Melon Farmers Original Version

ASA Watch


2011: Oct-Dec

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7th December   

ASA's Brain Explodes...

Advert censor whinges at poster for Final Destination 5
Link Here

Two ads seen on 12 August: a poster in the Underground and another on the side of buses, for a cinema film release. Both ads showed a skull being shattered by steel rods being driven through its mouth and eye sockets. Text stated IT'S NOT IF, IT'S WHEN FINAL DESTINATION 5 .

Thirteen complainants objected that the ads, particularly the depiction of violence, were distressing and unsuitable to be seen by children. Three complainants pointed out that the bus ad had upset their children (aged between 1 and 3 years).

Warner Bros stated that they believed the poster accurately reflected the content of the film in an appropriate manner without causing excessive fear or distress. They said the image of a shattered skull and steel bars was a fantasy image and would be recognised as such by those who saw it. They said the ad was surreal and did not feature people, blood or display any real life or interpersonal violence. It was designed to appeal to the typical audience for supernatural horror movies rather than merely attract attention.

They stated that the dark grey and black colours of the advert were unlikely to engage the attention of young children and they believed young children would not recognise the image to be that of a skull and, consequently, the ad would not unduly distress such children.

ASA Decision: Complaints Upheld

The ASA noted that the image on the poster reflected the content of the film and that the image was animated and for a fictional movie. We acknowledged that the image was intended to give the public an idea of what to expect from the movie, and that the image was surreal and did not feature people, blood or display any real life interpersonal violence. We considered the image of the skull being shattered by steel rods being driven through its mouth and eye sockets was likely to catch the attention of children, especially because it was shown on a poster on the underground, where it was an untargeted medium.

Nevertheless, because very young children might view this ad depicting violence, it was likely to cause fear and undue distress to children.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.2 (Harm and offence).

 

30th November   

Has the Daily Mail Taken Over the ASA?...

Another cringeworthy PC decision from ASA finds Marks harmless lingerie advert to be overtly sexual and therefore banned from the side of buses
Link Here

ms lingerie advert

  " The pose of the woman kneeling on the bed was overtly sexual,
as her legs were wide apart,
her back arched and one arm above her head
with the other touching her thigh".

Two posters, for M&S lingerie, were seen on the side of buses in September 2011. Both featured two images of women wearing lingerie.

a. The first image was a close up of a woman lying on her side. The second image was of a women kneeling on a bed.

b. The first image was of a women lying on a bed with her legs slightly apart. The second image was of a woman sitting on a bed. Issue

  1. Nine complainants objected that ad (a) was offensive because they believed the images were overtly sexual and objectified women.

  2. Eight complainants objected that ad (a) was unsuitable for display as a poster on buses because the images were sexually suggestive and were likely to be seen by children.

  3. One complainant objected that ad (b) was unsuitable for display as a poster on buses, as the images were sexually suggestive and were likely to be seen by children. CAP Code (Edition 12) 1.34.1 Response

Marks and Spencer (M&S) said they did not believe the ads were offensive, overtly sexual or objectifying. They said the ads simply featured the product, a lingerie range, and that they were well known as a lingerie retailer. They said the ads were part of a major campaign for one on their sub-brands which featured both outerwear and lingerie images shot in a filmic and atmospheric style. They said that if the images were not suitable for use on buses they believed this would have been picked up by their internal clearance process. They also said the images had been used in their in-store advertising and decor and, according to their Retail Customer Service team, they had not received any customer complaints or comments regarding these. the pose of the woman kneeling on the bed was overtly sexual, as her legs were wide apart, her back arched and one arm above her head with the other touching her thigh.

Assessment Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that there was no explicit nudity in the images, and considered that it was reasonable to feature women wearing underwear in an ad for lingerie. We considered that the nature of the product meant that viewers of the ad were less likely to regard the ad as gratuitous and objectifying women. We considered that the pose of the woman lying on the bed was mildly sexual in nature, as not all of her face was visible and there was some emphasis on her breasts. We considered that the pose of the woman kneeling on the bed was overtly sexual, as her legs were wide apart, her back arched and one arm above her head with the other touching her thigh. However, although we recognised that some might find the ad distasteful, in the context of an ad for lingerie, we did not consider that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point we investigated ad (a) under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

2. Upheld

We noted the complainants' concerns that this ad, displayed on buses, was likely to be seen by children. We considered that most children viewing the ad would understand that the poster was advertising lingerie and, as such, the models would not be fully clothed. We considered that the pose of the woman lying on the bed was only mildly sexual in nature, and as a result was unlikely to be seen as unsuitable to be seen by children. However, we considered that the pose of the woman kneeling on the bed was overtly sexual, as her legs were wide apart, her back arched and one arm above her head with the other touching her thigh. We also noted that the woman in this image wore stockings. We considered that the image was of an overtly sexual nature and was therefore unsuitable for untargeted outdoor display, as it was likely to be seen by children. We concluded that the ad was socially irresponsible.

On this point ad (a) breached CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility).

3. Not upheld

We noted the complainants' concerns that this ad, displayed on buses, was likely to be seen by children. We considered that most children viewing the ad would understand that the poster was advertising lingerie and, as such, the models would not be fully clothed. We considered that the image of the woman sitting on the bed was not likely to be seen as sexual, in the context of a lingerie ad. We considered that the pose of the woman lying on the bed was mildly sexual, as her legs were slightly apart and her hands behind her head, but that, in the context of a lingerie ad, this image was less overtly sexual than the image in ad (a), and was acceptable in untargeted outdoor media likely to be seen by children. We concluded that the ad was not socially irresponsible.

On this point we investigated ad (b) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find it in breach.

 

26th November   

Sorry Kids, We Only Care About Supposed Sexualisation...

ASA prefer living in their own fairyland about 'widespread distress' and don't recognise real 'widespread distress' when they see it
Link Here

The advertising censors at the ASA have received 456 complaints from parents complaining that retailer Littlewood's festive TV campaign is upsetting children by revealing that Father Christmas doesn't exist.

The ad features young children performing in a school Christmas play who sing about who has bought their presents. They join in a chorus singing that it is their mothers who have done all the shopping.

Most of the complainants said that they wanted the ad to be rescheduled to a later hour when children are in bed. Some parents went as far as to say that their children were distressed to find out that Father Christmas does not provide presents.

However the ASA decided:

After careful consideration ASA council has decided that, as the ad did not make reference to Father Christmas or suggest Father Christmas did not exist, it was unlikely to cause distress to children and therefore we won't be launching an investigation.

Yes but if parents had told their kiddies that presents under the christmas tree were left by Santa then it gives the game away nevertheless.

 

25th November   

Full Control...

Mary Whitehouse would have been proud of ASA's ludicrous claims about Lucy Pinder Lynx adverts
Link Here

 Five internet display ads for Lynx Dry Full Control deodorant. The first four ads were video ads viewed on Yahoo, Hotmail, Rotten Tomatoes and Anorak in June and July 2011. The fifth ad was a static display ad on Spotify viewed in July 2011.

a. The first ad showed Lucy Pinder carrying out various activities including getting dressed, washing a car and eating an ice lolly. In each scene she was wearing different outfits all of which revealed her cleavage. On-screen text stated Can she make you lose control? Put premature perspiration to the test . Text at the end invited viewers to Play with Lucy and gave the web address www.lynxeffect.com.

b. The second ad showed Lucy Pinder carrying out various activities such as stripping wallpaper, jogging, applying lip gloss, eating whipped cream off her finger and playing with a light sabre. On-screen text stated What will she do to make you lose control? . At the end of the ad Lucy Pinder beckoned to the viewer and on-screen text stated Lucy Pinder [blank]ing makes me prematurely perspire .

c. Ad (c) was the same as ad (b) above but featured different on-screen text that stated Can she make you lose control? and Put premature perspiration to the test .

d. The fourth ad featured various close ups of Lucy Pinder's cleavage. On-screen text at the end of the ad invited viewers to Play with Lucy and gave the website address www.lynxeffect.com.

e. The Spotify ad featured an image of Lucy Pinder wearing underwear and bending over an oven door. Text stated Can she make you lose control? . The ad then reduced to a sidebar image of Lucy Pinder standing outdoors under a washing line in her underwear and a short shirt. The ad invited viewers to click through to watch a video. Issue

Ten complainants challenged whether ads (a), (b), (c) and (d):

1. were offensive, because they featured sexually provocative content and were degrading to women; and

2. were irresponsible, because they were inappropriately located on sites that could be seen by children, and could cause harm to children.

Six complainants challenged whether ad (e):

3. was offensive, because it featured sexually provocative content and was degrading to women; and

4. was irresponsible, because it was inappropriately located on Spotify where it could be seen by children, and could cause harm to children.

Unilever said their ads for Lynx often provoked diverse reactions and opinions, but that it was not their intention to cause harm or offence. Whilst they were confident that the ads complied with the CAP Code, they sincerely regretted any offence caused.

ASA Assessment

1. Upheld

The ASA noted that Unilever intended the ads to be a tongue-in-cheek take on the mating game . However, we considered that the various activities that Ms Pinder carried out were presented in a sexually provocative way, and that alongside the focus on Ms Pinder's cleavage, especially in ad (d), the ads were likely to be seen as gratuitous and to objectify women. We considered that was emphasised by the text Can she make you lose control? in ads (a) and (c), What will she do to make you lose control? in ad (b), Lucy Pinder [blank]ing makes me prematurely perspire in ad (b), and the invitation to Play with Lucy in ads (a) and (d), which we considered would also be seen as degrading to women. We therefore concluded that the ads were likely to cause serious and widespread offence.

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

2. Upheld

We noted that Yahoo had targeted the ads to men over the age of 18 years, and that 97% of users of their news channel, where the ad appeared in addition to appearing across their UK website, were over 18. We also noted that Hotmail had targeted the ads to males between the ages of 16 and 25, and that 94% of users of the Hotmail site were over 15 and 91% were over 18 years of age. Notwithstanding our concern in point 1 above that the ads were likely to cause offence, we noted that for the purposes of the CAP Code a child was someone under the age of 16 and considered that the ad was unlikely to cause harm to those aged 16 or over. We also considered that, because the ad was unlikely to be seen by those under the age of 18 on the Yahoo and Hotmail sites, it was not irresponsible on those grounds for the ads to be placed on those websites.

However, we noted that we had not seen evidence that showed what proportion of the users of the Rotten Tomatoes and Anorak websites were over 16 years of age. We understood that the Rotten Tomatoes and Anorak websites were not protected through age verification or other similar targeting, and therefore that the ads could be viewed by a wide audience. For the reasons given in point 1 above, we considered that the ads were unsuitable to be seen by children and could cause them harm, and that Unilever had not taken adequate steps in relation to those websites to ensure they were appropriately targeted. We therefore concluded that the ads were irresponsible.

On this point, ads (a), (b), (c) and (d) breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 5.1 (Children).

3. Upheld

We considered that the image of Lucy Pinder leaning over the oven door in her underwear was provocative. Whilst we noted that the second image of Ms Pinder wearing her underwear and a short shirt was less suggestive, we considered that, alongside the text Can she make you lose control? , the ad was likely to be seen as objectifying women and degrading to them. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence to some people.

On this point, ad (e) breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).

4. Not upheld

We noted Unilever's assertion that the ad was targeted to Spotify users over the age of 16, and understood that, on registering, Spotify users were asked to give their age and confirm whether they were over 12 years of age and had parental consent, or over 18 years of age. Notwithstanding our concern in point 3 above that the ad was likely to cause serious offence, we considered that the ad was unlikely to cause harm to those aged 16 or over. We also considered that, because the ad was unlikely to be seen by children under the age of 16, it was not irresponsible on those grounds.

On this point, we investigated ad (e) under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 5.1 (Children) but did not find it in breach.

 

24th November   

Tots Reading Tatler Warned Off Rail Tracks...

The ever more ludicrous ASA bans advert for unsafe photo shoot location
Link Here

An ad in the September 2011 edition of Tatler Magazine for the fashion retailer, Miu Miu, featured the young model/actress Hailee Steinfeld. She was sitting on railway tracks and looked as if she was upset and may have been crying.

  1. A complainant, who believed the ad showed someone who had been crying, objected that it was irresponsible because it was suggestive of youth suicide, especially because the ad could be seen by impressionable young people.
     
  2. The ASA challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it showed a child in an unsafe location.

Prada Retail UK Ltd said the ad was part of a serious, high-fashion campaign aimed at adult women. It was placed only in adult, high-fashion magazines such as Tatler.

Prada stated that the ad was not created to give this impression to anyone, or with the intent of depicting a child in an unsafe location. The campaign was photographed by well-known photographer and film maker, Bruce Weber, and featured the well-known American actress, Hailee Steinfeld who was nominated for an Oscar and BAFTA this year for her performance in the film True Grit . The photographs were shots of the actress in between takes of the film, while she was waiting for the next scene to begin.

1. Prada said Hailee Steinfeld was rubbing her eye with her finger, indicating that it was itchy or had something in it. This was one of the between takes shots in the campaign. Hailee Steinfeld was waiting for the next take of the film to start and, therefore, was not posing for the camera and was relaxed. She was acting in an unconscious manner. Prada stated this was natural for a person to do when they were not being watched. They stated that Hailee Steinfeld was not crying, nor had she been asked to cry or look upset. The ad pictured her with a wistful and thoughtful face.

2. Prada said the ad was photographed on an abandoned railway track in a foreign country. Hailee Steinfeld was sitting on the edge of the train track as if she was resting between takes of the movie on a hot day. They said the viewpoint of the ad extended along the railway track and it was clear that there was no train in sight. Prada said that she could have easily moved from where she was sitting because she was not restrained in any way. Because the ad was photographed on a redundant railway track in the ad, neither Hailee Steinfeld nor anyone else, was not placed in danger.

ASA Decision

1. Not Upheld

We did not consider that Hailee Steinfeld was shown looking in distress or that she had been crying. We noted that the ad had been carefully targeted and placed in a sophisticated, high fashion magazine with a predominantly adult readership and that the Miu Miu brand was not aimed at teenagers or young children. Because the ad was placed in a magazine with a mainly adult readership and it showed a stylised image of Hailee Steinfeld dressed in sophisticated 1940s style clothing we considered that readers of the magazine would understand that the image was sufficiently removed from reality and that it represented a staged fashion shoot. In that context, we therefore concluded that the ad was prepared with a due sense of responsibility and would not be suggestive of youth suicide to impressionable young people.

On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility), 4.5 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

2. Upheld

We noted Prada's comments that the photo was shot on an abandoned railway track and that Hailee Steinfeld was not in any way constrained to that position, and that the viewpoint of the ad extended along the railway track where there was clearly no train in sight. We noted that she could have easily moved from where she was sitting, that she was not running along the track, and she was not playing on it. We acknowledged that the ad was part of a serious, high fashion campaign aimed at adult women; and that it was placed only in adult, high fashion magazines such as Tatler, which was not aimed or addressed at children. Nevertheless, because the ad showed Hailee Steinfeld, who was 14 years of age only when the photo was shot, in a potentially hazardous situation sitting on a railway track, we concluded the ad was irresponsible and in breach of the Code in showing a child in a hazardous or dangerous situation.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social Responsibility), 4.5 (Harm and Offence) and 5.1.2 (children).

 

23rd November   

The Lynx Effect...

Addles the mind of advert censors and makes them see sexualisation wherever they look
Link Here

A poster for Lynx shower gel, in July 2011, featured a picture of a young woman standing beneath an outdoor shower on a beach. She wore bikini bottoms and clasped an undone bikini top against her breasts. Text on the right of the ad above a large picture of a bottle of the product stated THE CLEANER YOU ARE THE DIRTIER YOU GET . Text at the bottom of the ad stated VISIT FACEBOOK.COM/LYNXEFFECT AND GET DIRTY THIS SUMMER . Issue

The ASA received 113 complaints:

  1. 97 complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive because it was sexually suggestive, provocative, indecent, glamorised casual sex, and because it objectified and was demeaning to women;

  2. 71 complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it was inappropriate for public display, where it could be seen by children; and

  3. 12 complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it promoted promiscuity.

Unilever said the poster made use of the cheeky and humorous tone commonly used in Lynx advertising but did not believe the content was inappropriate. The image selected included nothing overtly sexual, suggestive or provocative and was not indecent. They acknowledged that the woman's bikini top was undone and that she was holding it to her chest but argued that that tied in with the light-hearted tone without the resulting image being materially more revealing than if it were not undone. The model was pictured on a beach, which linked to the TV ads, and she was not undressed to an extent that would be in any way unusual in that location. They had been careful to ensure that the model's expression, while reflecting the light-hearted tone, was in no way unduly suggestive, provocative or indecent. They said the overall feel of the campaign, the poster and Lynx advertising over the years was cartoonish and believed that it was unlikely to be seen as objectifying or demeaning to women or to cause serious or widespread offence on that basis.

Unilever said the strapline THE CLEANER YOU ARE THE DIRTIER YOU GET was intended as a playful innuendo and the key point stylistically was the use of the word DIRTIER in contrast to being cleaner as a result of using the shower gel. They said the strapline was not intended to convey any particular message about sex or sexual relationships in the real world and did not believe that it would be understood to do so.

ASA Assessment

The ASA previously considered two TV ads from the same campaign which featured a group of women in bikinis at a beach mimicking the behaviour of a man taking a shower, and which also featured the statement The cleaner you are, the dirtier you get in the voice-over and on screen. We had concluded that those ads did not warrant investigation. However, that decision was in part due to both ads having been given timing restrictions by Clearcast so that they could not be broadcast before 7.30pm and 9.30pm respectively and could not be shown during, or adjacent to, programmes likely to appeal strongly to children. Although we considered that those TV ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence we considered that the poster, an untargeted medium likely to be seen by a wide variety of audiences and age groups, needed to be considered on its own merits and outside the context of the wider campaign.

1.Upheld

We noted that the poster featured a woman standing under a beach shower wearing bikini bottoms and holding a bikini top against her breasts. While we considered that the poster was not graphic or indecent we noted that the woman's bikini top was undone and that the ad also included the statement THE CLEANER YOU ARE THE DIRTIER YOU GET . We considered that that statement, particularly placed next to a picture of a woman with an unfastened bikini top and reinforced by the statement GET DIRTY THIS SUMMER at the bottom of the poster, was clearly intended to imply that using the advertised product would lead to more uninhibited sexual behaviour. We therefore considered that the poster would be seen to make a link between purchasing the product and sex with women and in so doing would be seen to objectify women.

We also considered that the combination of the image and the suggestive text, in a poster on public display, was likely to be considered offensive by many members of the public, particularly those who were accompanied by children. We concluded that the poster was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point the poster breached CAP rules 4.1 (Harm and Offence).

2. Upheld

We noted that efforts had been made by Clear Channel to limit the locations in which the poster was displayed. Nonetheless, we noted that some of the complainants reported that they had seen the poster near schools and on their way to school.

For the reasons given in point 1 above, we considered that the image and the text were likely to be considered offensive and we were also concerned that a number of the complainants had had the ad pointed out to them by their young children or been asked by them to explain the meaning of the text. We considered that the suggestive nature of the image and the strong innuendo were not acceptable for public display where they might be seen by children and concluded that the poster was irresponsible on this point.

On this point the poster breached CAP rule 1.3 (Social responsibility).

3. Not upheld

We noted that 12 complainants were concerned that the image in the poster, and particularly the text were irresponsible because they encouraged promiscuity. We noted that many of those complainants had raised concerns about societal attitudes to casual sex, the prevalence of unwanted and underage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. While we took those concerns seriously, we noted that the poster did not feature a sex scene or refer to or suggest that unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners was desirable, or should be sought out. We concluded that the poster was not irresponsible on this point.

On this point we investigated the poster under CAP rule 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find it in breach.

 

23rd November   

Updated: Fanning a Moral Panic...

ASA turned on by a glimpse of thigh and ban Oh Lola! perfume advert
Link Here

A magazine ad for Oh, Lola! perfume which appeared on 5 August 2011, showed the actress and model Dakota Fanning, sitting on the floor, alone, wearing a pale coloured thigh length dress. She used one arm to support herself as she leaned backwards and in the other hand she held an oversized bottle of the perfume, which rested in her lap. The bottle was shaped like a vase holding a flower in bloom. Issue

Four readers challenged whether the ad was offensive and irresponsible as it portrayed the young model in a sexualised manner.

Coty UK said that they had not received any complaints about the ad. They did not believe the styling in the ad suggested the model was underage or that the ad was inappropriately sexualised because it did not show any private body parts or sexual activity. They believed the giant perfume bottle was provoking but not indecent.

Sunday Times Style magazine had not received any complaints. They did not believe that the ad was so sexually suggestive that it breached the Code. They said their publication was marketed to adults with an interest in cutting edge fashion and that any sexual connotations that may have been associated with the ad would be reduced because of that target audience.

ASA Decision: Complaints upheld

The ASA understood that the ad had appeared in publications with a target readership of those over 25 years of age. We noted that the model was wearing a thigh length soft pink, polka dot dress and that part of her right thigh was visible. We noted that the model was holding up the perfume bottle which rested in her lap between her legs and we considered that its position was sexually provocative. We understood the model was 17 years old but we considered she looked under the age of 16. We considered that the length of her dress, her leg and position of the perfume bottle drew attention to her sexuality. Because of that, along with her appearance, we considered the ad could be seen to sexualise a child. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and was likely to cause serious offence.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).

Update: No pandering to sexualisation nutters in Australia

23rd November 2011. See article from smh.com.au

The Australian Advertising Standards Bureau has rejected five complaints about an ad for Marc Jacobs's Oh, Lola! perfume, which features young actress Dakota Fanning (pictured) and references the novel Lolita, the story of a middle-aged man's sexual relationship with a young girl.

Despite the ad being banned in the UK for sexualisation of children, the board found the ad to be acceptable because Ms Fanning was 17. The board found the ad was not an image that sexualises young women .

 

17th November   

Updated: Narrow Minded...

Advert censor bans bikini adverts featuring slim model
Link Here

A website ad on www.iheartdropdead.com, for an online clothing retailer, Drop Dead Clothing , featured a model in a number of images, including in bikinis and denim shorts.

A complainant objected that the ad was irresponsible and offensive, because they believed the model was underweight and looked anorexic.

Drop Dead Clothing Ltd said the model was a standard size eight, as defined by the British Standard BS EN 13402, and wore an unadjusted size eight bikini in the ad. They said while many people in the UK may find a size eight too slim, a size eight was a normal UK clothing size and it would be unreasonable to consider a size eight model offensive. They said size eight was their most popular size.

Drop Dead provided the model's measurements and said that she might not have any fat around her ribs, but she had a bust, hips and healthy skin. They said the makeup used in one of the images may have given her the appearance of dark sunken eyes and a stretched pose may have made her torso look slimmer. They also supplied other photos of the model, which they said showed she was not emaciated and was perfectly healthy.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA considered that the model was very slim, and noted that in the bikini images her hip, rib and collar bones were highly visible. We also noted that in the bikini and denim shorts images, hollows in her thighs were noticeable and she had prominent thigh bones. We considered that in combination with the stretched out pose and heavy eye makeup, the model looked underweight in the pictures.

We noted that Drop Dead's target market was young people. We considered that using a noticeably skinny model with visible hip, rib, collar and thigh bones, who wore heavy makeup and was posed in ways that made her body appear thinner, was likely to impress upon that audience that the images were representative of the people who might wear Drop Dead's clothing, and as being something to aspire to. Therefore, while we considered the bikini and denim short images might not cause widespread or serious offence, we concluded they were socially irresponsible.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) but not 4.1 (Harm and Offence).

Update: MP with a thinking disorder supports ASA ban of perfectly healthy slim model

17th November 2011. See  article from  eveningtimes.co.uk

East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson, who co-founded the Campaign For Body Confidence says she is glad the Advertising Standards Authority has acted over the online images of Amanda Hendrick in a Drop Dead clothing advert.

Swinson said:

While Amanda is clearly a very beautiful young model, in this advert she is posed in such a way that emphasises her petite frame and makes her bones clearly visible.

Glamorising ultra-thin bodies in fashion ads can have a really damaging effect -- particularly on those at risk or recovering from eating disorders, so I'm glad the Advertising Standards Authority has taken action..

Drop Dead Clothing maintain Amanda is healthy and is not anorexic.

 

16th November   

Troll Whinges Dismissed...

ASA clear job advert for Troll Hunter in which 'christians need not apply'
Link Here

A teaser ad for the movie Troll Hunter , published in the job section of the Guardian , on 6 August 2011. The ad was headed TROLL HUNTERS REQUIRED . Text underneath stated APPLICANTS MUST HAVE EXPERIENCE OF HUNTING LARGE GAME, MUST BE COMFORTABLE WORKING INDEPENDENTLY AND AT NIGHT. TROLLS CAN SMELL GOD-FEARING BLOOD - CHRISTIANS NEED NOT APPLY. COMPETITIVE SALARY ON COMMISSION. LIFE INSURANCE AND COMPANY LANDROVER INCLUDED. APPLY NOW. VISIT [WEBSITE] . Small text at the bottom of the ad stated (c) Troll Security Service (TSS 2011) .

  1. Two complainants challenged whether the claim Christians need not apply , was offensive to Christians.

  2. One complainant also challenged whether the ad was misleading because it was not obviously identifiable as an ad for a movie and appeared to be a job ad.

Momentum Pictures said that the ad was a teaser for an upcoming movie. They said it took the form of a job ad recruiting for the fictitious role of Troll Hunters and was very much in the spirit of the upcoming film. They said that mythical stories about trolls told how they were able to smell Christian blood; a theme that featured in the film. They said that this theme was similar to that of the giant in the Jack and the Beanstalk tale who was able to smell English blood. They said that the text TROLLS CAN SMELL GOD-FEARING BLOOD - CHRISTIANS NEED NOT APPLY was meant in a light-hearted way, within the spirit of fairy tale tradition. They said that the campaign was amended online to read Trolls can smell God fearing blood, believers apply at their own risk , as a means of softening the message.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that the ad was intended to resemble a fictitious job ad recruiting troll hunters. We noted that the theme that trolls could smell Christian blood was a popular one and that it also featured in the plot of the film.

Whilst we acknowledged that the text Trolls can smell God-fearing blood - Christians need not apply might be distasteful to some, we considered that most readers were likely to interpret it as a light-hearted play on the fairy-tale theme of trolls being able to smell Christian blood. We therefore concluded the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility), 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

2. Not upheld

We noted that the ad was intended to mimic the style of a recruitment ad and we considered that readers would quickly realise that it was not a genuine job ad. We noted that the text Christians need not apply was preceded by Trolls can smell God-fearing blood . We considered that this helped identify the ad as a fantastical and fictional piece. We noted that the ad did not refer to a movie and that the website link in the ad had the word jobs in the URL. Nevertheless we did not consider that the average reader would follow the link expecting to arrive at a jobs website. Because of this, we did not consider that the ad was materially misleading in not explicitly stating that it was promoting a movie.

On this point we investigated under CAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising) but did not find it in breach.

 

11th November   

Distorted Censorship...

Advert censor bans Kopparberg cider advert claiming that the noise-pop club music appeals to under 18's
Link Here

A TV ad, on 29 June 2011, showed, in black and white, various people walking from the street down into an underground nightclub. Text projected on the exterior wall of the club stated FIND THE VENUE YOU NEVER KNEW EXISTED , text above the staircase into the club stated FIND THE DOOR YOU NEVER NOTICED . The ad then showed the dance floor of the club and various people dancing to music in slow motion amid flashing lights. Text projected on the wall of the club stated FIND THE CROWD WHO THINK EVERY NIGHT IS FRIDAY NIGHT . Superimposed text at the bottom of the screen stated Enjoy Kopparberg Responsibly . The ad then cut to a colour product shot of three Kopparberg cider bottles turning towards the viewer. On-screen text then stated PREMIUM CIDER KOPPARBERG FIND KOPPARBERG.COM . Issue

One viewer challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it was likely to appeal strongly to people under 18 years of age.

Cider of Sweden Ltd (COS) said all of the actors in the ad were aged 25 or over and that no one was seen drinking or holding a drink. They said the product itself did not appear until the end frame and was therefore disassociated with the nightclub scenes in the ad.

COS said the ad's target audience was over-25s. They said they had used photography featuring a gig with an undiscovered new band and had aimed the creative treatment squarely at an older, more mature audience. COS said the song featured in the ad was by a band called Sleigh Bells who they had chosen because their age range and target audience were over 25.

Clearcast said the ad's message was about trying something different and being alternative. They said the people featured were shown listening to great music and having a good time without the need for alcohol. They said they had made enquiries about the target audience of the band whose music featured in the ad and had received a CV from the band's record company that had assured them that the band's target audience were aged over 25 years. They pointed out that the ASA had received only one complaint, and believed that the ad did not breach the Code.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA noted that COS and Clearcast had argued that the people in the ad were not seen drinking and were not under 25, however we also noted that the BCAP Code required that TV alcohol ads must not be likely to appeal strongly to people under 18, irrespective of the age of the actors or how, if or when the product itself was featured.

We noted that the ad showed people walking through a back alley at night before going down some stairs into an underground venue where people were shown dancing in slow motion to a live band. We considered that that scenario was likely to be attractive to a range of viewers, but that a hidden venue where people were dancing to live music was likely to be seen as particularly attractive by viewers under 18. We considered that that impression was reinforced by the statements projected on the walls outside and inside the venue and particularly the statement FIND THE CROWD WHO THINK EVERY NIGHT IS FRIDAY NIGHT which we considered conveyed the message that viewers should seek out fun and excitement at every opportunity, and was likely to enhance the appeal of the scenario to an under 18 audience.

We noted that the music featured was a song by an American noise-pop band called Sleigh Bells and we considered that the heavy baseline and distorted female vocals, were also likely to draw the attention of viewers under 18 and we were also concerned that the song itself was called Kids . We noted that COS had argued that they had chosen the band specifically because their target audience were aged over 25 and we understood, from the Spotify and MySpace data that the band's primary audience were of around that age. We noted however, particularly from the MySpace data, that the band did still have a following amongst under-18s, albeit a less extensive one, and therefore did still have an attraction for that age group.

We concluded that the overall impression of the scenario and music combined was one that was likely to appeal strongly to people under 18 and was irresponsible.

The ad breached BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social Responsibility) and 19.15.1 (Rules that apply to alcohol advertisements).

 

10th November   

Lightweight Whinges...

ASA reject complaints about HM TV fashion advert
Link Here

A H&M TV ad in the series "Girls on Film" featured a female model wearing a jacket and high heels, striking different poses for the camera.

Nine complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive and harmful because they believed:

  1. the model looked unhealthily thin; and
  2. could give an unrealistic idea of a desirable body image to children and younger viewers.
  3. One complainant, who believed that the ad could cause unhealthy eating habits in vulnerable people, in an attempt to look like the model shown, challenged whether the ad was socially irresponsible.

Clearcast said the ad mostly showed the model's legs. They said, although her legs were long and slim, she did not look unhealthy or emaciated. They said it was clear that the ad promoted the attractiveness of the coat and its low price and did not imply that viewers should attempt to look like the model.

ASA decision: complaints 1, 2 & 3 Not upheld

We welcomed H&M's assurance that they would take the complaints into consideration for their future advertising campaigns. We acknowledged that the model was slim and wore a short coat and high heeled shoes, which emphasised the length and slimness of her legs. However, we considered the ad was typical of those used for fashion products and that the model did not appear too thin for her frame, nor did she look unhealthy or emaciated. We noted the ad showed the model striking various poses in the coat and that on-screen text stated 24.99. We considered most viewers, including young children and women, would interpret the ad as promoting the design and price of the coat, rather than a desirable body image. We also considered viewers were unlikely to interpret the ad as encouraging unhealthy eating habits in vulnerable people, in an attempt to look like the model.

We considered that the ad was unlikely to be seen as irresponsible, or cause harm or serious or widespread offence. We concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.

We investigated the point under BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence).

 

2nd November   

Lightly Blue Dolce and Gabbana Advert...

ASA dismisses complaint about passionate embrace and untied bikini knot on outdoor digital poster
Link Here

A digital poster near Westfield shopping centre in west London, for Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Fragrance, viewed on 17 July 2011, featured a man and woman in swimwear emerging from the sea. They kissed passionately and the man began to undo the woman's bikini top. A clapperboard appeared in front of the couple and obscured them from view. The ad cut to a long shot of the couple embracing by the sea, and an image of the product appeared. Throughout the ad a still image to the right of the screen pictured the product.

A complainant challenged whether the sexual content in the ad was offensive and unsuitable for an untargeted medium that could be seen by children.

This was considered under the rule CAP Code (Edition 12) 1.34.1. This edition of the rules is before the new restrictive censorship guidelines have come into effect to appease the sexualisation lobby.

P&G Prestige Products said the ad was a small part of an extensive print and TV advertising campaign. They said the digital poster had been cleared by Clearcast to be broadcast on TV, with an ex-kids restriction. They said that a similar TV ad, also given an ex-kids restriction, had resulted in one complaint to the ASA, but it was found that it did not breach the BCAP Code. P&G said that an overview of the entire campaign showed that it was not based on shocking viewers with overtly and unacceptably sexual imagery. They believed the campaign as a whole was prepared and executed responsibly, in line with sector norms, and that it was most unlikely to cause harm or offence.

P&G said they were mindful of societal concerns about sexualised imagery in outdoor advertising. Nonetheless, although the ad was sensual, they thought it fell short of the elements of sexuality seen in other ads which had had complaints upheld against them in relation to harm and offence.

ASA Decision: Complaint not upheld

The ASA acknowledged the ad showed the man undoing the knot of the woman's bikini top, but noted that there was no explicit nudity. We also acknowledged that, although the couple kissed passionately, there was no explicit sexual content. We noted that the majority of people who walked past the digital poster site were over 16 years old, and considered that any young children in that location would be accompanied by adults. We also considered the ad was unlikely to particularly attract the attention of young children.

We acknowledged the ad would not be to everyone's taste, but we considered that, because it contained only a low level of nudity and limited sexual content, the ad was not irresponsible and it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.

 

19th October   

Pixel Fixated Censors...

ASA whinges at Duke Nukem Forever advert featuring pixellated cartoon strippers
Link Here

A TV ad, for the computer game Duke Nukem Forever , seen in June 2011, featured animated scenes which included naked women pole dancing in a strip club and a full frontal view of a woman wearing only thong-style pants. Pixilation obscured the women's bottoms and nipples. It also showed two girls in the club, who were dressed in school uniform and had their hair in bunches, and were about to kiss. Those scenes were intercut with quickly edited scenes of action, including aircraft firing weapons over a blazing city, a character being punched and a robot marching through a street. Issue

Thirty-four viewers, who saw the ad after 9pm, challenged whether it was offensive and irresponsible, because it was sexist, violent and overly explicit and included imagery which was likely to harm children and vulnerable people.

Take Two said that Duke Nukem Forever was a cartoonish, over-the-top, humorous take on the first person shooter videogame genre and deliberately distanced itself from the ultra realistic, graphic modern war games that dominated the field. They said any sexual content and violence was presented in an exaggerated, non-realistic way, by animated characters, in an attempt to send up the main protagonist Duke Nukem, who could be seen as something of a 1980s, muscle-bound, ultra-macho figure of fun. They said that all content was actual game footage and the game had been rated 18 by the BBFC.

They did not believe the ad contained any content that would cause the type of harm referred to under the Code, nor content that would cause serious offence. They said the content was clearly fictional and the ad used computer-generated characters from the game's storyline and from game play. They felt that the combat scenes were no more violent than viewers would expect, or those from action films broadcast at that time.

Clearcast acknowledged that the ad contained sexual imagery and violent images but felt the content was of a level similar to that approved for other video games, film trailers and similar ads. They felt the violent scenes were relatively restrained and were no worse than many others in that category. They believed the post-9pm timing restriction was appropriate given the content and felt it would keep the ad away from most young viewers.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

Although we understood that neither the game nor the ad would appeal to all tastes, we noted the scenes were representative of the game's content and did not consider that the violent imagery was overly graphic for broadcast after 9pm. We therefore considered that the scenes featuring action and violence were not at a level likely to distress or cause harm to children or vulnerable people.

We noted that the ad also contained several scenes in a strip club, featuring women who appeared naked, or nearly naked, pole dancing and gyrating. We noted that some pixilation obscured the women's bottoms and nipples, but nonetheless considered that the presentation of the women's naked bodies and their very sexual movements and gyrations were overly sexually explicit for an ad with a post-9pm scheduling restriction. We also noted that the ad featured two girls in school kilts and bunches about to kiss, and considered that, in the context of other scenes with sexual content, the ad appeared to link teenage girls with sexually provocative behaviour.

On that basis, although we did not consider that the images of violence were likely to distress or cause harm to children or vulnerable people and although we did not consider that the portrayal of the women in the ad was overtly sexist, because we considered that the sexual imagery and content in the strip club scenes were overly explicit for broadcast at that time, we concluded that the ad was irresponsible and likely to cause serious or widespread offence when broadcast before 11pm.

The ad breached BCAP Code Rules 1.2 (Responsible advertising), 4.1, 4.2 and 4.9 (Harm and offence).

 

18th October   

Legal, Honest and Truthful Maybe, But Who Wants 'Decent'?...

ASA's new remit for online advertising generates a significant number of extra complaints
Link Here

ASA extended their advert censorship remit into online advertising in March 2011.

Seven months on what's the story so far?

The data reveals that complaint levels have been substantially above those forecasted. The ASA is said to have its hands full dealing with the number of complaints.

Between 1 March and 23 September 2011, the ASA received:

  • 5,531 complaints about 5,165 ads/campaigns (cases) under the new remit. This is 30% of the total of 18,369 complaints to ASA in this period
  • 86% of the cases under the new remit related to misleading advertising claims (compared to 65% for all cases in 2010).

What has prompted the complaints?

In terms of the new remit, the most complained-about sector is complementary health, in the main because it has been targeted by orchestrated complaint campaigns. But on the whole the subject of the complaints and the sectors about which complaints have been raised are similar to those about ads in other media: concerns around pricing, availability and the performance of products in sectors like retail, leisure, computers and telecommunications and holidays and travel.

In the vast majority of cases website owners who have been contacted by the ASA have amended or removed problem claims.

However some advertisers have continued to make problem claims on their sites, despite the initial intervention of CAP's Compliance teams. These have now been posted on the ASA's name and shame section for non-complying digital advertisers.

 

16th October   

Updated: Desexualisation...

New ASA advertising guidelines would make Saudi Arabia proud
Link Here
Full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report

Miserable new advertising rules have been revealed to further restrict public billboard adverts.

Some sexy advertising hoardings will be banned from public display altogether, while any put up within 100 yards of schools will have to pass even stricter new codes designed to remove supposedly sexualised imagery.

The move means clothing and perfume companies particularly face further restrictions on how they promote their products in the new guidelines from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The move comes ahead of a Downing Street summit this week between David Cameron and sexualisation campaigners. Banning sexy billboard adverts near schools was one of a number of recommendations made in May this year following a Government-commissioned review by Reg Bailey, chief executive of the Mothers' Union.

Billboards will still be allowed to carry posters of models wearing bikinis, they will not be allowed to show them in poses that are deemed to be sexually suggestive. This will cover everything from images of stockings and suspenders to poses where the legs are parted or even hands are placed on hips.

Posters which show sexually suggestive pictures will be subject to placement restriction , and the guidelines warn this could include images where a couple are fully clothed, but in a passionate clinch . Overtly sexual images will not be acceptable for any use in public. This could include ads which draw undue attention to body parts, such as breasts or buttocks, in a sexual way , the ASA warns.

Bailey, claimed the move was a crucial step in trying to reduce children's exposure to indecent images and curbing the rise in consumerism:

Now more than ever we need to look at ourselves as a society and at all the things that give value to our lives. What we are seeing is that companies are concentrating their energies on working together to change industry practices and ultimately create a more family friendly society. I hope this is the start of getting children to see themselves as rounded human beings rather than just as consumers.

A spokesman for the Advertising Association said:

All advertising has to take account of what society thinks is decent. We're giving the recommendations our full support.

Update: UK ASA now more prudish than South Africa ASA

16th October 2011. See  article from  bizcommunity.com

Commenting on the ASA UK statement, Gail Schimmel, director of Clear Copy, a South African marketing regulation advisory service, said:

The South African ASA has been fairly permissive in the imagery that it allows on outdoor advertising. It will be interesting to see if a change in the international approach has any effect on how the local ASA considers these matters.

She adds that certain images identified by the UK ASA as unacceptable are images that the South African ASA would allow. I would be sorry to see a move towards an overly conservative approach, but we also have to remain in touch with the acceptable norms of the rest of the world.

 

14th October   

Update: Desexualised Advertising Rules...

New ASA advertising guidelines banning anything sexy for outdoor adverts
Link Here
Full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report

Advertising censors at the ASA have provided examples of new rules to pander to those blaming all of society's ills on sexy images in the media.

Suitable for all outdoor locations.

Images that are not sexual, or no more than mildly sexual

Example. The model is wearing a bikini and holding a pose which is unlikely to be considered to be sexually suggestive. Images in outdoor ads similar to these are likely to remain acceptable on the basis that they are no more than mildly sexual.

asa suitable but not near schoolsSuitable for outdoor locations but not near schools

Images that are sexually suggestive

The woman is shown with her legs astride, drawing attention to her groin area.

Such images in ads might be acceptable in some locations but are likely to require a placement restriction, preventing them from being placed in locations of particular relevance to children.

Unacceptable for outdoor advertising

Overtly sexual images

Some advertisements may not be suitable for general outdoor display, irrespective of a placement restriction. The woman in lingerie pulls down the side of her knickers and bra strap in an overtly sexual and seductive way.

Advertisers should be particularly cautious about the imagery they use to advertise gentlemen's clubs or sex shops because the ASA consider that the public responds differently to those images in light of the product or service offered rather than the content of the advert.

The ASA also list some of the characteristics that may be sexually suggestive or overtly sexual:

  • Poses suggestive of a sexual position: the parting of the legs, accentuation of the hip etc.
  • Amorous or sexually passionate facial expressions
  • Exposure of breasts, including partial
  • Poses such as hands on the hips, gripping of hair in conjunction with a sexually suggestive facial expression
  • Images of touching oneself in a sexual manner, such as stroking the legs or holding/gripping the breasts
  • Suggestion in facial or bodily expression of an orgasm
  • Images of suggestive undressing, such as pulling down a bra strap or knickers
  • Ads which draw undue attention to body parts, such as breasts or buttocks, in a sexual way
  • Ads which show people in poses emulating a sexual position or alluding to sexual activity
  • Overtly sexual lingerie such as stockings, suspenders or paraphernalia such as whips and chains.

 

6th October   

Insuring Stifled Creativity...

The ever more ludicrous ASA get easily offended by model hiding her breasts with cameras
Link Here

An ad in Amateur Photographer magazine for the specialist multimedia insurer Aaduki, in July 2011, was headlined Confused and don't know where to look? . Underneath was a picture of a woman wearing only men's boxer briefs and holding a D-SLR camera to each breast.

A complainant, who believed the ad was sexist and degrading to women, challenged whether the ad was offensive.

Versatile Insurance Professionals Ltd said Aaduki were well known in the photographic market for the Aaduki Boys , a group of male models used to advertise the brand at exhibitions and conventions and who also featured heavily in their marketing campaigns. They said they had run a series of ads across the specialist photographic press featuring the male models in their trademark blue shorts, which were designed to amuse the reader with tongue in cheek innuendo much like the Carry On films from the 1970s. Versatile provided copies of the ads in the series, which they believed were suggestive and naughty without being obscene.

Versatile said the idea behind the Confused and don't know where to look ad? was that they now had a girl wearing the blue shorts instead of a boy, and aimed to engage the male photographer that did not normally find their ads attractive. Versatile said they did not believe the ad was sexist or degrading to women, and pointed out that many photographic magazines featured female models, some of whom would be completely naked and a large number of whom would be topless.

ASA Decision

The ASA considered that the image of the woman wearing only boxer briefs and holding a D-SLR camera to each breast was provocative. We noted that the ad was for multimedia insurance, and that the image bore no relation to the advertised service. We considered that the image was likely to be seen to degrade women by linking their physical attributes to that of the cameras, and concluded that the ad had the potential to cause serious offence to some people.

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


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