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ASA Watch


2011: July-Sept

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21st September   

Battlefield Whingers...

Battlefield 3 game advert cleared for slot during daytime football match
Link Here

A TV ad, for an 18 rated console game, was broadcast in April 2011. It included a rapid sequence of action scenes, in war scenarios. Characters held large guns and the scenes included gun fire, rocket fire, multiple explosions, tanks, helicopters and jets. Text on screen included 'THE BEST-LOOKING FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER TO DATE.' - DESTRUCTOID and 'BATTLEFIELD 3 IS UNNERVINGLY BEAUTIFUL.' - JOYSTIQ .

The ad was cleared by Clearcast with an ex-kids restriction, which meant it should not be shown in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children. Issue

The ASA received four complaints from members of the public, who saw the ad during a football match at 6.15 pm.

1. The complainants objected that the violence in the ad was offensive, in particular because they believed it glorified war.

2. Two of the complainants also challenged whether the ad was appropriately scheduled, because it was broadcast at a time when children might be watching.

ASA Decision

1. Complaint Not upheld

The ASA noted Battlefield 3 was a console game based in war scenarios, some of which included shooting and explosions, and that the action sequences in the ad reflected that. We also noted, however, the ad did not include any direct interpersonal violence and also showed some war situations that did not include any gunfire or explosions. We considered the graphics and the inclusion of captions from reviews, as well as the PEGI rating, made clear the ad was for a game and therefore viewers would understand the footage did not reflect real life.

We considered it was clear, particularly in the context of the other quotation on screen, that the text 'BATTLEFIELD 3 IS UNNERVINGLY BEAUTIFUL.' - JOYSTIQ formed part of a review of the product and viewers were therefore likely to interpret it as a comment on the quality of the game, rather than on war itself. We acknowledged some viewers might find the product, or the content of the ad, to be in poor taste but considered it was unlikely to be seen to condone real life violence or to glorify war. We concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

2. Complaint Not upheld

We considered the ad did not feature scenarios that were likely to have a directly harmful influence on older children; the sequences shown were clearly fictional and were therefore unlikely to cause harm to older children by condoning violence. Because it was based on war scenarios and included shooting and explosions, we considered the ad could cause harm to younger children but that the ex-kids restriction was sufficient to ensure the ad would not be broadcast at times when younger children would be watching TV alone. We considered the ad had been appropriately scheduled and the ex-kids restriction was sufficient.

On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 32.1, 32.3 and 32.4.8 (Scheduling of television and radio advertisements) but did not find it in breach.

 

17th September   

Offsite: Meet the Censors...

The Independent talks to censors from BBFC, IWF, ASA and Ofcom
Link Here

They have the power to ban a film, withdraw an advert or shut down a website. But how do Britain's censors decide what goes beyond the boundaries of good taste? Holly Williams meets the nation's moral guardians

Rebecca Mackay of the BBFC revealed"

We reject the granting of certificates very rarely. Fifty years ago, we were rejecting films that now we might classify as a '15'. Now, we're classifying things with greater potency, because shocking and offending is just shocking and offending.

Fred Langford of the Internet Watch Foundation revealed:

We also took on obscene adult content, so that's anything likely to deprave and corrupt -- which is quite subjective. Because of the shifting landscape, we only act when the content is potentially illegal, and a legal precedent has been set. We don't see ourselves as censors of the internet. If it's criminal offline, it's criminal online. Simply inappropriate content isn't within our remit.

There's no place for vigilantes searching for this content, but if a member of the public stumbles across it, they can report it on our website. The number of reports vary from 150 to over a thousand, though that would be an unusually busy day. We have four analysts and a hotline manager.

Louisa Bolch of the Advertising Standards Authority revealed:

More interesting is the stuff around taste and decency, and harm and offence. We ask, is this something the majority are going to find offensive? Or is this something which is going to offend a much smaller number of people, but offend them so much that actually when you weigh in the balance the advertisers' right to freedom of expression versus the amount of offence it's caused, you say it's too great. That's a really grey area -- we will discuss them for quite a long time. We don't withdraw adverts lightly; it's a serious business. The meetings can be really good fun, but there's a lot at stake. If it's not clear cut, at the end of the day we have a voting mechanism.

Alison Marsden of Ofcom revealed:

Ofcom isn't a censor; we don't have any powers before broadcast. We have to take into account freedom of expression -- broadcasters' and audiences' rights to impart and receive material. [...BUT...] The counterpoint to that is that, intervening post-transmission, we have some pretty strong legal powers to impose sanctions where necessary, so there is an incentive for broadcasters to comply.

...Read the full article

 

15th September   

ASA Ever More Easily Offended...

Minor innuendo pulled up by 3 out of a million visitors claimed to cause widespread offence by the advert censor
Link Here

An ad on www.car-supermarkets.com, viewed between April and June 2011, included an image of a woman who was topless with her breasts and part of her stomach covered by a black sheet. It was headlined You know you're not the first ... but who cares? . Further text stated Save a packet on nearly new cars, all under 3 years old. Many with just one careful owner ... . Issue

3 complainants objected that the ad was offensive, because they believed the image and the text You know you're not the first ... but who cares? was sexist and objectified women.

SaveMoneyOnCars.co.uk (SMOC) said they appreciated that there was at times a fine line between innuendo and sexism. However, they believed the ad was cheeky rather than offensive. They said the majority of visitors to the site, which had been over a million during the period the ad was displayed, had not complained. SMOC said the ad had therefore not caused widespread offence. They said that when the ad was created they had wanted something a little cheeky and tongue-in-cheek, with reference to previous times when ads that contained innuendo were popular. They said inspiration had also come from an ad for a car manufacturer. SMOC said the woman was clearly not topless and that part of her bra could be seen. They said the image was not gratuitous and showed less skin than could be seen in many other ads or on the street on a summer's evening. They believed the ad did not objectify women but used innuendo to refer to the past lives of cars and people; a car was still a great car even if it was two years old and people were not any less appealing as a result of previous relationships. SMOC said, however, the intention had not been to cause offence and they had therefore removed the ad and would not use it again in future.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA noted SMOC had withdrawn the ad. We considered, however, the image of the woman in the ad, and the text You know you're not the first ... but who cares? was clearly intended as a sexual innuendo, and was likely to be interpreted as suggesting that the woman had had several sexual partners. We noted the image, which appeared on a website targeted generally at members of the public who wished to buy a car, bore no relation to the product being advertised. We considered the overall impression of the ad, including the text Save a packet on nearly new cars, all under 3 years old. Many with just one careful owner ... , made a clear link between purchasing a product and women. We therefore considered the ad objectified women. We concluded that the ad, which objectified women through sexual imagery and innuendo in a manner unrelated to the product advertised, was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

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

 

14th September   

On the Brink...

ASA finds poster for the video game Brink to be too scary for kids
Link Here

A poster the video game Brink showed the head and shoulders of a man. His face was painted black and white and he appeared to be shouting or screaming at the viewer. Text, quoting a review, stated STICKS TWO FINGERS UP AT SHOOTER CONVENTIONS .

1. Forty complainants, who saw the poster in May 2011, challenged whether the ad was likely to cause fear and distress to children, especially because some posters were placed near schools and nurseries.

2. Four complainants, who found the ad offensive, challenged whether it was suitable for public display

1. & 2. Bethesda Softworks LLC (Bethesda Softworks) said the ad promoted a video game rated for an audience of 16 years or older and was designed to communicate the stylised character-driven feel of the game as it was best understood by its target audience of males of that age. They said the poster was part of a larger campaign that featured different characters and demonstrated the action and aesthetics of the game. They said the ad did not contain scenes of physical violence, guns, drugs, blood, distress or threatening behaviour and was cleared by their media agency and advertising company. They said, out of the 4384 panels displayed as part of the campaign, only 40 were within 100 metres of schools. They said they would work on the geographic focus of their targeting mechanisms to further limit the placement of future campaigns near schools. They said it was not their intention to shock or frighten people and believed there was nothing in the ad to cause offence, harm or distress.

ASA Assessment

1. Upheld

The ASA noted the target audience for the game was males aged 16 years and older and the poster was part of a wider campaign that featured different characters. However, we considered that, because the ad appeared in an untargeted medium, including on telephone boxes and bus shelters, it was likely to be seen by young children. We acknowledged that the ad was highly stylised and designed to promote the character-driven nature of the game. However, we noted a large number of complainants reported that their young children had been frightened and distressed by the image. We considered that, because the image of the man shouting or screaming had caused fear and distress to young children, it was unsuitable for display in an untargeted medium that parents of young children could not necessarily avoid. We concluded that the ad breached the Code.

On this point the ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.2 (Harm and offence).

2. Not upheld

We considered that, although some might find the image of the man shouting or screaming distasteful, there was nothing in the ad that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence. We concluded that the ad did not breach the Code on those grounds.

 

9th September   

Updated: Miraculously Easily Offended...

Christians and advert censors whinge at Phones 4 U advert featuring cartoon Christ
Link Here

Two versions of a national press ad for Phones 4 U on 21 April 2011 featured a cartoon-like graphical illustration of Jesus Christ grinning broadly and winking, pointing a finger with one hand and displaying a thumbs-up sign with the other. The Sacred Heart was featured on his chest. Headline text stated Miraculous deals on Samsung Galaxy AndroidTM phones .

Ninety-eight complainants challenged whether the ads were offensive, because the depiction of Jesus Christ and the Sacred Heart, the use of the term miraculous in that context and their publication during the Easter period were disrespectful to the Christian faith.

Phones 4 U said the ads were not intended to be disrespectful of the Christian faith nor were they intended to cause offence to Christians. They explained that their intention had been to run a press ad incorporating what they understood to be a light-hearted, positive and contemporary image of Christianity relevant to the Easter weekend. They said that with the benefit of hindsight, they understood and regretted any offence the ads had caused to some Christians and they apologised to anyone who was offended by the ads.

They explained that they had received some complaints directly and had promptly issued individual responses and apologies to those complainants. They said they withdrew the ads as soon as the negative reaction became apparent and confirmed they had no plans to run the ads again in their current form or in any similar form.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

The ASA noted that Phones 4 U had not intended to cause any offence and we welcomed their explanation that the ads had been withdrawn following the receipt of negative feedback. We noted that the ads featured a cartoon-like graphical illustration of Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity, and the Sacred Heart, a sacred symbol central to the Christian faith. We considered that, although the ads were intended to be light-hearted and humorous, their depiction of Jesus winking and holding a thumbs-up sign, with the text Miraculous deals during Easter, the Christian Holy Week which celebrated Christ's resurrection, gave the impression that they were mocking and belittling core Christian beliefs. We therefore concluded that the ads were disrespectful to the Christian faith and were likely to cause serious offence, particularly to Christians.

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

The ads must not appear again in their current form. We welcomed Phones 4 U's assurance that the ads had been withdrawn and would not be run again in the same or similar form.

Offsite Comment: Prawn Brained Censors

9th September 2011. See  article from  newstatesman.com by Nelson Jones

In the past few years, the ASA has been taking an increasingly strict, some would say humourless, line on suggestions of religious offensiveness. It has, for example, banned a series of ice-cream adverts featuring pregnant nuns and gay priests, and even one for curling-tongs which employed the slogan, a new religion for hair . One of the adverts deemed likely to cause serious or widespread offence triggered a mere six complaints. The decision led the National Secualar Society to accuse the ASA of surreptitiously re-introducing the blasphemy law.

At the very least, the ASA seems to have an alarmingly low threshold as to what constitutes offence where religion is concerned. An advert, it seems, need not be objectively outrageous; it's enough that someone somewhere might potentially take exception to it. The ASA's code, it is true, states that particular care must be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. But it does not explain why this should be necessary, and it's hard to see why advertising should be subjected to restraints that would be considered intolerable in literature, film, art or even television.

...Read the full article

 

11th August   

Whinger Given a Bloody Nose...

ASA dismisses complaint about advert for video game L.A. Noire
Link Here

A TV ad for L.A. Noire , broadcast at 7.35pm on 18 May, on Channel 5, showed animated scenes from a Film Noir-style computer game about a murder enquiry in Los Angeles.

A man said New case. White female dumped in the grass at the end of Hills Street. Hacks are all over it. A woman was shown stepping from a bus onto an empty street at night. She was then shown lying dead on the ground during the day, with two detectives standing over her. One said Blunt force trauma. A brief scene showed the woman being thrown onto the ground next to a car, at night. The ad cut back to the woman lying dead on the ground, and one of the detectives said I doubt very much he was concerned with her dignity. A brief scene showed a man hitting something out of shot with a large spanner, at night. The ad again cut back to the woman lying dead on the ground. A detective moved her head and bruises were visible on her face.

Further scenes included a detective with a gun searching a room, a detective firing a gun twice, and two cars next to each other speeding along a road with people firing guns at each other. Another scene showed a detective saying You give me something or I will break your jaw followed by a scene in which a man fell to the ground after being punched in the face. The game was rated 18.

The ad was cleared by Clearcast with a post 7.30pm restriction.

The complainant challenged whether the ad was inappropriately scheduled, because they thought the actual and implied violence was too explicit for broadcast at a time when children might be watching.

Rockstar Games said the ad used scenes from a video game and as such it was clearly fictional rather than relating to real events. They said any scenes with violence or implied violence related only to fictional digital characters, not real people, and the ad was therefore unlikely to cause any harm. They added that the ad could not have been said to have caused widespread harm or offence because the ASA only received one complaint out of an estimated total viewing audience of 33 million throughout the duration of the advertising campaign.

ASA Assessment:  Complaint Dismissed

The ASA acknowledged the ad contained brief scenes of violence and implied violence but noted that only one scene directly depicted violence between people. We therefore considered that, overall, the depiction of violence in the ad was of a low level. We noted that only a very small proportion of the viewing audience was under 16 and considered the possibility of younger children viewing the ad and being distressed by it was low. We also considered that the animated context would be unlikely to be perceived by older children to be representative of real events. We concluded the ad was unlikely to cause harm to children and had been scheduled appropriately.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Compliance), 4.1 (Harm and offence), 5.1 (Children), 32.1 (Scheduling of Television and Radio Advertisements) and 32.4.8 (Under-16s), but did not find it in breach.

 

10th August   

Fat Cat Censors...

ASA moralises about a tee shirt appearing on an American website
Link Here

The California company Zazzle Inc's website advertised a children's T-shirt in April 2011. It was labelled Nothing Tastes As Good As Skinny Feels Tee Shirt . An image of the product, which carried the slogan NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS SKINNY FEELS! , was included.

The complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and could cause harm to children, because they believed it implied being underweight was desirable and therefore might encourage children to develop an unhealthy body image and an unhealthy relationship with food.

Zazzle said they were a technology company that had developed a platform to allow an open marketplace for products designed by users. They said members of their marketplace were free to create and sell their own designs on products. Although Zazzle did not pre-screen content before it was uploaded to their website, the marketplace had tools to allow users to report products they found offensive or that otherwise violated their user agreement. They said the designs in question were created by a member or members of the marketplace. However, when they were contacted by the ASA, Zazzle had restricted the designs so they did not appear on children's clothing.

ASA Assessment Upheld

The ASA noted Zazzle had restricted the design so it no longer appeared on children's clothing. We also noted, however, that at the time the ad appeared, it featured children and promoted a product that was designed for them to wear. We considered an ad that promoted a children's T-shirt that carried the slogan NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS SKINNY FEELS! implied being underweight was desirable and that it might therefore encourage children to develop an unhealthy body image and an unhealthy relationship with food. Because we considered the ad could condone or encourage an unsafe practice or result in physical, mental or moral harm to children, we concluded that it was irresponsible.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility), 4.5 (Harm and offence) and 5.1 (Children).

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Zazzle to ensure future ads were not irresponsible and, particularly where they were addressed to or depicted children, did not contain anything that was likely to condone or encourage an unsafe practice or to result in their physical, mental or moral harm.

 

7th August   

Fueling the Nutter Fire...

ASA censor advert for the Fuel Girls appearing Wahoo Bar in Southampton
Link Here

A circular for Wahoo Bar in Southampton, distributed on 16 March 2011, featured a topless woman with the word Wahoo placed over each of her nipples, wearing a small pair of knickers Issue

1. Two complainants, who had received the circular through their letterboxes, challenged whether the images in the ad were offensive and unsuitable for a circular which could be seen by anyone, including children.

2. The ASA challenged whether the ad linked alcohol with sexual activity.

ASA Decision: Widespread Single complaint Upheld

1. Upheld

The ASA considered the image on the back of the circular, of the six women wearing underwear and walking towards the camera, was not explicit because the models were not topless, and there was nothing sexually suggestive about their poses. We considered that this image was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence in an untargeted medium where it could be seen by anyone, including children.

However, we considered that the image of the woman on the front of the circular with the word Wahoo covering each of her nipples was explicit and gratuitous as most of the woman's breasts were exposed. We also considered that the way in which she was pulling her knickers down on one side was sexually suggestive. Because of the explicit and sexually suggestive nature of that image, we considered that the ad was irresponsible as it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and was therefore unsuitable for an untargeted medium where it could be seen by anyone, including children.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).

2. Upheld

We considered that the image of the woman on the front of the circular was explicit and sexually suggestive. We further considered that the text The Fuel Girls. AS SEEN ON PLAYBOY TV! from the guys that bring you FRAT PARTY A NIGHT OF FILTH & FIRE! ... LIVE FIRE & STRIP SHOW! SEXY WET & WILD BAR SHOW. had sexual connotations. We noted that the ad also contained text regarding the alcoholic drinks that would be available on the night and their prices. We considered that by including those references to alcohol alongside the sexually suggestive image and text, the ad linked alcohol with sexual activity.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code rule 18.5 (Alcohol).

 

7th August

 Offsite: ASA and Ofcom: you're not worth it...

Link Here
We don't need quangos to protect us from misleading L'Oreal adverts or bad soap-opera storylines.

See article from spiked-online.com

 

6th August   

Gagged by ASA...

British advertisers stymied by the easily offended advert censor
Link Here

An ad for the Maxim Creative Group, in Retail Design and Technology magazine featured a photograph of a woman who had been gagged. Text stated MAXIMUM DOMINATION CONTROLLING YOUR RETAIL ENVIRONMENT...

A single [presumably widespread] complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because it was demeaning to women.

The Maxim Creative Group (Maxim) said the ad was not intended to be demeaning to women. They said the ad was a play on the words used more than the image. They understood that the readership of the magazine was exclusively adults.

ASA Decision: Widespread Single complaint Upheld

The ASA noted that the readership of Retail Design and Technology magazine was exclusively adult. We also noted that the images were highly stylised and that the woman was shown in a strong and confident pose.

However, we noted that the text in the ad made reference to domination and control and considered that readers were likely to interpret the use of such references in conjunction with an image of a woman who had been gagged to be demeaning to women.

On that basis, we concluded that ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

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

 

3rd August   

Moralist Advert Censorship...

ASA easily offended by bikini bus advert
Link Here

Seven ads, for a scrap metal dealer Eric France Metals, on the back of local buses in Wakefield, featured images of different women dressed in underwear. Each ad contained text stating KERCHING! GET MORE CASH FOR YOUR SCRAP AT ERIC FRANCE SCRAP METAL MERCHANTS .

a. One ad featured a woman wearing red and white leopard-print underwear and black shoes, lying on her side and propped up on one arm.

b. A second ad featured a woman wearing black underwear. She was lying on her back across some large metal nails with her legs straight in the air and her left hand draped across her chest.

c. A third ad featured a woman wearing blue underwear and white sandals. She was kneeling down with her legs apart and holding two metal bars draped across her shoulders. In the background, there was a muted image of the same woman in a different pose.

d. A fourth ad featured a woman wearing flesh-coloured underwear. She was standing upright and clutching some white-coloured strips of metal in her hands.

e. A fifth ad featured the same woman as ad (c). She was kneeling on all-fours and had her mouth open. There was a muted image of the woman in the background in which she was standing with her legs apart and holding two metal bars in her outstretched arms.

f. A sixth ad featured the top half of a woman wearing a pink and black bra standing upright. There was a muted image of the same woman in the background adopting a similar pose.

g. A seventh ad featured a woman wearing black satin underwear standing upright. There was a muted image of the same woman in the background in a similar pose. Issue

1. Five complainants challenged whether the ads were offensive, because they believed they were sexist and demeaning to women and noted that the images bore no relation to the product being advertised.

2. Two of the complainants challenged whether the ads were unsuitable to be seen by children.

ASA Decision: Complaints Upheld

1. Upheld

The ASA considered that the women featured in the ads were positioned in sexually provocative poses. We disagreed with EFM's argument that there was a sufficiently strong connection between the images and the product, and the target audience which was largely male heterosexual men. We considered that EFM's argument, that the image of an attractive woman in her underwear was a positive signifier of a good lifestyle to heterosexual men and was aspirational to women, was unconvincing and we failed to see a connection between the advertised product and the images. We considered that the sexually provocative poses of the women in the ads had the effect of making them appear sexually available. This was further heightened by the text KERCHING! GET MORE CASH FOR YOUR SCRAP AT ERIC FRANCE SCRAP METAL MERCHANTS which, alongside the images of women in their underwear, implied that the women were sexually available in exchange for cash from scrap. We therefore considered that the women in the ads were portrayed as sexual objects or commodities that could be purchased.

We considered that the images, which featured on the back of local buses, were as likely to be seen by women and children as heterosexual males and were not, therefore, targeted at a predominantly male, heterosexual audience. We noted that the ads were in an untargeted medium and were mobile. We considered that the images in the ads were large and intrusive, especially for drivers and passengers travelling behind the buses on which they featured.

We therefore concluded that the ads, which featured images of women in sexually provocative poses in their underwear and which bore no relation to the advertised product, alongside text KERCHING! GET MORE CASH FOR YOUR SCRAP... which implied they were sexual commodities to be purchased, were sexist and demeaning to women and were likely to cause serious or widespread offence in an untargeted medium.

On this point, ads (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g) breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).

2. Upheld

We noted EFM's argument that children's minds were not sufficiently sophisticated to infer any innuendo from the ads and that children would not automatically associate underwear with anything unpleasant. However, we considered that the ads, which featured women wearing underwear in sexually provocative poses, were unsuitable to be seen by children, regardless of whether or not children understood the sexual nature of the images and were socially irresponsible in an untargeted medium.

On this point, ads (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g) breached CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility).

 

27th July   

Blown Out of All Proportion...

CD Universe
ASA spout bollox about minor innuendo causing the 'widespread' offence of 1 complaint
Link Here

A banner ad for Pump n Ride inner tubes, on a website for bicycle accessories on 15 March 2011, featured an image of a woman wearing a black leather cap and studded leather bra, holding a length of rubber tubing. Text stated She might go down on you ... , followed by an arrow pointing at the woman. Further text stated These won't! , followed by an arrow pointing at a box of Pump n Ride inner tubes.

A complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because she believed it was sexist and objectified women.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA considered that the image of the woman in the ad, and the text She might go down on you ... was clearly intended as a sexual innuendo, implying that the woman may be willing to engage in oral sex. We considered that the ad objectified women and we noted FatSpanner's comment that a large proportion of its business came from women. Although in itself not normally an issue, we also noted that the image bore no relation to the product being advertised. We considered the unrelated sexual imagery had the potential to exacerbate any offence caused. We therefore concluded that the ad, which objectified women through sexual imagery and innuendo in a manner unrelated to the product advertised, was likely to cause serious or widespread offence when published on a website which attracted a large proportion of female consumers.

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

 

20th July   

Bum Decision...

Sponsore Melon Farmers vis Patreon
ASA easily offended by bottom cleavage lorry advert
Link Here

A poster for a metal recycling service, which was seen on the side of a lorry on 14 April 2011, featured an image of a woman who was kneeling on the floor with her back to the camera. She was wearing a pair of low-slung jeans that exposed the top of her bottom and her torso was covered only by a pair of braces.

Three complainants, who believed the ad was sexist and demeaning to women, challenged whether it was offensive.

Dalton Group Ltd considered that a small number of complainants had found the ad to be sexist and demeaning to women but they pointed out that the Code stated that ads might be distasteful without necessarily breaching the Code. They believed that other advertising, including underwear advertising, showed far more revealing images than had been shown in their ad. They did not believe that the complaints could be seen to demonstrate that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA considered that the image was not sexually explicit but that it was sexually provocative. We noted that the ad was for a scrap metal recycling company and that the image bore no relevance to the advertised service.

We considered that the provocative image, and in particular the focus on the woman's bottom, was likely to be seen as gratuitous and demeaning to women. Because of that, and because the image appeared in an untargeted medium and bore no relevance to the advertised service, we concluded that it was likely to cause serious offence to some individuals.

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


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