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2013: Oct-Dec

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Stupid Songs...

KFC advert attracts complaints as it seems to refer to Christmas carols as stupid songs

Link Here20th December 2013

  singing all our stupid songs

KFC launched a light-hearted spoof on the traditional Christmas number one-style music video. A controversial line in the song crops up when the KFC choir stand in front of a Scrooge-like character's house and sing:  singing all our stupid songs

The advert censor has received 25 complaints challenging whether the line all our stupid songs from the ad mocks Christian Christmas carols.

KFC claims the line was not meant to cause offence and it was meant as a reference to the Scrooge character's perception of Christmas:

This is a tongue-in-cheek advert which sends up the schmaltz of Christmas, and the brutal reality that the festive period can be a time of huge stress and a lack of goodwill to men. It looks at things from the perspective of a grumpy old man who is usually irritated by carol singers, but this year he sees the error of his ways. It was certainly not our intention to mock the Christian faith, and we are sorry if this offended anybody.



Censorship is a Mug's Game...

ASA bans US website from selling a mug with a bad taste joke on grounds of offence

Link Here18th December 2013

A US website which sold gifts and cards,, featured a mug product with the words World's Greatest Dad' on it. The mug also included an image of Josef Fritzl.

The complainant challenged whether the image of Josef Fritzl alongside the text World's Greatest Dad was offensive.

Zazzle Inc did not response to the ASA's enquiries.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA was concerned by Zazzle Inc's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to respond promptly to our enquiries and told them to do so in the future.

We noted the product was navigated to via the humour section of the personalised product website, but noted the product was not otherwise targeted. We considered that the juxtaposition of the image of Josef Fritzl next to the words World's Greatest Dad made light of the widely reported incidents of sexual and physical abuse of his daughter and therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious and widespread offence.

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

The ad should not appear again in its current form.



Censor Cut...

New Zealand advert censors bans ad for Grand Theft Auto

Link Here7th December 2013
A Grand Theft Auto advert that showed a character pointing out a 'cut here' tattoo on his neck could promote violent behaviour according to New Zealand's advert censor.

The ad was placed on two New Zealand news websites. Three people complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), describing it as offensive, aggressive and intimidating and saying it should be kept to websites restricted to adults.

The complainants said the advertisement was distasteful and sends a message to viewers that stealing cars and cutting throats are synonymous .

The ASA complaints board upheld the complaints, saying the tattoo on the character's neck was likely to be interpreted as a reference to decapitation. The board said:

While in cartoon form, such imagery still leant support to unacceptable violent behaviour.

The ASA ruled that the advertisement should be removed from the websites



I want to see it, feel it, hold it, put it in my mouth...

VIP e-cigarette advert inflames the easily offended

Link Here4th December 2013
A few viewers have tweeted a few whinges about the screening of a supposedly offensive e-cigarette advert during I'm A Celebrity .

The advert alludes to oral sex with a series of suggestive phrases in the commercial screened a little after the watershed.

In the commercial, a woman talking straight to the camera says:

I want you to get it out. I want to see it, feel it, hold it, put it in my mouth. I want to see how great it tastes.

Of course the punch line is that she is actually referring to an electronic cigarette.

A few viewers branded the advert disgraceful and unfunny while others said that it glamourised smoking.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) confirmed they were investigating the advert for VIP Electronic Cigarettes. A spokesman said:'

The ASA has received a significant number of complaints about two TV ads for VIP electronic cigarettes.

Complainants object that the language used in the ads is overly sexual and offensive while others object that the ad sexualises and glamorises e-cigarettes and/or smoking.

We have now launched a formal investigation into these ads.

Update: Whinge Count

15th December 2013. See  article from

Apparently 147 people have now complained about the advert.



'Wanking' at the ASA...

ASA bans advert for Protein shaker drink

Link Here25th November 2013

A video embedded in an e-mail promoting a sports supplement drink, included text above the video that stated FOR GOODNESS SHAKES! WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? with further text that overlaid the video stating PRESS PLAY TO FIND OUT... . Upon clicking on the play button, the ad linked to the advertiser's own website, which featured a video that auto played. Text above the video stated CHECK OUT OUR NEW ONLINE AD FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A YEAR'S SUPPLY OF FOR GOODNESS SHAKES FOR YOU AND YOUR MATES ... We're giving you the chance to WIN a year's supply of For Goodness Shakes for you and five mates! All you have to do is watch the video below and click on the link at the bottom to share it with your mates

The video featured men in a range of public settings, with only their heads and upper torsos visible. In each instance they appeared to be holding something by their groin and their bodies were shaking with exertion. The final scene featured a man standing behind a woman in a lift. His body stopped shaking abruptly when he appeared to notice that something had landed on the woman's back. He attempted to brush it off the woman before she stepped out of the lift, at which point it was revealed that he had been shaking a protein shake. The video closed with an image of the pre-mixed protein shake in a bottle, and text that stated WE SHAKE FOR YOU ... THE PROTEIN SHAKE WITHOUT THE SHAKER .

A complainant challenged whether the video was likely to cause serious or widespread offence because of its implied references to masturbating in public.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ASA considered that, although there was no explicit sexual content in the video, adults would interpret the men's activities as an allusion to masturbation. We noted that the final scene, which featured a man standing behind a woman in a lift, would be understood by adult viewers as indicating that the man had ejaculated onto the woman's back, before it was revealed that he had been shaking a protein shake.

We acknowledged that the demographic profile of My Goodness' e-mail database meant that the e-mail containing the video was likely to have been seen mainly by their target audience of young, sports-interested adult men and we considered that the video was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence amongst that audience. However, we considered that many of the other online channels that hosted the video, such as a news and entertainment website, were likely to appeal to a wider audience who would find the references to public masturbation, and particularly to ejaculating on another person, offensive.

We concluded that, in the context of marketing for a sports supplement drink and in light of the fact that the ad was likely to be seen by a varied audience, the video was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

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

The ad must not appear again in its current form.



Update: Marginal Decision...

Court of Appeal maintains ban on political advertising by Premier Christian Radio

Link Here20th November 2013
A radio advert calling on Christians who feel marginalised at work to report their troubles was rightly banned, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

The proposed advert, a 30-second recording for Premier Christian Radio was intended to urge listeners to report their experiences of being marginalised. The advert script was as follows:

Surveys have shown that over 60% of active Christians consider that Christians are being increasingly marginalised in the workplace. We are concerned to get the most accurate data to inform the public debate. We will then use this data to help make a fairer society. Please visit and report your experiences.

Premier Christian Radio's chief executive Peter Kerridge described the decision as an:

Attack on freedom of speech and a bad day for democracy in general. The wording of the advert did not seek to achieve a political end, it had no political message and there was no attempt to influence the listener to a particular viewpoint, so there appears to be no good reason to ban it.

Naturally we are disappointed with the judgment but will now consider further options which may be available to us with our legal representatives.

The advert was banned by the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre, who said it was directed to a political end , and broadcasting it would infringe provisions of the 2003 Communications Act that ban political advertising. In April last year a High Court judge in London ruled that it was lawfully banned.

Now a  Court of Appeal challenge against the earlier judgment was  dismissed in a two-to-one majority ruling of senior judges.

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said:

The courts have upheld the UK's long-standing ban on political advertising, which is a vitally important principle in our country and at the heart of British broadcasting.



Updated: Family First New Zealand Recommends...

Lady Gaga advert on the back of buses

Link Here11th November 2013
Full story: Lady GaGa...Winding up the nutters with sex and religion
Moralist campaigners at Family First NZ have written to the Howick and Eastern Bus Company asking them to remove a supposedly objectionable billboard on the back of their buses. The image advertising Lady Gaga's latest album features the partly-covered naked singer in a provocative pose. Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ spouted:

We expect this raunch culture from shock artists like Lady Gaga, but to display it on a public bus often used as a school bus is unacceptable. The image simply objectifies women as sex objects and is part of the agenda of a pornified music world.

These images should not be 'broadcast' on street billboards and school buses. It is offensive and inappropriate and many parents will not want their children being exposed to larger-than-life porn images. It's difficult to have 'parental controls' over the images on a bus driving in front of you.

The music industry wants to sexualise and objectify women. But advertisers, and the Advertising Standards Authority, should be doing everything it can to reject this.

We are asking the Howick and Eastern Bus Company to show social responsibility.

Update: Advert to be withdrawn

11th November 2013. See  article from

An Auckland bus company has asked its advertising agency to remove a racy Lady Gaga billboard from the back of its buses.

Family First NZ said it has received notification from the Howick and Eastern Bus Company that they have asked their advertising agency to remove a billboard advertising the popstar's latest album from the back of its buses.

We're stoked that Howick and Eastern Bus Company have responded to the concerns of families and have shown social responsibility, Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ, said.



I Ham Outraged...

A few trivial tweets about a poster for ham in Capri

Link Here25th October 2013
An advertisement billboard is causing 'outrage' on the Italian island of Capri. It shows a couple of slices of the famous Parma ham placed strategically on the rump of a naked woman.

Above the image on the advertising poster for the company Onesto Ghirardi is the slogan, I Ham.

A few trivial postings on social networks claimed that the advert is degrading women and pointing out the a woman's body is not a piece of meat.

A local councilor in Capri, Anita de Pascale, reportedly asked the mayor to immediately ban the billboard. She told La Repubblica newspaper: The image is detrimental to the dignity of women .

However the authorities in Parma have not so far intervened.



Can You Buy Halloween Masks of PC Extremists Screeching 'Offensive'?...

A tiny amount of complaints kicks of the advert censor to investigate a bus advert featuring a halloween zombie

Link Here 23rd October 2013
Bus adverts which feature the face of a zombie splattered with blood are being investigated by the advertising censor. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it had received three complaints about the banner promoting Shocktober in Crawley, West Sussex. The advert can be seen on more than 100 buses operating in London and Sussex.

Tulleys Farm in Turners Hill hosts the annual Halloween attraction which features haunted houses and rides. Stuart Beare from the farm said they did not intend to offend anyone.

The image of the zombie girl on our advertising is no worse than many images you'll see at this time of year in newspapers and magazines, on the Halloween costumes in the supermarket aisles and even on kids' TV programmes.

We are waiting for the Advertising Standards Authority to come back to us with their judgment to see if we have to take the ads off the buses.

A spokeswoman for the ASA said:

We had complaints about the same ad last year, and we did not find that there were grounds for an investigation.



Better than a Kwik Fit Fitter...

Australian advert censor whinges about bra fitting advert

Link Here18th October 2013
An Adelaide lingerie advertisement has been banned from television screens after the Advertising Standards Board upheld a whinge about it being in poor taste.

The ad showed a woman in a bra and underwear walking into a tyre shop to ask the man behind the counter can you fit me?

Its message was that Innerware Lingerie offered free professional bra fittings, but the censors found that it breached their rule which stipulates that advertising or marketing communications shall treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience .

The board considered that the advertisement did have a strong sexual suggestion with the combination of the woman wearing lingerie, her sexualised strutting, the focus on her body and the sexualised conversation.

In the board's view the level of sexualisation was not sensitive even to an M classification.  ( M would be a PG-15 in US notation).

Innerware has apologised for any offence the ad may have caused viewers. Innerware has since modified the ad and a new version is now screening on television.



The Maharashtra Black Magic Act...

Indian railways enforces a new law seeking to eradicate human sacrifices on trains

Link Here8th October 2013
India's Western Railway has banned advertisements carrying messages of tantriks, black magicians and occultists inside the coaches of suburban trains.

The ban has been enforced under the new Maharashtra Black Magic Act which seeks to eradicate human sacrifice, inhuman, evil and aghori practices.

The WR warned that the law stipulates a jail term of up to seven years if anybody is found pasting such advertisements in the suburban trains and thereby propagating superstitious practices and witchcraft.

The WR is continuing a drive to clean out coaches of such advertisements and has detected 156 cases of illegal pasting of stickers, an official said. Six people have already been sent to jail.

The witchcraft issue came to the fore after the killing of prominent anti-superstition campaigner Narendra Dabholkar in Pune August 20. His killers are yet untraced and are on the run.



Politically Correct Morality? Avoiding Offence Trumps Saving Lives...

New Zealand PC censors ban life saving breast cancer advert on TV

Link Here 3rd October 2013

The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation (NZBCF) had wanted to show the images of breasts from a Scottish advert as part of a television campaign.

But the country's Commercial Approval Bureau (CAB) advised the health campaigners that nipples were not permitted in TV adverts in New Zealand. As a result, the NZBCF was forced to use strategically placed pot plants, balloons and cupcakes in its Naked Truth campaign.

The advert, first screened in Scotland last September, showed C Elaine Smith holding a series of placards with images of breasts affected by cancer.

In the three months between September and November, 21,000 women contacted their GP about breast cancer symptoms - 50% more than the 13,900 who did so in the same period of 2011. The advert stressed that lumps are not the only sign that someone may be suffering from breast cancer, with women being urged to check for signs such as a change in breast shape or size, an unusual pain in their breast, a change in the skin such as dimpling, puckering or reddening, and any changes to their nipples.



Pointing Fingers at the Easily Offended...

New Zealand advert censors whinges at poster for radio channel

Link Here1st October 2013
For the second time in a year, Auckland rock station Radio Hauraki has been told to remove an advertisement featuring host Matt Heath, because it supposedly could offend children.

The billboard shows five of the station's hosts posing, including controversial Heath, with both middle fingers raised.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received several complaints about the billboard, one labelling it:

Offensive to say the least. Although it hasn't happened yet I imagine my children will have all sorts of questions about what the gesture means.

I can stop them listening to the radio station, but can't stop them looking at the billboard.

In a majority decision, the ASA upheld the complaint, claiming it was likely to cause serious offence.

The ASA found that although the gesture was relatively innocuous for the station's target audience, because the billboard was highly visible in a central city location to children and people who might be offended, the station was asked to remove it.

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