The Advertising Standards Authority has banned the television advertisements after the company Jemella, that trades as Ghd, used “erotic” images of women combined with with the text, thy will be done, to promote a heated hair styler.
In one scene, a woman wearing lingerie sat on the edge of a bed with rosary-style beads clasped in her hands and prayed in Italian: May my new curls make her feel choked with jealousy. Another showed a woman lying on a bed, with her thoughts in
Swedish and printed on the screen: May my flirty flicks puncture the heart of every man I see. A third showed a woman carrying a votive candle through to her bedroom before looking upwards and praying: Make him dump her tonight and come home
Finally text stated ghd IV thy Will Be Done, with the letter “t” appearing as a cross. On-screen text then stated ghd. A new religion for hair.
The advertisement prompted complaints from the shameful Archdeacon of Liverpool, Ricky Panter, and 22 other members of the public who claimed the images were offensive to the Christian faith.
Panter told The Times last night: It seemed to me the advertisement crossed a line. I felt very uncomfortable with it. It was targeting the Lord’s Prayer and I felt it was taking the mick. This is not about censorship or about being prudish ...[BUT]...
It is simply about every individual’s right to signal when they think a line has been crossed.
The advertising clearance organisation Clearcast, which had approved this and previous Jemella campaigns, claimed the advertisements did not seek to mock any particular religion and contained language that had been used by Ghd for the past seven years.
The ASA decided however that the devotion to hair prayer depicted in the advertisements went too far: The women in the ads appeared to be in prayer, the ASA said in its ruling. “Their hands were clasped and they were looking upwards towards the
sky. One was holding a votive candle and another was holding a set of beads that resembled rosary beads. We also noted the images of the women in their bedrooms, some of them in their underwear and others on their beds, were presented in a way that could
be seen to be erotic
The ASA concluded that the eroticised images of the women apparently in prayer, in conjunction with religious symbols such as the votive candle and the rosary beads, the use of the phrase ‘thy will be done’ from the Lord's Prayer and the image of the
letter t as the Cross of Jesus, were likely to cause serious offence, particularly to Christians.
The advertisement is still running on YouTube and on the company’s own website. The industry is at present debating how it can regulate new media. A spokesman for the ASA said: If consumers want to stop the ad appearing on a company’s website then, in
the first instance, we recommend that they contact them directly.
Comment: ASA for the Succour of the Easily Offended
Thanks to Alan, 13th March 2008
Interesting to see the Archdeacon of Liverpool's whingeing and the craven response of the ASA, which seems to act as an association for the succour of the easily offended.
I notice that the archdeacon doesn't support censorship ...BUT....
Strange thing is, archdeacons have always had a lousy reputation. In the middle ages, they were so notorious for their corruption that theologians seriously debated whether they could be saved. They're not much more highly regarded today, and the
favourite definition of an archdeacon in the Church of England is the crook at the head of a bishop's staff.
Last week, secularists and rationalists around the UK raised a collective glass of champagne and let off some party poppers after the House of Lords agreed to add an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill abolishing the blasphemy laws.
‘It is disgraceful that such a relic of religious savagery has survived into the twenty-first century’, said Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society (1). Quite right, too. Good riddance to the ‘savage’ laws which, in
erecting a forcefield of offence-detection around God, his baby Jesus and the people who worship them, were an affront to freedom of speech.
Yet this week, not seven days later, a tiny group of Christians – one might even call them a ‘sect of Christians’ – managed to get a series of adverts banned on the basis that it was offensive to Christianity.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 23 complaints about the TV promo for ghd hair products. The ads said that ghd – which makes gel, mousse, hairspray and the like – represents a new ‘religion for hair’, and featured beautiful women with
ghd-enabled hairstyles praying, carrying candles, and wearing lingerie as they clasped rosary beads to their bosoms in a state of supplication. Most of the complaints were from Christians, including one from the Archdeacon of Liverpool, The Venerable
(allegedly) Ricky Panter. The ASA upheld the complaints, denounced the ads as ‘offensive’, and decreed that they must never again be shown ‘in their current form’ (2).
In summary? Blasphemy is dead! Long live blasphemy!
What about the hair-styler advert? Twenty-three people, among them someone magnificently described as the Archdeacon of Liverpool, complained that they were offended by it. Crumbs, eh? What hordes, what enraged majorities, what anguished multitudes are
here tormented by the association of four words and a Christian symbol with hair stylers, humorously confected to represent "a new religion for hair"? Are there any concerns here about "social responsibility, decency, matters of opinion
and truthfulness"? No? So it is just that 23, perhaps representing 230, or maybe even 2,300, or perhaps even 23,000, people without a sense of humour or a robust enough grip on their own convictions, refuse to let the remaining 59.99 million of us
see this advert.
In an effort to spare their leader a shame, a Russian TV channel cuts a segment of South Park that mocks Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin. A spokesman for the channel, which is called "2x2", said that: the given scene in this
version was absent.
Originally airing in U.S. back in 2005, the episode called Free Willzyx portrays Putin as a leader who is desperate for money. When Kyle calls him about sending a killer whale to space, he demands 20 million dollars. But realizing that it
is just a non-serious call from America, Putin curses on the phone and says Kiss my a** George Bush, this isn't funny.
It is still unclear yet, whether the censorship comes from the network or the regulator. Nevertheless, the decision prompted criticism and discussion on Russian blogs.