cancelled. And Marvel in Civil War 2 ruined Carol Danvers' character.
Someone at the top needs to recognize that they have allowed Marvel to turn into a propaganda mill. Extreme left-wingers make up a small percentage of the total population, but seem to comprise the majority of Marvel's writers. It's wildly imbalanced.
Bring in new talent who are moderates, or who at least don't use characters to preach.