An advertising billboard proclaiming Want Longer Lasting Sex? has prompted nutter complaints.
The medical reference is in the bottom left-hand corner, in much smaller type, which reads : Nasal Delivery Technology- Call the Doctors at Advanced Medical Institute.
Almost 200 hoardings in bold red on yellow print have appeared in and around London. The adverts will soon be rolled out across the UK.
The campaign from the Advanced Medical Institute in Australia has already been
banned in its native country.
Last night the Advertising Standards Authority said it had launched a formal investigation into the campaign, which has provoked 249 complaints in eight days. An ASA spokesman said the number of complaints was a high volume for such a short space of time.
The general nature of the complaints is that the ad is offensive, gratuitous and inappropriate for public display, especially as it is unsuitable to be seen by children, he said.
Last night nutter Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe said she was dismayed when she noticed one of the billboards near her London home.
What do you say to a child if you are driving along and the child says what does that mean mummy?". Advertisements are supposed to be decent and truthful and these billboards are not decent.
Susan Hall, a
prude councillor in the London borough of Harrow, which complained about the billboards, said they make the Club 18-30 package holiday company adverts look
like nuanced triumphs of understatement. We are no prudes, ...BUT... there is a difference between adverts which are a little risque like the Wonderbra commercials and billboards like these which are just crass.
Dr Michael Spira of AMI said: We've said all along that we're not out to offend anyone the purpose of our direct advertising is to let men who are suffering sexual problems know that help is available.
A regional press ad and a poster on the London Underground, for the film Righteous Kill , showed actors Robert De Niro and Al Pacino walking together against a backdrop of the New York skyline, with a police badge in the corner. Text
stated THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH A LITTLE SHOOTING AS LONG AS THE RIGHT PEOPLE GET SHOT.
Five members of the public believed that the text in the poster was irresponsible because it glamorised violence and gun crime by suggesting it was morally acceptable to kill in the right circumstances.
One reader believed that the text in the newspaper ad was irresponsible because it glamorised violence at a time of concern about the problem of gun and knife crime.
The ASA challenged whether the siting of the poster at Stockwell tube station was likely to cause serious or widespread offence at the time of the inquest into the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at that station.
Lions Gate said the film was rated a 15 certificate by the BBFC with a target audience of males aged 25 to 44 years. They said the text Theres nothing wrong with a little shooting as long as the right people get shot was a line of dialogue
from the film. They believed it was the kind of dialogue expected from a film or TV portrayal of the NYPD and contained an element of humour. They said there had been no intention to offend or to glamorise violence or to suggest it was morally
acceptable to kill people.
1. & 2. Not upheld
The ASA acknowledged public concern about gun crime but noted the poster and press ad did not contain any depiction of violence or guns. We considered that most people were likely to understand that the poster reflected the content of the film
and the quote, in keeping with the style of the film, was intended to be wryly humorous. We considered that the poster and press ad were unlikely to be seen as irresponsible or to glamorise or glorify gun crime.
We acknowledged that it was unfortunate that the poster was sited at Stockwell underground station at the time of the de Menezes inquest and welcomed the action taken by Lions Gate and CBS to remove the poster from the station as quickly as
possible. We understood the siting of the poster at the station was unintentional but nevertheless considered that the text THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH A LITTLE SHOOTING AS LONG AS THE RIGHT PEOPLE GET SHOT" on a poster had the potential
to cause serious offence in that location.
On this point, the poster breached CAP Code clauses 2.2 (Social responsibility) and 5.1 and 5.2 (Decency).
A hard-hitting TV commercial for children's charity Barnardo's will continue to be screened. It has attracted almost 500 complaints. Viewers had complained its repeated scenes of a young girl being hit and later taking drugs were distressing.
But the Advertising Standards Authority said the issues raised justified the use of such shocking images.
Barnardo's said the advert highlighted the vicious cycle of abuse and crime. In it, a teenage girl is pictured behind a prison door, then at a kitchen table where a man hits her hard on the back of the head and calls her a worthless
little cow. The next scene pictures her at her classroom desk, tearfully telling the teacher: I don't know what it says, before she appears in a deserted setting having just taken drugs. The scenes are repeated at increasing speed,
emphasising the sound of the slap and the girl's sobs.
Text on the screen reads: For thousands of children in the UK the story will keep repeating itself, until someone stops it.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated the advert after receiving 477 complaints and said more viewers had complained since then.
It acknowledged the abuse victims' distress but noted that the scene involving the violence, although shocking to watch, showed the violence as unacceptable behaviour and did not encourage or condone it. We concluded that the aim of the ads
justified the use of such strong imagery, it added, noting that the adverts were shown after 2100 GMT and away from programmes popular with children.
Burger King is under nutter fire for a new advertising campaign featuring burger virgins, impoverished villagers in remote parts of the world, taking part in Whopper versus Big Mac taste tests.
In teaser adverts promoting its Whopper Virgins challenge, the fast food chain describes how it sought out farmers in rural Romania, Thai villagers and residents of Greenland's icy tundra to compare its signature burger with arch rival
What happens if you take Transylvanian farmers who have never eaten a burger and ask them to compare Whopper versus Big Mac in the world's purest taste test? one of the adverts asks: Will they prefer the Whopper? These are the Whopper
Virgins. If you want a real opinion about a burger, ask someone who doesn't even have a word for burger .
But nutters have slammed the campaign as insulting and exploitative.
It's outrageous, Sharon Akabas of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University, told the New York Daily News: What's next? Are we going to start taking guns out to some of these remote places and ask them which one they like
Marilyn Borchardt, development director for Food First, called the campaign insensitive: The ad's not even acknowledging that there's even hunger in any of these places, she told the Daily News.
The campaign has also stirred up a welter of online commentary. Brian Morrissey, writing on Adfreak.com, likens the campaign to colonialism and declares it embarrassing and emblematic of how ignorant Americans still seem to the rest of the
"It doesn't get much more offensive than this," noted The Inquisitor blog: If visiting poor people in remote locations, some who would be at best surviving on below poverty levels and throwing a burger in their faces isn't bad
enough, it gets better, because they also ask the Whopper Virgins to compare the taste of the Whopper to a McDonalds Big Mac as well. It's hard to place exactly where this begins on the level of wrongness.
A regional press ad, for Sandown Free Presbyterian Church, was headlined THE WORD OF GOD AGAINST SODOMY . Further text stated:
Last year in the 'gay pride parade' a banner stating "Jesus is a Fag" was carried by one of the participants. The supporter of homosexuality was able to walk through the streets of Belfast displaying this offensive
placard in spite of the presence of the PSNI, representatives from the Commission and the march organisers. The act of sodomy is a grave offence to every Bible believer who, in accepting the pure message of Gods precious Word, express the mind of
God by declaring it to be an abomination. (Leviticus, ch18 v22, Thou Shalt not lie down with mankind, as with womankind; it is an abomination.) This unequivocal statement clearly articulates Gods judgement upon a sin that has been only made
controversial by those who are attempting to either neutralise or remove the guilt of their wrongdoing. As a result, we are now witnessing a hostile spirit being exerted against the testimony of Gods precious Word and those who adhere to its
teachings. It is imperative that everyone whose faith is centred upon the authority of the divinely inspired scriptures maintain a strong and public stand for the ethical and moral standards that will ultimately exalt the nation. (Proverbs, ch14
v34, Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people.)
The issue of human rights is no longer a basis for this parade, as successive governments have legislated for the lowering of the age of consent, the authorisation of civil partnerships and the inheritance rights of a
nominated partner. It is a cause for regret that a section of the community desire to be known for a perverted form of sexuality, which in certain incidences has provoked the unacceptable and totally unjustifiable response of violence. Such a
response, however, must not intimidate the church into silence.
The ASA received seven complaints:
1. four complainants believed the ad's content was homophobic and, therefore, offensive and
2. six complainants believed the ad was likely to provoke hatred and violence against the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
The ASA noted the ad prominently stated Published by the Kirk Session of Sandown Free Presbyterian Church and recognised that readers would understand that the text was representative of the beliefs of a specific group and indicative of
their opinion only. We considered, however, that some of the text used in relation to homosexuality, for example, ... declaring it to be an abomination ... , . .. God's judgement upon a sin ... , . .. remove the guilt of their
wrongdoing ... , ... a cause for regret that a section of the community desire to be known for a perverted form of sexuality ... , went further than the majority of readers were likely to find acceptable.
We considered that particular care should be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of sexual orientation, and concluded that this ad had caused serious offence to some readers.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clause 5.1 (Decency) but did not breach 8.1 (Matters of opinion).
The ad should not appear again in its current form.
2. Not upheld
We understood that the complainants were concerned because the ad called for an outdoor meeting to be held in protest of the act of sodomy and to voice disapproval of the Belfast Gay Pride parade on the same day as the parade was arranged; they
believed this action could be read as an attempt to spread hatred and incite violence against supporters and members of the Pride movement and LBGT community.
While we appreciated the complainants' concern, we considered that the ad did not in itself incorporate language likely to incite a violent emotional response. We considered that it would be clear to readers that it represented the views of a
specific group, which were not universally held, and would be deemed extreme by some. We acknowledged, therefore, that the ad conveyed an opinion that was controversial for some readers but concluded that it was unlikely to provoke hatred or
violence against the LGBT community.
On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code clauses 8.1 (Matters of opinion) and 11.1 (Violence and anti-social behaviour) but did not find it in breach.
Two senior lawyers have advised the church that the ASA ruling had gone too far legally and a groundswell of public support has begun behind the Rev David McIlveen of Sandown Free Presbyterian Church in Belfast.
McIlveen said he had been inspired by the level of support he had since received: After Wednesday's Press conference I had missed 24 calls on my mobile and when I got home I had to spend some time going through about 50 messages of support on
my answer machine.
A legal expert who specialises in both sexual orientation and freedom of speech said the ASA had got the balance wrong between the two issues, and that its ruling could be open to judicial review.
Dermot Feenan of the University of Ulster School of Law explained that rights to express religious views must be balanced with the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sexuality.
He said the advertising code used by the advertising authority prohibits adverts likely to cause serious offence, but that the authority did not show how the offence caused by this advert was serious enough to warrant censorship: There
was no evidential basis for its finding that the ad went further than the majority of its readers were likely to find acceptable.
A radio advertisement that reminds listeners about the religious meaning of Christmas has been banned by Ireland's broadcasting regulatory body.
The advert by Veritas, a religious publisher and retailer owned by the Irish Catholic Bishops Conference, says: Cakes and crackers, Santa and stockings, turkey and tinsel, mistletoe and mince pies and presents and puddings. Christmas: aren't
we forgetting something? This Christmas why not give a gift that means more?
It then suggests gift items such as candles, books and artwork that are available from the Veritas shop.
It was due to be aired on RTÉ, the state broadcaster, which plays the Angelus at midday and 6pm every day as a reminder of the call to Catholic prayer Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin, called the ban bizarre: Have we really
forgotten what Christmas is all about?. I sincerely hope there is room in legislation on broadcasting currently before the Oireachtas [parliament] that will see an end to bizarre interpretation of rules around religious advertising.
An advert featuring the word 'porno' has been criticised after it appeared on Edinburgh's buses.
Nutters whinged at adverts for the film Zack and Miri Make a Porno for exposing young children to the word "porno". And they were further enraged when their complaint to the local authority was blocked by a firewall because of
the word "porno".
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) which has received 149 complaints over the issue ruled the posters are acceptable as neither they, nor the film, promote pornography.
Andrea Becquemont, an Edinburgh parent, said she was shocked to see the word emblazoned across Lothian buses. She described the ASA's decision as outrageous. It is an offensive word because it relates to pornography and the sex trade. I'm
disgusted they would find it acceptable for children to see that word on a bus which could travel past schools and nurseries.
She e-mailed a complaint regarding the adverts to City of Edinburgh Council, as the major shareholder of Lothian Buses, but it bounced back: If it is acceptable, why won't the council accept an e-mail which contains the word porno, and why is
it bleeped out on the radio during the day? Children shouldn't be asking their mum or dad what does porno mean? It's too much.
Iain Coupar, the Lothian Buses marketing director, said: We received one e-mail complaint, which we shared with our advertising agency CBS Outdoor, who are responsible for commercial advertising on our buses. He said the company believed
the advert conformed to the British Code of Advertising, and stressed that it had been approved by the ASA and the Committee of Advertising Practice (Cap).
He added: We regret that the advert may have caused some concern. However, we can confirm that all the adverts have now been removed from our buses.
A spokesman for CBS Outdoor said it had consulted Cap on the advert before sanctioning its use across the UK. He said: Cap judged the advert would conform to ASA guidance, which has proved to be the case.
A spokeswoman for ASA said 149 complaints had been received about the posters for the 18-certificate film. She said: It was considered that whilst the word porno and its connotations might be distasteful to some people, the actual film and
advert itself contained nothing explicit and that it was not promoting pornography.
A spokesman for Edinburgh council suggested use of an asterisk in e-mails when complaining about an offensive word would get them through the council's firewall. He added: Words like casino, porno and Viagra are blocked by most office e-mail
firewalls to stop spam clogging up employee inboxes.
Advert censor finds offence in beer and lady boys image of the Far East
An ad, for Tiger Beer, appeared on poster and in the Metro and London Lite newspapers. A small image of a bottle of Tiger beer was shown in the top left-hand corner, which was labelled with a star that stated THE FAR EASTS MOST DESIRABLE
EXPORT SINCE 1932 . In the foreground of the ad was a large image of a person wearing black stockings, knickers and a bra, with a sheer blouse that was not fastened. The person was putting something into their mouth and was labelled with a
star that stated "3rd".
1. Eight complainants objected that the image of the person, who they believed to be a woman, was offensive because it linked exports with a person in a sexually provocative pose, which they felt was inappropriate given reports of human
trafficking for the sex trade and
2. Three of the complainants also objected that the ad was offensive and disrespectful to Eastern culture because it implied beer and sex were some of the best things to come out of the region.
Tiger Beer UK Ltd said the campaign was not intended to condone lewd behaviour, human trafficking or the sex trade in, or as exports of, the Far East. They said the campaign was intended to reflect Tiger Beers Far Eastern heritage and build on
its position as the Far Easts most desirable export since 1932 by presenting it in the context of other recognised Far Eastern exports including ladyboys, tuk tuks, chop sticks and acupuncture, all of which were treated with the respect
ASA Assessment 1. & 2. Upheld
We understood that the ads image was intended to represent a ladyboy cabaret act. We considered, however, that by presenting the character in sexual clothing and a provocative pose alongside the implication that she was rated the Far Easts third
most desirable export, the ad appeared to link exports with the sex trade and, potentially, human trafficking.
We also considered the ad suggested beer and sex were two of the best exports of the Far East, which was disrespectful to Eastern culture. We concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
On both points, the ad breached CAP Code clause 5.1 (Decency).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. The ASA welcomed Tiger Beer UKs decision to remove the image from the campaign.
An ad in paid for space on a lorry for The Sun newspaper, stated Where the bloody hell were you" against a background of the Union Jack flag. It showed Great Britain's (2008) Olympic gold medal tally of 19 compared to Australia's 14.
One complainant objected that the language used was offensive in a public place where it could be seen by children.
ASA Assessment: Upheld
The ASA noted The Sun's ad was a reference to an earlier Australian Tourist Board ad, but also noted complaints about that ad's use of the word "bloody" in outdoor advertising had previously been upheld by the ASA.
We acknowledged that The Sun's ad had been prepared in a light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek manner, following the UK's recent success at the Olympics, but nevertheless considered that the word "bloody" was a swear word, albeit a milder
one than some others and concluded that it was socially irresponsible to reproduce it in advertising in an untargeted medium to which children could be exposed.
The ad breached CAP Code clauses 2.2 (Social responsibility) and 47.1 (Children).
The ASA told The Sun not to use the word "bloody" on posters in future.
A Romanian entrepreneur has come under fire for putting plastic prostitutes on the street to advertise his garden gnome business.
Neighbours in Lilieci, Bacau county, complain the realistic figures distract motorists and are an unsuitable sight for local children.
Cristi Birgu who has just set up his business, defends his advertising and says the dummies will remain outside his house to drum up trade. Apart from garden gnomes and prostitutes, he makes reproductions of Laurel and Hardy, Elvis, sports stars,
cartoon characters and animals.
Birgu said: So far, my girls have attracted a lot of beeping from truck drivers but not too many customers. Sometimes I am afraid somebody might have an accident, arrested by the view, you know.
About six months after the Chicago Transit Authority pulled ads for the violent but popular gangland video game Grand Theft Auto IV, triggering a lawsuit from the gamemaker, billboards for the game and its brooding, East European anti-hero
have begun reappearing on the sides of CTA buses.
Take Two, whose subsidiary, Rockstar Games, publishes the title alleged that the CTA violated its contractual and constitutional rights by removing the ads, which were timed to appear around the game's release on April 29.
The lawsuit was settled in September, according to court records, and as part of the settlement agreement, the ads will reappear on buses for the next six weeks, CTA spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney said.
In an e-mail, Take Two said that the terms of the settlement are confidential but that a replacement advertising campaign is running in Chicago.
Last week, the CTA board voted to ban advertising for video games rated "M" (suitable for those aged 17+) and above. The ordinance, which takes effect Jan. 1, cites a demonstrable correlation between intensely violent video games
and violent or aggressive behavior.
The Advertising Standards Bureau says it has received numerous complaints about new billboards advertising a medication for sexual dysfunction.
It is the second time this year advertising for the medication sold by the Advanced Medical Institute has attracted complaints.
In August, the company was asked by the Advertising Standards Bureau to remove more than 100 billboards nationally with the slogan Want longer lasting sex? because some people found it offensive.
The company says it thought the new slogan Bonk for longer was less offensive.
But the bureau's chief executive, Fiona Jolly, says it has already received numerous complaints about the signs on Sydney's Parramatta Road. Jolly says the board will make a decision on the new signs within the next two weeks.
The advertising standards board members will look at clause 2.3 of the Code of Ethics, which says that the treatment of sex, sexuality and nudity must be sensitive to the relative audience, she said.
The company says it will remove the signs if the bureau asks it to.
Driving through Vauxhall the other day my eye was taken by a huge billboard posing the question in lurid day-glo colours several feet high Want Longer Lasting Sex?
At a busy traffic intersection? In broad daylight? The product being advertised seemed to be some sort of nasal spray.
Vauxhall, for those unfamiliar with the area, is a scruffy neighbourhood, just across the bridge from the Houses of Parliament which, for reasons that are not exactly clear, has recently transmogrified into London's largest gay erogenous zone.
In this context, the promise of Longer Lasting Sex seemed to be simply another, albeit rather more in-your-face, addition, to the colourful pageant of local life. But driving on to Waterloo, there was the billboard again. A colleague reports a
sighting outside a Tesco on a busy road in West London - there was almost a pile-up.
US power tool maker Black & Decker has received a hammering from a Swedish advertising censor for an advert described as degrading to women.
The Swedish business sector's Ethical Council against Gender Discriminatory Advertising (ERK) slammed an advert that promised beauty treatments for the wives of men who bought its products.
The Black & Decker ad earlier this year promised customers a pleased wife guarantee, offering beauty treatments worth 350 kronor ($43 dollars) to the wives of men who bought spent more than 1,500 kronor on its tools.
Through this text, the council finds that (the company) conveyed an outdated view of gender roles in which women are expected to be placated with beauty treatments while men buy tools, ERK said in its ruling: This is degrading for both
women and men. The ad is thereby gender discriminatory.
ERK, which is made up of representatives of Sweden's main advertising companies, has no power to impose sanctions on companies it finds guilty of discrimination.
After learning that SEGA used a real chimpanzee in an online video promoting Samba De Amigo... People for the Ethical Treament of Animals (PETA) contacted the company:
We explained how involuntary chimpanzee "actors" are taken away from their mothers when they are just a year or so old and forced to perform confusing and repetitious tricks. We also explained some of the horrible
methods that chimpanzee "trainers" use, such as electric shocks with shock collars and prods, isolation, beatings with sawed-off pool cues and slapjacks, and food deprivation. Then, at the ripe old age of just 8, the chimpanzees reach
puberty and their showbiz careers are overand they end up being dumped at dismal roadside zoos or sold to laboratories for experimentation.
SEGA quickly pulled the video from its site and promised to keep all great apes out of its ads!
A New Zealand pizza chain has withdrawn an ad campaign that featured the dancing corpses of the Queen Mother, actor Heath Ledger and climbing legend Sir Edmund Hillary.
The animated ad was part of a Halloween email campaign sent out to 5,000 people by pizza chain Hell Pizza. It showed three skeletal depictions of the celebrities dancing on graves to the tune of Michael Jackson's Thrille' .
Hillary's son Peter told the New Zealand Press Association that the ad was in extremely poor taste. I think it's a bit disturbing, a little grotesque. I don't think it's funny and I'm not very impressed. It is early days and it's still pretty
Glenn Corbett, the retail operations manager of Hell Pizza owner TPF Group, explained that the ad was not intended to be disrespectful: Clearly [Edmund Hillary is] revered in New Zealand and we all love him.
The company said that the website animation was meant to bring some much-loved people back from the dead and was Hell Pizza's way of honouring them. But it added it had no intention of contacting the Queen or Ledger's family to apologise.
Budget airline Ryanair went on the attack, mocking Swedish feminist politician Birgitta Ohlsson's call for a boycott of the airline because of its allegedly sexist advertising practices.
This really is a storm in a D cup! said Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara in a statement: We're sure that Boring Birgitta will be overrun by the flood of right minded, liberal, people who support Ryanair's determination to defend the
rights of girls and boys to get their kit off if they want to.
The airline's rebuttal comes hot on the heels of a call by Ohlsson for consumers to boycott the airline for refusing to apologize for an advertisement deemed sexist by Sweden's Trade Ethical Council against Sexism in Advertising (ERK).
It's my duty as a feminist politician to name and shame companies like this, the NotSoLiberal Party politician told The Local.
The airline said it would celebrate Ryanair's sexy Swedish ad by launching one million 10 mid week seats. We will also be sending free tickets to Boring Birgitta so that she can take a nice relaxing break, loosen up a little and stop
calling for silly boycotts, said McNamara.
Catholoc nutters are stepping up the fight to ban "sexualised" advertisements from billboards.
Matthew Restall and Bridget Spinks have 4000 signatures, including that of Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell, and are hoping to collect as many as 100,000 by January, when they will be submitted to the NSW and Victorian parliaments to be
Restall said he took the action after seeing an advertisement on the side of a vehicle advertising a car wash, showing a scantily clad woman lying in a suggestive position. It was offensive. The aim of the campaign is to remove all
forms of sexualised advertisements from billboards and sides of vehicles.
The campaign has been backed by The Catholic Weekly.
Spinks said: Who knows what our children are having to deal with. By 2040, if no one does something now, the level of our community standards is going to drop.
Britain is outraged at dastardly foreign attempts to banish busty beauties from the nation's billboards. The root of their anger was Swedish politicians who, having failed to get sexist ads banned on the home front, scored a win in Brussels.
The Daily Mail, an organ never to miss an opportunity for a bit of Euro-bashing, was justifiably breathless with indignation after a committee of Euro-MPs demanded that EU countries put a stop to any ads that reinforce gender stereotypes.
The person behind this nutter plan is none other than Eva-Britt Svensson, a Swedish Left Party MEP and vice chairperson of the European Parliament's women's rights committee.
The author of the report seems to have swallowed an undergraduate gender studies textbook: Gender stereotyping in advertising straitjackets women, men, girls and boys by restricting individuals to predetermined and artificial roles that are
often degrading, humiliating and dumbed down for both sexes.
So it's 'Goobye Boys' from Wonderbra, but also from yummy Diet Coke builders, Calvin Klein-clad footballers and the rest.
Actually, the chances of any country being forced to ban anything is close to nil (no law has been passed the European Parliament's women's rights committee has just recommended a course of action that governments are free to ignore, as they no
If you've been in Sweden for the past few years, the proposal had a familiar ring. The Swedish Council against Sexual Discrimination in Advertising (ERK) has long waged a battle against ads depicting scantily-clad models.
ERK's rulings have led to accusations that it was trying to act as the thought police. They have also raised a number of questions: is sexy advertising always sexist? Why should advertisers be expected to be more politically correct than
the consumers they target? Whatever happened to free speech? And besides, surely the whole business should be self-regulating: consumers won't buy products if the ads are offensive?
The controversial nature of ERK's work also has the self-defeating side-effect that the ads it censures are guaranteed lots of free publicity in the tabloids.
ERK's rulings don't have the force of law, but earlier this year an official committee proposed going one step further and banning all material with a commercial aim that could be construed as offensive to women or men.
Equality minister Nyamko Sabuni refused to adopt the report's findings, saying: I don't want to infringe on fundamental human freedoms and rights for a law the efficacy of which I question. This is not the way to win the fight for gender
equity. Defeated on home soil, it looks like Svensson is seeing whether the battle can be won elsewhere. She probably shouldn't hold her breath in the UK, at least, even the left-wing papers are subjecting the idea to ridicule.
Svensson's poorly-presented arguments might leave an open goal for her opponents, but the failure to pass a similar law in Stockholm must beg the question: if rules like this haven't worked in politically correct Sweden, how on earth could they
be made to work elsewhere?
Low-cost airline Ryanair has received a reprimand from Sweden's Trade Ethical Council against Sexism in Advertising (ERK) for an ad campaign featuring a scantily clad woman posing as a schoolgirl.
The airline has been criticized for a campaign aimed at marketing low price fares to coincide with the start of the school year. To drive home the point, a smiling schoolgirl in a mini-skirt and short blouse is depicted beside a blackboard
announcing the hottest back to school prices.
According to ERK, the woman in the school uniform is used to catch the eye in a sexual manner that is offensive to women in general.
Ryanair claimed Sweden's Trade Ethical Council against Sexism in Advertising was out of touch with the Britney Spears generation .
In defending the advertisement, Ryanair questioned whether the ERK accurately reflected the views of most Swedes: We are sure that the anti-funsters at the ERK do not speak for the majority of the famously liberal and easy going Swedes .
The ad simply reflects the way a lot of young girls like to dress. We hope the old farts at the ERK loosen up a little.
Note that the British old farts at ASA also got wound up by a variation of this advert.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a TV campaign for Oasis soft drink after finding that it could be interpreted as condoning underage sex and pregnancy.
The series of TV ads, charting the runaway story of an outcast called the Cactus Kid and his young pregnant girlfriend, prompted 32 viewers to complain about the Coca-Cola-owned brand.
The ASA ruled that the reference to the woman's pregnancy was offensive and inappropriate ... and could be interpreted to condone underage sex and teenage pregnancy.
Two TV adverts, by the ad agency Mother, were shot in the style of a 50s US road movie with True Romance style music.
Complainants said the girl appeared to be younger than 16 and that the ad was offensive and harmful because it condoned underage sex and teen pregnancy. A number of viewers complained that one TV ad was scheduled inappropriately because
children and young people could see it. And 17 viewers complained that the reference to the ad being a substitute for water disparaged good dietary advice.
Coca-Cola GB said that the girl in the TV ad was meant to be 20 years old and that a 22-year-old actress played the character. However, the ASA ruled that despite her age the actress was likely to be viewed as a girl in her early teens.
The ASA also said that the advert did suggest that water was being rejected and this was irresponsible and could discourage good dietary practice.
It ordered that the ads should not be shown again in their current form.
An ad for the computer game, Bad Company: Battlefield , appeared in ShortList magazine, London Lite and thelondonpaper.
The page was divided in two. The headline in the top half stated Meet Miss July MERCEDES PARELLADA . It featured an image of a bar stool with muddy footprints in front of it which led off to the right of the page.
A transcript of an interview with Mercedes was set out in a text box on the right-hand side of the page. Age: 26 ... What kind of men do you like? I love soldiers. I love men in uniform carrying big guns, it's so hot. There
is something about how they are so put together which makes me want to get them all dirty...
The second half of the page showed a still from the computer game. The computer-generated images of three men were shown dressed in combat clothing and carrying guns; a burning building could be seen in the background. One of the men carried
Mercedes in his arms; she was a woman dressed in a silver bikini. Text below stated YOU'RE IN BAD COMPANY NOW Create your own rules. Blow up almost anything using tactical destruction. And take whatever you want with three
of your closest, morally challenged friends."
Twelve readers, who expressed concern that Mercedes was depicted as a sex object or a spoil of war , challenged whether the ad:
was offensive and degrading in its portrayal of women
glamorised violence and could therefore be seen to condone violence, particularly sexual violence.
Three readers challenged whether it was irresponsible to show the ad in a medium where it could be seen by children.
ASA Assessment: Not upheld
We noted the ad featured a still from a computer game, which depicted three men dressed in combat clothing. We therefore understood that they were shown with their weapons in the context of the game. We considered that the ad depicted Mercedes as
a materialistic airhead ', whose interests included money and men. We considered that the stereotype was used to increase her appeal to the opposite sex.
While we recognised that some readers might find the portrayal of her character offensive and degrading in its depiction of women, we considered that most readers would view it as satirical depiction of some types of women featured in lads' mags.
We noted from the interview with Mercedes that the men were her type . We considered therefore that there was no suggestion that she had been taken by force or against her will; we also considered that there was no suggestion of impending
violence against her. We concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or be seen to condone or glamorise violence or sexual violence.
We noted the complainants' concern that the ad could be seen by children. We nevertheless noted the ad appeared in free publications that targeted adult commuters. While we accepted that some children might see the ad, we concluded that it had
not been irresponsibly targeted.