Melon Farmers Original Version

ASA Watch

2011: April-June

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30th June   

Angry Whinges...

Complaints dismissed about late night Drive Angry TV advert
Link Here

Two TV ads for the release of the film, Drive Angry 3D , featuring the actor Nicholas Cage.

a. The first ad began with a car crashing into a group of people. Large on-screen text and a voice-over stated Get ready for a hell of a ride . Nicholas Cage was then shown pointing a large gun and saying You can't stop me . Various violent scenes ensued. In one scene, a man was shot through the chest at close range. In another scene a man was shown firing a gun and the bullet moving in slow motion towards the viewer. A subsequent scene showed a wrench fly through the air and sever a man's hand with large on-screen text stating 3D . Then an axe was thrown in slow motion towards the viewer. A further scene showed Nicholas Cage being shot through the eye socket at close range. Then a man was stabbed through the shoulder. Another scene featured a car hitting a man at high speed and a man's body falling onto a broken window pane. Nicholas Cage was then shown punching another man in the face. The voice-over continued It's the 3D movie event of the year . The voice-over and large on-screen text stated NICHOLAS CAGE, DRIVE ANGRY 3D. 18. IN CINEMAS FEB 25. In the final scene Nicholas Cage, with an open wound in his eye socket, shot at a man whose charred body was blown away.

b. A shorter version of ad (a) began with a young woman pointing a large gun and shouting Hey dickless!. The following scene featured a car chase between two cars travelling side-by-side and one driver firing a gun through the driver's window of the adjacent car. Another scene showed the young woman punching another woman in the face. The ad then featured some of the same violent scenes as ad (a), in particular, the severed hand, the car crashing into a group of people, the close-up of Nicholas Cage's eye socket wound, the man's charred body being blown away and the man being hit by a car at high speed. The ad featured a similar voice-over and similar on-screen text as ad (a) but also referred in voice-over to eye-popping 3D. Issue

Two viewers challenged whether the ads were offensive, because they featured scenes of graphic violence.

Clearcast said they had approved the ads after considerable discussion around whether or not the ads were acceptable to be broadcast at all. They said that they certainly felt that, because of the blood and gore featured in the ads, they should be transmitted with at least a post-9pm restriction and they ultimately decided on the heaviest restriction available, which was a post-11pm restriction. They felt that was an appropriate timing restriction, and that the ads were acceptable for broadcast after that time, because the violence featured in the ads was comic-book surreal and would be appreciated more by a late night audience than any other.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA noted that the ads reflected the adult content of an 18-rated film and had been given a post-11pm scheduling restriction. We acknowledged that the ads contained scenes of blood and gore that might be considered distasteful by some viewers. We noted that the film was intended to be seen in 3D by cinema audiences and the large on-screen text stating 3D and voice-over in the ads made that clear. We considered that some of the scenes, including the severed hand in both ads, and the flying axe in ad (a), had a three-dimensional feel to them because they showed objects apparently flying out of the screen towards the viewer.

We noted that the premise of the film was that Nicholas Cage's character had come back from hell to avenge the death of his daughter. We noted that both ads referred to a hell of a ride and that, although only ad (a) showed Nicholas Cage being shot in the eye, both ads showed him with an eye socket wound and ad (b) referred to eye-popping 3D. We considered that, although it was not explicit that Nicholas Cage's character was from hell, the fact that he was able to continue with his campaign despite having been shot through the eye at close range, suggested that his character was not human. We also considered that the scene showing the man with the charred body in both ads, albeit brief, also indicated that he was probably not human.

We noted that neither ads encouraged or condoned violence and none of the characters were obvious victims or underdogs. We noted that ad (b) included the word Dickless, and although this may have been considered distasteful by some viewers, we considered it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence, especially to a post-11pm audience. Whilst we understood that the violent images in the ads might upset some viewers, we considered that most viewers would be aware that more adult material was likely to be broadcast after 11pm and that the majority of post-11pm viewers were unlikely to be offended by the scenes in the ads. For these reasons, we concluded that the post-11pm restriction was sufficient and that the ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to viewers when broadcast after 11pm.

We investigated the ads under BCAP Code rule 4.2 (Harm and offence) but did not find them in breach.


30th June   

ASA Cures Religious Hallucination...

Church healing claims banned by the advert censor
Link Here

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint from Nottingham Secular Society president Dennis Penaluna.

The complaint concerned a leaflet produced by St Mark's, Woodthorpe, a Church of England church. It claimed that their god could cure anything: MS, Depression, Cancer, Fibromyalgia, Asthma, Paralysis, Phobias, Arthritis, or any other sickness.

The ASA has agreed that St Mark's was making unsubstantiated claims, and has instructed the church to remove references in its leaflet, to ... healing sickness and the list of medical conditions.


20th June   

Adverts Ripped Up...

Microsoft removes CD Ripping capability from UK adverts after action by the advert censor
Link Here

The UK advertising censor, the ASA has tackled Microsoft over CD ripping adverts.

Microsoft has been banned from promoting a potentially illegal feature in its Windows Media Player, CD ripping.

In March, the ASA took to task 3GA Ltd for its Brennan JB7, a CD player with a hard disk that stores up to 5,000 CDs . The ASA said the advertisement incited consumers to break the law , as format shifting breaks copyright laws in the UK - despite it being common practice.

A PC Pro reader noticed Microsoft was advertising the very same feature in its Windows Media Player software, and dutifully reported the ad to the watchdog to prevent anyone else from being incited into a life of crime.

In a letter seen by PC Pro, the ASA assured the complainant that Microsoft had agreed to change its ad and make clear that unauthorised use or duplication of copyrighted material is a violation of copyright law in the UK .

There was no formal investigation, as Microsoft agreed to change the advert immediately - and as that's the only punishment available to the watchdog, there was no point in pursuing the case further.

Microsoft continues to support CD Ripping in its Windows Media Player but notes:

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of copyrighted material may be a violation of copyright law in the United States and/or other countries/regions (for example, it is a violation in the UK). Copyrighted material includes, but is not limited to, software, documentation, graphics, lyrics, photographs, clipart, animations, movie and video clips, as well as sound and music (including when MP3 encoded). Violation of international copyright laws may subject you to significant civil and/or criminal penalties.


15th June   

Strings Attached...

ASA clears daytime advert referring to 'sex friends'
Link Here

A TV ad for the film No Strings Attached broadcast on More4 between 13.30 and 14.30 on 11 February 2011, during the programme Deal or No Deal . The female character said I need someone who's going to be in my bed, no strings attached and the male character replied I could do that . Two brief scenes showed the couple in bed together before on-screen text read CAN BEST FRIENDS ... BE SEX FRIENDS? .

One viewer challenged whether the ad had been inappropriately scheduled at a time when children might see it.

Clearcast said the only overtly sexual statement in the ad was text that read CAN BEST FRIENDS ... BE SEX FRIENDS? and that they had applied an ex-kids restriction which they considered appropriate to the content of the ad. They said they had no control over the final scheduling of the ad, but they understood it had been broadcast during the programme Deal or No Deal, which they did not consider to be a programme aimed at children.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Not upheld

The ASA considered that the ad reflected the premise of the film in which two adults, who initially attempted to maintain an exclusively sexual relationship, fell in love. We understood that some viewers would find the premise of the film and the reference to sex in the ad distasteful. However, we considered the ex-kids restriction was appropriate and concluded that the broadcaster had exercised its judgement in scheduling the ad correctly because it was unlikely to cause harm or distress to children under the age of 16 who saw it.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 32.1 (Scheduling of Television and Radio Advertisements) and 32.3 (Under-16s) but did not find it in breach.


10th June   


ASA bans church advert claiming healing via prayer
Link Here

A circular for the Revival Fellowship was headlined YOUR INVITATION TO COME AND SEE . Text on the back of the circular included After prayer, Russell was healed from a severe food allergy and Autism. He now leads a healthy and completely normal life , In 1984, Granville suffered another brain haemorrhage and died 3 times. After prayer, he came alive. He still lives today , Trevor & Leila were told that their newborn girl was 'incompatible with life' and would not survive. Impossible is possible with God , After tragically losing her only brother through drug addiction, Rachael was born again and healed of a broken heart and A severe car accident had Dan in agony for four years. He was instantly healed of a broken vertebrae upon baptism in water . Issue

The complainant challenged whether the circular:

1. was irresponsible because it could discourage essential medical treatment for serious medical conditions; and

2. exploited the vulnerable because it invited people to attend the meetings in the hope of receiving physical healing.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA acknowledged that Medway Revival Fellowship sought to promote their faith and the hope for physical healing by God through the claims in their ad. However, we were concerned that the testimonials, which included references to healing through prayer and baptism from serious medical conditions or injury such as autism , brain haemorrhage and broken vertebrae would be understood by its target audience, and particularly those who were suffering from physical illness or injury, as an invitation to attend a meeting in the expectation of receiving healing from that condition or its symptoms. We acknowledged Medway Revival Fellowships offer to include text in the ad making clear that it was their belief that God healed and that this should not prevent readers from receiving medical treatment. However, we considered that it would not prevent readers from interpreting the testimonials making references to physical healing in the ad as claims that were likely to set up particular expectations about the outcome of attending a meeting. We understood that believers had faith that God healed. However, we concluded that the references to relief or cure from physical ailments as presented in the ad were likely to mislead about the nature of such religious healing and could discourage people, and particularly the vulnerable, from seeking essential medical treatment for serious medical conditions

On these points the ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility), 3.1, 3.7 (Misleading advertising), 12.1 and 12.2 (Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products).


1st June   

The Mechanics of Censorship...

ASA bans advert for 15 rated The Mechanic from TV at anytime
Link Here

Two TV ads for the release of the film The Mechanic , featuring the actors Jason Statham and Ben Foster:

a. The first ad began with Jason Statham saying Do you know what a mechanic is? and showed him punching a man in the stomach, who was wearing a blood-stained T-shirt, and then running and shooting a gun at the camera. Ben Foster replied A hitman . Scenes from the film were then shown in quick succession including a man being hit over the head with a sheet of metal and a man being shot in the face through a window. Ben Foster then said I want to know what you know as the two men were shown jumping down the side of a building. Jason Statham replied Follow me . Further scenes showed Jason Statham firing a machine gun, a car being driven through the back of a bus and a bus exploding. Jason Statham was then seen talking on a mobile phone and saying I'm coming for you . More scenes showed Jason Statham disarming a man by breaking his hand, a man being speared through the calf, a man crawling across a road and being run over by a car, Jason Statham and a woman having sex and a metal bar being driven through a car window into a man's head. On-screen text and a voice-over both stated THE MECHANIC . More scenes from the film followed, including Jason Statham shooting a man off his feet and Ben Foster saying Nice , a man's head exploding when he was shot at close range, Jason Statham and Ben Foster firing automatic weapons into an upturned vehicle and a car exploding. On-screen text and the voice-over both stated IN CINEMAS JAN 28 .

b. The second ad was a shorter version of ad (a) and featured a man being speared through the calf, a man being shot in the face through a window, a man being run over, a man's hand being broken, a metal bar being driven through a car window into a man's head, a man's head exploding when he was shot at close range, Jason Statham and Ben Foster firing automatic weapons into an upturned vehicle and a car exploding.

1. Thirteen viewers challenged whether the ads were offensive and distressing, because they featured scenes of graphic violence.

2. Three viewers challenged whether ad (b) was inappropriate for broadcast during the programme Glee, when it might be seen by children.

Lions Gate UK Ltd (Lions Gate) said The Mechanic was a film about an elite assassin who formed a partnership with his apprentice. They said the film was rated 15 by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and said, because of the subject matter, it would be expected that marketing material would feature scenes of guns and violence.

Clearcast said the ads had been given a post-9 pm timing restriction for the level of violence portrayed. They said they viewed any number of similar ads every day and spent a lot of time ensuring that timing restrictions were consistent and appropriate. They agreed with Lions Gates belief that it was inevitable that some viewers would be offended, irrespective of the restriction applied, but said the 9 pm watershed was widely known to be just that by the vast majority of viewers. Clearcast said they stood by their timing restriction decision made for the ads.

ASA Assessment: 1.& 2. Upheld

The ASA understood that the ads were for a 15-rated film about an assassin which featured a series of clips from the film. We noted that the overwhelming majority of those scenes featured threats, explosions or extreme and graphic interpersonal violence in which Jason Stathams character seriously injured or killed other characters. Although we noted that ad (b) was shorter than ad (a) we considered that it contained a similar level of violence as ad (a).

We were concerned that the impact of the ads was heightened because the scenes were edited to feature mainly violence or jeopardy without any wider context and were presented in quick succession so that collectively they formed a sustained stream of violent imagery. We also noted that the violence carried out by Jason Statham was shown without any further consequences to him and that, in one of the final scenes, Ben Foster looked at Jason Statham and said Nice which we considered would be interpreted by viewers as condoning the serious violence that had been shown.

We acknowledged that the ads had been given a post-9pm restriction by Clearcast which would reduce the likelihood of offence being caused but considered that, for the reasons given above, they were still likely to offend or distress seriously some viewers after this time. We also noted that ad (b) had appeared during an episode of Glee and we noted from the audience index figures for that programme at that time that a significant proportion of the viewers were under 16. We considered that the ad was inappropriate for children and were therefore also concerned that a significant proportion of children had been exposed to the violent imagery.

We concluded that the complaints could not be resolved with a timing restriction and that both ads should therefore be withdrawn from transmission completely.


12th May   

Top Ten Adverts...

ASA publishes Annual Report for 2010
Link Here

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has just published their Annual Report for 2010.

The year saw the introduction of new Advertising Codes, assuming responsibility for video-on-demand ads, preparing for the extension of extension to online remit and a review of our processes.

The report reveals that ASA considered 25,562 complaints about 13,038 ads. 2,216 of these ad campaigns were censured. This was a 13% decrease on the previous year.

Looking back on 2010 ASA Chairman, Lord Smith says: Last year saw some landmark developments at the ASA, such as the preparation for our new online remit and the introduction of new Advertising Codes, which undoubtedly enhance consumer protection. Our engagement with consumers, industry and the wider public has been integral to us achieving this significant change.

The Annual Report also features the ever popular top 10 of complained about adverts:

  1. Paddy Power plc 1,313 complaints Not upheld

    Viewers complained that this ad, which showed a cat being kicked across a pitch by a blind football player, was offensive to blind people and could encourage animal cruelty. We felt the ad was surreal and light-hearted in tone and was unlikely to encourage or condone cruelty to animals or cause serious or widespread offence.
  2. Marie Stopes International 1,088 complaints Not upheld

    This TV ad offering sexual and reproductive health advice, information and services attracted complaints for various reasons, including that it promoted abortion. We felt it was clear that the advertisers were promoting their post-conception advice service and was neither advocating one course of action over another, nor trivialising the dilemma of an unplanned pregnancy. In addition to the complaints detailed above, we received over 3,600 other objections, some prior to broadcast and some via petitions.
  3. Department of Energy and Climate Change 939 complaints Upheld in part

    We received objections that this Act on CO2 TV and press campaign, which raised awareness of climate change, was misleading and scaremongering. We did not agree with the majority of the objections, but did uphold some complaints that claims in some of the press ads exaggerated the likelihood and impact of extreme weather conditions.
  4. Global Personals Ltd 420 complaints Not upheld

    A poster for attracted complaints that it implied extra-marital affairs were acceptable and desirable. It was clear that people found the concept of the website distasteful and immoral. However, we can only consider the content of the ad and not the service being advertised. We felt the ad itself was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
  5. John Lewis Partnership plc 316 complaints Not upheld

    This ad featuring a dog outside in his kennel on a windy and snowy Christmas day attracted complaints about irresponsible pet ownership. Complainants objected that it suggested it was acceptable to leave a family pet outside in cold conditions. We disagreed, and felt the ad did not endorse or encourage animal cruelty or neglect.
  6. HomePride Ltd 273 complaints Not investigated (previously not upheld in 2009)

    Both men and women complained about the gender stereotypes portrayed in this ad for an oven cleaner which claimed so easy, even a man can do it . We concluded the ad took a light-hearted and comical approach to its portrayal of traditional gender stereotypes, and was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
  7. AG Barr plc 204 complaints Not upheld
  8. Viewers objected to this ad which featured cute cartoon animals, cheery music and a Pied Piper type figure. Things turned more sinister when the animals were led to a butcher's shop. The ad already had a restriction which meant it couldn't be shown around programmes targeted at children, but we still received a number of complaints that the ad was offensive, irresponsible and distressing to children. On balance, we felt the ad with its existing scheduling restriction was acceptable.
  9. Cardell Media Ltd 185 complaints Upheld

    This mailing consisted of a torn magazine or newspaper page with a handwritten Post-it note, which stated Hi, I saw this and thought you'd find it useful - he's really good! J . Complainants objected that the mailing was masquerading as personal correspondence and challenged claims being made within it. We upheld the complaints and told the advertiser to change their approach.
  10. Unilever UK Ltd 154 complaints Not upheld/Referred to Ofcom

    Continuing their you either love it or hate it themed campaigns, Marmite ran two TV ads parodying party political broadcasts. Some complaints related specifically to the political aspect of the campaign and these were referred to Ofcom. Other objections related to racism, denigration and offence. We felt the ads were delivered in a light- hearted way and therefore were not in breach of the rules.
  11. SSL International plc 151 complaints Not upheld

    Complainants, who had seen this TV ad for condoms before 11 am and in the early evening, objected that it was offensive and inappropriate for broadcast when young children might be watching. We accepted that the ad might not be to all viewers' tastes, but there were no explicit sexual scenes or images. We considered its existing scheduling restriction, which prevented it from appearing in or around programmes targeted at children, was appropriate


5th May   

Fauning to the ASA...

ASA rejects complaints about scary O2 demon
Link Here

A TV ad promoting mobile phone deals, broadcast in February 2011, at different times throughout the day, featured a faun standing beneath a tree in a fantastical, pastoral setting. He said Welcome to O2's mind. What am I doing here? Well, they thought of me and here I am. Couples appeared in the background out of nowhere, along with the O2 Arena and some rubber ducks. The faun said Being here I get to see everything O2 thinks about and they think a lot about you. Take Mel. A woman appeared and the faun said Hi Mel. Mel's an O2 customer and O2 thought, what if Mel was out shopping around one day and she spots an offer for new customers that's better for the deal she's on? The woman was shown in a high street, and when the sky darkened, she looked angry and transformed into a demon-like creature with wings and horns. The faun said Oh dear! So, O2 thought, we'll make sure our existing customers always get our very best deals when they stay with us. The demon was then pacified and transformed back into the woman. The faun said And everyone can get O2 rewards. You see? They're always thinking of you. And me, apparently. The voiceover stated O2 we're better, connected. Issue

Eight viewers challenged whether the image of the woman transforming into a demon would cause distress to children and was inappropriately scheduled.

Telefonica O2 said that they had expected Clearcast to highlight any necessary restrictions or transmission times to minimise the risk that children would see any ads which might distress them. They said they had followed Clearcasts advice and there were no scheduling restrictions placed on the ad. They said it would never have been their intention to frighten or distress children at any time, regardless of any scheduling restrictions.

Clearcast said that the woman, who morphed from a swirl of dark smoke into a wicked fairy type with talons and fangs, was the kind of character who might appear in a fairy tale, childrens Disney film or pantomime and was, for example, similar to the ugly sisters in Cinderella. They considered that children were familiar with those types of characters and did not consider that they would find the brief shot frightening.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA understood that Clearcast had not applied a scheduling restriction to the ad. We noted that the transformation scene occurred in the context of a fantastical scenario and considered that it was dramatic, but not overtly frightening or sinister. We also noted that the woman quickly returned to her human state and appeared happy and content after the temporary transformation. Although we acknowledged that some very young viewers might find the theme unsettling, we did not consider that the content or scheduling of the ad was likely to cause distress to very young children.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 5.1 (Children) and 32.3 (Scheduling of Television and Radio ads), but did not find it in breach.


13th April   

An Underweight Whinge...

ASA dismisses nonsense about underweight fashion model in advert
Link Here

A national press ad, in the Times, for Miu Miu featured the model Kasia Struss sitting on a chair in front of a mirror, holding a handbag in her lap, and wearing a low-cut, sleeveless dress which exposed her arms, shoulders and de'colletage.

Two complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible, because they believed the model looked significantly underweight.

CAP Code (Edition 12) 1.3 Response

Prada Retail said that the model featured in the ad, Kasia Struss, was 23 years old and was regarded as one of the current top models. They said that Kasia Struss worked for a variety of fashion houses and had done so on a regular basis for about five years, and that it was clear from her portfolio, which they provided, that Ms Struss was naturally tall and slim.

Prada explained that the ad featured in its campaign for Miu Miu Spring Summer 2011 collection. The campaign was dramatic and high fashion and featured statuesque models posing in a mirror wearing its garments and accessories. Prada noted that to make the look more dramatic, Ms Struss' hair was slicked back and she was wearing nude make up with bright red lips. They said that the lighting used for the photograph bounced straight off Ms Struss' body so as to highlight her features and pale skin. Prada provided an alternative version of the ad which showed Ms Struss from the side and from behind as reflected in the mirror. They said that the image of her back and her frame clearly showed that she was not significantly underweight.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA noted that the model in the ad was slim, and that the lighting effects, make-up and low-cut dress emphasised her body shape. However, we considered that the ad was typical of those used for fashion products and that the model did not look significantly underweight. We therefore concluded that the ad was not irresponsible.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find it in breach.


9th April   


ASA ticks of CD player/hard disk combo adverts for suggesting that users could copy their CDs
Link Here

A national press ad, for a CD player with hard disk, included text that stated:

Good news for CD owners. The Brennan JB7 is a CD player with a hard disk that stores up to 5,000 CDs ... It saves space and clutter and delivers near immediate access to an entire music collection. JB7 owners rediscover then fall in love with their music again simply because the Brennan makes it so accessible. The Brennan also records from vinyl and cassette so you can enjoy your entire music collection but keep it out of the way in another room or retire it to the attic ... What's the point in owning hundreds of CDs worth thousands of pounds if you never listen to them? The problem with CDs is that it's quicker to make a cup of coffee than dip into a CD. Try timing how long it takes to pick a CD, load it in the CD player, play a snippet from a track or two, eject it and put it back where it came from. Then there is the problem of finding music. The print on a CD spine is tiny. What if the track is on a compilation CD? What if the CD is in the car? Then there is the clutter. You need to keep your CDs near the player or you won't play them. So you are forced to share your living space with hundreds of cheap plastic boxes. CDs are great but they are also inconvenient, inaccessible and a bit of a chore ... Key Points One button plays the entire collection at random ... Load CDs in about four minutes ... One touch record from vinyl, cassette or radio Loads and plays MP3 from USB ... Used by restaurants, hotels, pubs, dentists, schools Backup music to external USB for safe keeping ... .

A complainant challenged whether the ad incited consumers to break the law, because it was illegal to copy music without permission from the copyright owner.

3GA said the JB7 was one of a new generation of audio devices that offered the facility to load CDs onto an electronic memory to enjoy them better. They said they were not aware of any owners of the product being charged for, or convicted of, infringing copyright and therefore there was no evidence that the ad incited consumers to break the law. They said there would be no evidence of that unless there was a judgement against a JB7 owner. However, it was apparent from the number of such products available that that was unlikely to happen.

Assessment: Upheld

The ASA noted the product was a CD player as well as having a hard disk to store CDs and also record from vinyl and cassette. We also noted, however, it repeatedly made reference to the benefits of the product being able to copy music but did not make clear that it was illegal to do so without the permission of the copyright owner. We considered the overall impression of the ad was such that it encouraged consumers and businesses to copy CDs, vinyl and cassettes. In the absence of prominent explanation, we concluded that the ad misleadingly implied it was acceptable to copy CDs, vinyl and cassettes without the permission of the copyright owner. We also considered that the ad encouraged people to use the advertised product in this way and that, therefore, it incited consumers to break the law.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.10 (Legality) and 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising).

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told 3GA to ensure future ads for such products prominently stated that it was unlawful to copy material without the permission of the copyright owner.


7th April   

Update: Naked Prudery...

ASA whinge at skinny dipping advert in fashion catalogue targeted at university students
Link Here

Four full-page ads for Jack Wills clothing appeared in their 2011 edition of The Spring Term Handbook.

  • The first ad showed a young woman from the shoulders down who was standing with one leg raised and bent at the knee. She was wearing a shirt and a short skirt that lifted to show her upper thigh, buttocks and the lower section of her knickers.
  • The second ad showed a group of three young women and two young men beginning to undress on a beach. One of the men was removing one of the women's tops to reveal her bra.
  • The third ad showed the same group at a distance running out of the water wearing only their underwear.
  • The fourth ad showed a young man and a young woman embracing and kissing. The man was topless and the woman was wearing only knickers. The side of the woman's breast was clearly visible and her left leg was raised and wrapped around the man who was holding it in position. From the left of shot water was sprayed on the couple. Issue

Nineteen complainants objected that the ads were offensive and unsuitable for publication in a clothing catalogue that was targeted at and seen by teenagers.

Jack Wills stated that their brand was targeted at university students aged 18 to 22 years old and that all of the models featured in their catalogue (the 2011 Spring Term Handbook) were at least 18 years old. Their logo stated that they were University Outfitters and they advised that they drew inspiration from the hedonistic university lifestyle . They said their marketing was intended to project a positive, fun and sometimes flirtatious image which they believed was an accurate reflection of student life.

Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA noted that all recipients of the Jack Wills catalogue had confirmed they were over the age of 18, but considered that some under 18-year-olds might have viewed or received the catalogue.

We noted the images in the catalogue were intended to tell a fun, hedonistic and flirtatious story of university life and we considered that those images would be appealing to younger teenagers, because they portrayed a lifestyle to which they might aspire.

We noted that each of the images contained partial nudity and considered that the fourth image in particular went beyond what could be described as fun or flirtatious. Because we understood that younger teenagers could have both direct and indirect access to the catalogue and because we considered the fourth image in particular to be overtly sexual in nature, we concluded that the catalogue was sufficiently provocative as to present a risk to younger teenagers.

The catalogue breached CAP Code rules 4.1 (Harm and offence) and 5.1 (Children - harm and offence).

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