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Advertising repression...

China bans celebrities with 'lapsed morals' from advertising endorsments

Link Here5th November 2022
China has banned all celebrities from endorsing a range of products and banned those with 'lapsed morals' from endorsing anything.

The regulations, announced by state censors this week, bar Chinese celebrities from publicly endorsing or advertising health, education and financial commodities, including e-cigarettes and baby formula. The new regulations read:

Celebrities should consciously practice socialist core values in their advertising endorsement activities, and endorsement activities should conform to social morals and traditional virtues.

The rules also banned companies from hiring celebrities found to have lapsed morals or engaged in illegal behavior including tax evasion, drunkenness, drug addiction and fraud, and from using images of Communist party leaders, revolutionary leaders and heroes in their advertising.



Stick it to Hep C...

New Zealand advert censor gets all offended by health education campaign

Link Here30th September 2022
A New Zealand health campaign designed to help curb hepatitis C has been censored after one of its advertisements showing people raising the middle finger was deemed too offensive to air.

The campaign included videos, outdoor posters and online material featuring actors raising their middle finger to another person, while smiling. The advertisement then goes on to show an actor having his middle finger pricked for a blood test, to determine if he has the blood-borne virus.

But the Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint describing the advertising imagery as deeply offensive. While the complaints board agreed that those watching the advertising were likely to understand that there is an easy finger prick test to determine if you have been exposed to hepatitis C and a new effective treatment, meaning you can say 'Fuck you' to hep C', the context would be missing for most people who were likely to only focus on the hand gesture.

The gesture was one of the most offensive gestures you can give to another person and always has negative connotations, the board said, disagreeing with the advertiser that the smiling faces of the characters mitigated any aggressive intent. It agreed the advertisement used an indecent and offensive hand gesture, and was a breach of standards.

The middle finger photograph has been removed from the main campaign image in favour of a double thumbs up, but the YouTube clip remains online, and the middle finger imagery is still featured on the campaign's website.



Shades of censorship...

Nigeria bans foreign models from adverts

Link Here27th August 2022
Nigeria has banned foreign models and voiceover artists in advertisements.

The measure, taking effect from October, will particularly mean that adverts in the African nation will no longer feature white models and British accents.

The Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria president Steve Babaeko said that Britons currently accounted for about half of models and voiceover artists in Nigerian commercials.



Pretty young...

ASA bans adverts with 16 year old for slightly sexual posing

Link Here15th August 2022

The Pretty Little Thing website, seen 1 June 2022, featured Alabama Barker as a brand ambassador, along with her Y2K Edit clothing collection.

The brand ambassador webpage featured the headline Y2K IS CALLING, under which text stated, channel that teen dream realness with barely-there micro mini skirts. The page also included a series of images of Ms Barker modelling clothing from her edit. In one image, Ms Barker wore a tight-fitting short dress whilst sucking a lollipop. Another image featured Ms Barker wearing high heels and a low-cut short dress that revealed her breasts whilst spraying a water hose. Ms Barker was also shown wearing a dress taking a phone call whilst lying on a bed and licking her lips. Further images showed Ms Barker in a short V-necked dress clutching her chest with one hand, and posed with her leg bent wearing a mini skirt and knee high boots. An image of an open mouth with the tongue hanging out also featured.

On the product page for the clothing collection text stated, Nail the latest trends and team a cropped varsity jacket with a mini skirt and knee-high boots for a date with your best dolls or flaunt your curves in a white figure-hugging dress 206 Alabama Barker is here to make sure you're feeling confident and looking fierce. The page featured several products modelled by Ms Barker. One such image showed Ms Barker wearing a miniskirt, shirt and corset top whilst reclining on a bed and holding a handbag in the air. Another image featured Ms Barker wearing fluffy hair clips, a white cropped shirt, exposing her midriff, and sunglasses emblazoned with the text THAT'S HOT. In another image, Ms Barker wore a mini skirt, vest and cropped jacket whilst bent forward and clutching her chest.

A complainant, who believed that Alabama Barker was 16 years old, challenged whether the ad breached the Code by portraying someone who was under 18 in a sexual way. Ltd confirmed that Ms Barker was 16 years old at the time of the ad's shooting. They said that they had chosen Ms Barker as their brand ambassador because their customer base was primarily aged between 16 and 24 years old. They said that the campaign was based on the Y2K trend which they said was extremely popular with their target market and which they characterised as girly, colourful, fun and playful. PrettyLittleThing said that they did not intend to sexualise Ms Barker and disagreed that she was portrayed in a sexual manner.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The CAP Code stated that marketing communications must not portray or represent anyone who was, or seemed to be, under 18 in a sexual way.

The ASA understood that Ms Barker was aged 16 years old at the time of shooting and we considered that she also looked under 18 in the images. We noted that Ms Barker was shown in a number of different outfits and wore items such as a tight-fitting short dress, a low-cut short dress that revealed her breasts, a corset top, mini skirt and knee-high boots. We considered the clothing to be revealing. We also noted that Ms Barker wore sunglasses emblazoned with the text THAT'S HOT, which we considered to be a reference to sexual or passionate feeling.

We considered that a number of her poses were also likely to be considered as sexual. In several images, Ms Barker was shown lying on a bed and in one of them she was licking her lips in a sexually suggestive manner. Several of the images in which she was wearing a mini skirt involved Ms Barker crouching down, or bending her leg, which accentuated the prominence of her upper thighs, to the extent that her buttocks were almost visible. Furthermore, we noted that in another image Ms Barker was shown spraying a water hose which was positioned between her legs, which we considered focused the eye to her crotch area. In other images, Ms Barker was shown sucking a lollipop and clutching her chest.

We also considered that the text channel that teen dream realness with barely-there micro mini skirts further highlighted Ms Barker's young age. The references to barely-there micro mini skirts were also likely to be seen as sexualised.Given the above, we considered that the ad depicted a person who was under 18 in a sexual way, and we therefore concluded it was irresponsible and breached the Code.

The ad must not appear in its current form. We told Ltd to ensure future ads did not include images that portrayed or represented anyone who was, or seemed to be, under 18 in a sexual manner.



Widespread offence...

ASA bans Adidas bra advert highlighting differing breast types

Link Here11th May 2022

A tweet and two poster ads for sports bras, seen in February 2022:

  • a. A tweet on Adidas' own account showed, in a grid format, the bare breasts of 20 women of various skin colours, shapes and sizes. The pictures were identically cropped to show only the torso from below the shoulders to above the navel. It stated, We believe women's breasts in all shapes and sizes deserve support and comfort. Which is why our new sports bra range contains 43 styles, so everyone can find the right fit for them. Explore the new adidas sports bra collection at LINK. #SupportIsEverything.

  • b. A poster showed the same cropped images of the bare breasts of 62 women and stated, The reasons we didn't make just one new sports bra.

  • c. A poster showed the same text and cropped images of 64 women, but their nipples were obscured by pixelation.

The ASA received 24 complaints.

  1. Some complainants, who considered the ads' use of nudity was gratuitous, objectified women by sexualising them and reducing them to body parts, challenged whether they were harmful and offensive; and

  2. Some complainants also challenged whether ads (b) and (c) were appropriate for display where it could be seen by children. Response

1. Adidas UK Ltd believed the images in the ads were not gratuitous; they were intended to reflect and celebrate different shapes and sizes, illustrate diversity and demonstrate why tailored support bras were important. They said the images had been cropped to protect the identity of the models and to ensure their safety. All the models shown had volunteered to be in the ad and were supportive of its aims. They did not consider the ad to be sexual; they intended to show breasts simply as a part of a woman's body.

2. Adidas said that the pictures were intended to reflect and celebrate different shapes and sizes and they did not believe they would cause harm or distress to children.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA acknowledged that the intention of the ads was to show that women's breasts differed in shape and size, which was relevant to the sports bras being advertised. Although we did not consider that the way the women were portrayed was sexually explicit or objectified them, we considered that the depiction of naked breasts was likely to be seen as explicit nudity. We noted the breasts were the main focus in the ads, and there was less emphasis on the bras themselves, which were only referred to in the accompanying text.

We acknowledged that in ad (c) the women's nipples had been obscured by pixelation. Although the image was less immediately explicit, we considered that the breasts were still visible and recognisably naked, and therefore the effect of the image would be the same as in the ads (a) and (b).

As the ads contained explicit nudity, we considered that they required careful targeting to avoid causing offence to those who viewed them.

Ads (b) and (c), which were large posters, appeared in untargeted media and were therefore likely to be seen by people of all ages, including children. We considered that the image was not suitable for use in untargeted media, particularly where it could be seen by children. We concluded that ads (b) and (c) were inappropriately targeted, and were likely to cause widespread offence.

We noted the content typically featured on the Adidas Twitter feed promoted their sportswear for women and considered explicit nudity was not in keeping with their usual content. Because ad (a) featured explicit nudity, we concluded it was likely to cause widespread offence in that media.

We therefore concluded that the ads breached the Code.

The ads must not appear again in the forms complained of. We told Adidas UK Ltd to ensure their ads did not cause offence and were targeted responsibly.



Legal Utopia...

ASA dismisses complaints about using the word 'shyster' in an advert

Link Here23rd February 2022
A TV ad for Legal Utopia, a legal support app, seen on 22 October 2021, featured a voice-over that stated, I've discovered Legal Utopia; the app to help you save time and potentially save money 206 It's accessible, affordable law for all and for all sorts. The voice-over continued by giving examples of when the app could be used, including 206 claims against shoddy shysters, accompanied by a shot of a women speaking angrily on the phone as she examined leaky pipes under a sink.

A complainant, who understood the word shyster was a derogatory term used to describe Jewish people, challenged whether the ad was offensive.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Not upheld

The term shyster was used in the ad accompanied by footage of a woman speaking angrily on the phone whilst examining leaky pipes under a sink. The ASA considered that the context of the scene, in an ad for an app in which users could seek legal support, implied that the woman was berating a plumber who had carried out substandard work and that she could choose to seek legal recourse through consulting the app.

We understood that there were a range of opinions about the etymology of the word shyster, including that it referred to the character Shylock in The Merchant of Venice who was a Jewish moneylender. Others believed the word originated from the German word ScheiĆ?er. We understood that its common usage in British English was to describe an unscrupulous or disreputable person.

We sought a view from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who had no concerns about the use of the term in the ad.

We considered that in the context used in the ad, most viewers would understand the term shyster as referring to an unscrupulous plumber who had carried out substandard work and failed to correct it. We acknowledged that some viewers may find the term distasteful but we concluded that in the context of the ad it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

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