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ASA Watch


2013: Oct-Dec

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Conjuring up an estimate of widespreadness of offence...

ASA dismisses whinges about TV trailers for The Conjuring being a bit scary for kids


Link Here 21st December 2013
The ASA doesn't seem to have much to go on with tiny amount of complaints , often just one. Yet it is quick to claim the ability to be able to say how 'widespread' the offence is for a particular advert. The censor is quick to say that just one complaint is enough to show widespread offence yet in this case the censor arbitrarily says that 13 complaints doesn't indicate widespread offence.

Seven TV ads for the cinema release of the Conjuring, a certificate 15 film:

  • a. The first ad featured a tolling bell throughout. Scenes included a girl being invisibly pulled down a bed, a screaming woman lying face down on the floor holding on to a door frame, a girl looking up a dark staircase and a woman lighting a match and screaming when a pair of clapping hands suddenly appeared behind her. Dialogue from the film featured in the ad included It's latched itself to your family and it's feeding off you , Look what she made me do , I see the dark entity that haunts your house , What we have here is something inhuman and It's something that's never walked the earth .
  • b. The second ad was interspersed with shots of a cinema audience watching and reacting to the film with screams, covering their faces and looking shocked. The ad featured the woman on the floor and the girl being pulled down the bed, as well as a woman being violently pushed into a closed door, a scary doll's face and the sound of a giggling child. Dialogue included Something awful happened here , Look what she made me do and Oh God! . Menacing music built to a crescendo.
  • c. The third ad included the scenes of a woman lighting a match and screaming when a pair of clapping hands suddenly appeared behind her and being violently pushed into a closed door. A woman was heard screaming for help.
  • d. The fourth ad, which lasted 10 seconds, featured a young girl screaming, the woman lighting a match and screaming when a pair of clapping hands appeared, the girl being pulled down the bed and the woman on the floor.
  • e. The fifth ad had menacing music with sound effects, brief shots from the film including a worried looking woman. Dialogue included Something awful happened here , Look what she made me do , You have a lot of spirits here and When the music stops, you see him standing in the mirror behind you .
  • f. The sixth ad was the same as ad (e), but had text stating In Cinemas Now rather than In Cinemas August 2 .
  • g. The seventh ad, which lasted 10 seconds, featured loud menacing music, a scene of flying bats and a bat crashing into a car windscreen, and a frightened young girl sitting on a bed. Dialogue included You have a lot of spirits here and It's feeding off you .

Ads (a), (b), (c) and (d) were cleared by Clearcast with a post 7.30 pm restriction.

Ads (e), (f) and (g) were cleared by Clearcast with an ex-kids restriction, which meant they should not be shown in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children.

Thirteen viewers challenged whether the ads were inappropriately scheduled and unsuitable before 9 pm. Three of the complainants said their children, aged between six and eleven, were frightened by ads (a), (b) and (f).

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted ads (e) and (f) included an element of tension created by both the music and the dialogue from the film, but the scenes were nonetheless brief and did not show any violence or specific threat. Ad (g) featured more dramatic and menacing music, but other than the scene of a bat hitting a car windscreen, which was sudden and unexpected, the ad did not feature any graphic or threatening scenes or dialogue. We noted a restriction had been applied to ads (e), (f) and (g) which would prevent them from being broadcast in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children. We acknowledged that some viewers found the ads unsuitable for broadcast when their children were watching during other periods of the daytime, but concluded that the ex-kids restriction was nonetheless sufficient for those ads.

Ads (a), (b), (c) and (d), which had post 7.30 pm restrictions, contained noticeably stronger scenes from the film and the atmosphere of tension and fear was undoubtedly heightened, with scenes of a woman screaming, a girl being pulled down a bed, a woman lying on the floor holding on to a door frame and a pair of clapping hands suddenly appearing. However, although we noted some adult viewers were unsettled or disturbed by the ads and sympathised with their reaction, we nonetheless considered that the ads did not go beyond what viewers would normally expect from ads promoting a 15-certificate horror film and broadcast after 7.30 pm. We considered that the restriction was also sufficient to ensure that the ads would not be broadcast when young children, who might be distressed by them, would be watching. We noted some older children had been upset by ads (a) and (b) but, although we sympathised, their reaction to the ads did not appear to be widespread.

We concluded that all the ads (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g) had been appropriately scheduled.

We investigated the ads under BCAP Code rules 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence), 5.1 (Children) and 32.3 (Scheduling), but did not find them in breach.

 

 

Clock That!...

Advert censor surprisingly turns down complaint about underwear models being used to sell computer monitors


Link Here20th December 2013

A website, for a company selling electrical products, Overclockers UK, featured three ads marketing different monitors:

  • a. Showed a female model lying on her back, legs intertwined, looking upwards towards the camera. She was wearing revealing lingerie with a tight open cut jacket, exposing her underwear and cleavage area.

  • b. Showed a female model lying on her side looking into the camera. She was leaning her head onto her left arm, whilst her right arm rested on her body. She was wearing a see-through negligee, where her knickers were visible and her upper body partially exposed.

  • c. Showed a female model in a bikini sitting on the beach. She had her back to the camera, but with her head to the side and was looking into the camera Issue

The complainant, who considered the images were sexist and demeaning to women, challenged whether they were offensive.

Overclockers UK stated that as part of their marketing tactic for selling monitors or VDUs (visual display units), they used images of professional female models. They explained that such images proved to be effective by their sales revenue. They believed that sex sells , and that the images used in the ads attracted customers to the products, which ultimately led to a sale. They said that such a marketing tactic was adopted by thousands of companies and such sexual imagery was shown in billboards, TV ads and magazines.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Not upheld

The ASA acknowledged that all three ads were marketing LED flat screens, each featuring a female model in revealing clothes. We noted that, in ad (a), the model was lying on her back, legs intertwined, looking upwards towards the camera. Whilst the imagery was not overtly sexual, we noted however, that the model was wearing revealing lingerie with a tight open cut jacket, clearly exposing her knickers and cleavage area.

In ad (b), we noted that the model was lying on her side looking directly into the camera. She was leaning her head onto her left arm, whilst her right arm rested on her body. Although she was not exposing as much nudity in comparison to the model in ad (a), she was, however, wearing a see-through negligee, where her knickers were visible and her upper body partially exposed.

In ad (c), we noted that the model was located on a seaside resort wearing a bikini, with her back and legs partially exposed.

We acknowledged that some people might view the images as being gratuitous, sexist and demeaning. However, we considered that the images were not overtly sexual and unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code Code rule 4.1 but did not find it in breach.

 

 

Censorship is a Mug's Game...

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


Link Here18th December 2013

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

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

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

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

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

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

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

The ad should not appear again in its current form.

 

 

Offsite Article: New scheduling guidance and monitoring programme for alcohol TV ads...


Link Here 18th December 2013
ASA publishes new rules to define broadcast programming that is not suitable for advertising alcohol and other age restricted products

See article from cap.org.uk

 

 

Well Maybe a Little Scary for Kids...

Advert censor bans outdoor advertising posters for the horror DVD, Smiley


Link Here12th December 2013

A poster promoting the DVD release of the horror film, Smiley , was seen in various locations in London. It featured a close-up image of a head with crudely stitched wounds in the place of facial features, forming a bleeding smiley face . Text stated SMILEY - OVER 30 MILLION TRAILER VIEWS - OUT ON DVD, BLU-RAY & DIGITAL DOWNLOAD 14TH OCTOBER .

Eight complainants challenged whether the ad was likely to cause fear or distress, and was therefore inappropriate for display in an untargeted medium.

Signature Entertainment Ltd said they were an independent film distribution company and the poster campaign for Smiley was only the second they had run. They stressed that they had not intended to cause any offence with their advertising and said they would be careful in future to avoid similar issues.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

The ASA noted that the ad had appeared on untargeted outdoor poster sites. Some complainants had said they themselves had found the image very disturbing, whilst others reported their children becoming very distressed and, in some cases, changing the routes they walked to avoid the poster site.

We considered that the image of a man with his facial features sewn into the shape of a bleeding smiley face was a very powerful one which carried violent and threatening undertones, and that unless carefully targeted to a particular audience it was likely to elicit a strong negative reaction in those who saw it. Because it had been displayed in an untargeted medium, we concluded that the ad was irresponsible and likely to cause undue fear or distress, and had therefore breached the Code.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.2 (Harm and offence).

 

 

ASA Block Proxy Adverts...

ASA whinges at advert for proxy used to unblock websites blocked by schools (in a US context meaning universities)


Link Here11th December 2013

A mobile display ad for Hotspot Shield showed an image of Katy Perry and logos of YouTube, Skype, Facebook and hulu. Text stated Hotspot Shield - Access blocked sites at school - Get It Now [link]. Issue

A complainant challenged whether the ad was harmful and irresponsible, because it encouraged children to remove internet blocks while at school without the consent of their parents.

AnchorFree Inc t/a Hotspot Shield (Hotspot Shield) said the ad was targeted at university students and not children. They said it was never possible to guarantee that someone under 16 years of age would not see an ad, but that where they could target by age, they targeted people over 18. They said they otherwise targeted content or content categories that would be more likely to be frequented by adults. They said they never knowingly targeted children or content that was primarily consumed by them and that their aim was to upgrade users to a paid subscription, for which children would not have the credit cards or paypal accounts to pay.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ASA acknowledged that the ultimate aim of the ad was to encourage adult recipients to upgrade to a paid subscription, an option that would not be available to children directly because it required payment by credit card. Nevertheless, we considered Katy Perry was likely to appeal to children and that Hotspot Shield had not demonstrated that they had procedures in place which would prevent the ad being sent to them. If the ad was received by children, we considered it appeared to address them at school and encouraged them to remove blocks on internet sites that they would not normally be permitted to access. Because of that, we considered the ad was harmful and irresponsible and breached the Code.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 5.1 (Children). Action

 

 

The Age of Easy Offence...

More PC nonsense claiming that Lily Allen's song 'fuck you' causes widespread offence


Link Here8th December 2013

A promotional e-mail, from Spotify, an online music service, included the text Have you heard this song by Lily Allen? Give it a try. Fuck You .

The complainant challenged whether the use of a swear word in the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

ASA Assessment Upheld

The ASA noted the expletive used in the ad reflected the title of a song, which we understood was recommended to users, for example, based on a user having listened to songs of a similar genre, rather than of a similar title. While we considered Spotify users would understand the use of Fuck You to be the title of a song, we considered recipients of e-mails from a general online music service would not expect them to include swearing. We considered the use of Fuck was likely to cause serious offence to some recipients of such e-mails and therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code.

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

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Spotify to ensure their future advertising contained nothing that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

 

 

A more robust restriction than simply assuming minors don't watch TV after the watershed...

Bar appeals against an ASA ban of an alcohol promotion sent to a minor who was accidently included on a verified list of adults


Link Here26th November 2013
A nightclub and bar company has lodged an appeal against an Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) ruling which said one of its clubs wrongly targeted a 12-year-old with promotional alcohol offers.

The ASA had said the Luminar Group, based in Milton Keynes, must not use the same advert in its current form and urged it to ensure its adverts were not directed at people under 18.

However the Luminar Group said it took great care to ensure their databases for under 18-year-olds and over 18s were kept separate from each other. Tim Howard, head of marketing for the Luminar Group, said:

It would appear that a minor's name was incorrectly added to the electoral register and, as a result, promotional material was distributed in error and we would like to apologise for any offence caused.

In our defence, the data was sourced from one of the country's largest and most reputable companies, who have robust checks in place. We have obviously raised this with Experian who are investigating.

The banned mailshot showed images of two bottles of Moet champagne in an ice bucket with two glasses and two bottles of Smirnoff vodka. Inside the mailing a heading stated CHOOSE YOUR PACKAGE and listed four options available for the recipient. When the ASA upheld the complaint it said:

Although the understood that restrictions were in place to prevent the mailing being sent to under 18s, we nevertheless noted that errors could occur and were concerned that the mailing offered alcohol to the ASA recipient and his friends.

 

 

Extract: Unfairly Demanding Fairness...

The Advertising Standards Authority is threatening bloggers again -- treating them like crooks


Link Here26th November 2013
This month's ASA warning reminds bloggers that they are breaking these specific rules from the CAP's code:

2.3: Marketing communications must not falsely claim or imply that the marketer is acting as a consumer or for purposes outside its trade, business, craft or profession; marketing communications must make clear their commercial intent, if that is not obvious from the context. 2.4: Marketers and publishers must make clear that advertorials are marketing communications; for example, by heading them advertisement feature .

Do these rules even apply to bloggers? Writing a blog is not marketing or -- with the exception of blogs hosted and edited by mainstream media companies such the Telegraph -- even really publishing. It's usually a hobby and a form of amateur journalism. The ASA warning seems to realise this, so says it will also go after the providers of the products, as will Trading Standards. What if a freelance blogger forgets to disclose they received a few quid to write something nice? Could the company who paid end up the focus of the sanctions instead? Remember, this happened before. And it was chaos then too.

Worst of all is the implied prejudice. Independent bloggers write about stuff for free, while journalists write about stuff for money. When journalists write about products they have been given, or are taken out for a nice lunch, they aren't forced to disclose it. We assume that the journalist is being objective because they write for a recognised publication, and that they will adhere to the NUJ's code of conduct purely because they're journalists.

...Read the full article

 

 

'Wanking' at the ASA...

ASA bans advert for Protein shaker drink


Link Here25th November 2013

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

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

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

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

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

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

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

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

The ad must not appear again in its current form.

 

 

ASA look to Trading Standards to enforce its decisions...

Hopefully only those decisions based on law rather than political correctnes


Link Here 21st November 2013
We're pleased to announce we've reached an agreement with Trading Standards that it will act as our legal backstop. This means we can refer non-broadcast advertisers who continue to break the rules on misleading advertising to Trading Standards who can consider legal sanctions to bring them into line.

The backstop power has transferred to Trading Standards following changes to the law which means the Office of Fair Trading, who previously fulfilled this role, no longer has responsibility in this area.

Any advertiser that persists in breaking the rules through misleading, aggressive or otherwise unfair non-broadcast advertising can face referral. Trading Standards can consider taking action against advertisers under consumer and business protection laws.

In reaching this new arrangement we've worked closely with the National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) and London Borough of Camden (LBC) in England and Wales, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) in Scotland - ensuring UK wide coverage.

We've agreed new case handling principles and, importantly, the ASA remains responsible for regulating advertising -- allowing Trading Standards to focus its resources on other consumer issues.

ASA Chief Executive, Guy Parker says:

We already enjoy a close and effective working relationship with Trading Standards. This new arrangement will help us become more joined-up and consistent as well as giving consumers and business confidence that an advertiser who doesn't play by the rules will face the consequences.

 

 

Just Whinges...

Advert censor dismisses most whinges about sexy scent advert but it shouldn't have been shown during You've Been Framed


Link Here14th November 2013

Four TV ads and a VOD ad, for Just Cavalli, a perfume for women, featured a woman being pursued by a man. The woman made a number of statements, which were accompanied by on-screen text stating the same:

a. The first TV ad showed a woman removing her coat and stating, Just Now . The woman, whilst facing the camera, unbuttoned her top and then stated, Just Fun . The woman then threw her top at the man and was shown wearing a bra. The man was shown with a naked torso chasing the woman. The woman then stated Just Me . The couple then ran into the bedroom and began to kiss. The ad then showed an image of the advertised product and the woman stated, Just Cavalli. The new fragrance, just for her .

The ad was cleared by Clearcast with an ex-kids restriction.

Other examples b-e were varitions on the theme on TV and ITV Player

  1. All viewers objected that the ads were offensive, because of the sexualised behaviour.
  2. A number of viewers objected that ads (a) and (b) were inappropriately scheduled.
  3. A number of viewers also objected that ads (d) and (e) were inappropriately scheduled.
  4. One viewer challenged whether ad (c) was appropriate to be seen by children, because they viewed the ad before the programme Wild at Heart, which they considered a family programme.
  5. One viewer challenged whether ad (a) was appropriate to be seen by children, because they viewed the ad during the programme New You've Been Framed, which they considered a family programme.

ASA Assessment

1. Not upheld. 2-4. Similarly not upheld

The ASA noted all ads showed the woman undressing to reveal her lingerie and that the man was shown with a naked torso. We also noted the ads showed the woman being pursued by the man and that there was a sexual tension between the couple. The ads did not, however, include any explicit nudity.

We noted the scene of the couple kissing in ads (a), (b) and (c) was brief in duration and considered the ads were mildly sexual in nature. Whilst we acknowledged that some viewers might find the ads distasteful, we considered, in the context of an ad for a perfume, the ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

We considered ads (d) and (e) included stronger images than ads (a), (b) and (c). In particular, we noted the ads included an image of the woman with her crotch raised towards the man whilst he kissed her torso. We also noted the ads included short scenes of the couple passionately embracing and kissing. We considered those ads were moderately sexual in nature. Although we considered the ads were moderately sexual in nature and might therefore be distasteful to some, we considered that, in the context of an ad for a perfume, the ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point, we investigated ads (a), (b), (d) and (e) under BCAP Code rule 4.2 (Harm and offence) and ad (c) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 4.1 (Harm and offence), but did not find them to be in breach.

5. Complaint upheld

We noted ad (a) had been given an ex-kids restriction to prevent it from being broadcast in or around children's programming. We understood that that included programmes which had a high index of children viewers.

We considered You've Been Framed!, New You've Been Framed! and Funniest Ever You've Been Framed! were similar programmes and would be viewed as such by members of the public. We therefore sought audience indexing data for transmissions of those programmes in the four weeks prior to the transmission of the ad, which had been challenged by the complainant.

We considered it appropriate to review transmissions of those programmes between 15:00 and 21:00 on weekdays, because this was a time when children would be out of school and would have the opportunity to view the programmes. The data showed that in 26% of the transmissions during those times, the programmes were viewed by a significant number of children. We also considered transmissions of those programmes on Saturdays in the four-week period. The data showed that in 26% of the transmissions during those times, the programmes were viewed by a significant number of children. We also considered transmissions of those programmes at weekend during the four-week period. The data showed that in 25% of the transmissions during those times, the programmes were viewed by a significant number of children. We therefore considered the audience indexing data showed a significant number of instances where the programme had been viewed by a significant number of children.

We understood that when scheduling the ad, referred to by the complainant, ITV considered a previous transmission of the same programme, during the same time slot the previous week. However, because audience indexing data from the four weeks prior to the transmission of the ad indicated that the programme had been viewed by a significant number of children, we were concerned that ITV had not taken steps to prevent the ad appearing around such programmes.

On that basis, we concluded that the ad breached the Code.

On this point, ad (a) breached BCAP Code rule 32.1 (Scheduling).

 

 

Does Garlic Work Against Censors?...

ASA dismisses whinges about vampire posters for National Theatre of Scotland production


Link Here28th October 2013
A poster, a bus poster and a leaflet for the Dundee Rep Theatre:
  • a. The poster featured a large picture of the head and shoulders of a young child with vampire fangs, bloodshot eyes and with blood running from her eyes, nose and mouth. Text stated NATIONAL THEATRE OF SCOTLAND ... LET THE RIGHT ONE IN . Underneath text stated the dates of the production run and box office details.
  • b The poster on buses featured a cropped image of the child's head showing blood running from her eyes and nose. Text stated NATIONAL THEATRE OF SCOTLAND ... LET THE RIGHT ONE IN and included information about the production run.
  • c. The leaflet cover featured a close up of the girl's bloodshot eye and nose with blood running from both. Text stated NATIONAL THEATRE OF SCOTLAND ... LET THE RIGHT ONE IN . The inside pages included the picture used on poster (a) and a close up picture of the girl's left eye, with blood running from it. Text gave details of the play and production details.

A complainant challenged whether:

1. posters (a) and (b) were unsuitable for public display where they could be seen by children; and

2. leaflet (c), which was available in a number of public locations, was unsuitable for display where it could be seen by children.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA understood that the image of the child in posters (a) and (b) was central to the play and had been used to convey the nature of the production. We also understood the reasons why the image might appeal to some older children, given the plethora of vampire TV programmes, films and books popular with that age group.

We acknowledged that some younger children might not understand the images, but we considered that the posters, although undoubtedly striking, were not particularly frightening or disturbing. We considered the posters (a) and (b) were unlikely to cause harm or distress to children and concluded that they were suitable for outdoor display.

We noted the image on the front of the leaflet (c), which was available in a number of different venues, was a close up of the child's bloodshot eye and nose with blood running from both. Although visually striking, we considered that the picture was less arresting than the larger and full image in poster (a) and the cropped image in poster (b) and was likely to gain even less attention from children. We considered that, although some children might see or pick it up, the leaflet was unlikely to be particularly appealing to them as to encourage them to pick it up or to hold sufficient interest for them to inspect it in detail.

We considered that the leaflet was unlikely to cause harm or distress to children and concluded that it did not breach the Code.

We investigated posters (a) and (b) and the leaflet (c) under CAP Code rules 4.2 (Harm and offence) and 5.1 (Children harm), but did not find them in breach.

 

 

Novel Advertising Restrictions...

ASA unilaterally declares a watershed for the internet


Link Here23rd October 2013

A TV and video-on-demand (VOD) ad, for the novel Criminal by Karin Slaughter:

a. The TV ad, which appeared at 9.45 pm during Body of Proof on 5USA, began with the on-screen text NEW FROM KARIN SLAUGHTER . A young woman was shown running in heels down a dark street and repeatedly looking over her shoulder. A male voice-over stated, You cannot escape me. I have chosen you ... The woman was then shown apparently being held to the ground, with a man's face to the back of her head. The voice-over continued, And tonight, you will pay for your sins. A female voice-over stated, Criminal, the most chilling novel yet from Karin Slaughter.

b. An ad with the same content appeared during Neighbours on the Demand 5 VOD service. Issue

  1. Two viewers challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, and cause fear and distress without justifiable reason, because it depicted a woman in distress.

  2. One of the viewers also challenged whether ad (b) was inappropriately scheduled during a family show.

Clearcast said they gave the TV ad a post-9 pm timing restriction to ensure its audience would be adults, who would recognise it as an ad. They believed the scenes were similar to those viewed in film trailers and therefore it would not be shocking or cause fear and distress to the audience, or cause offence. They took account of the fact the ad was only 20 seconds long and believed the end frame cut the suspense quickly, and immediately made it clear the ad was for a fictional book, rather than a genuine portrayal. Clearcast said the ad also did not show any violence, blood or any other graphic scenes. They understood the nature of the ad might be upsetting for some viewers but believed that would not be widespread. They said the VOD ad was given an L3H advisory restriction. Clearcast said the wording on their system would be changed to ensure that was clear in all circumstances.

Channel 5 said Clearcast acted only in an advisory capacity for VOD ads and suggested restrictions that on demand service providers might adopt. The advisory restrictions did not have the same status as those Clearcast applied to linear programming. They agreed that ads in programmes that were directed at or of particular appeal to children should be restricted in a similar way to programmes on a linear service. However, Neighbours was not of particular appeal to children and was watched by a relatively small proportion of children. They said it was the nature of VOD services that programmes could be viewed at any time. So a programme that would be broadcast after 9 pm on TV could be viewed before 9 pm on a VOD service. Or, a programme that had appeared before 9 pm on TV might be viewed after that time on a VOD service. They emphasised that it was not known whether the complainants viewed the ad before 9 pm. They said that, while the advertiser bore primary responsibility for the compliance of VOD ads, they took seriously their own responsibilities to schedule ads on VOD services appropriately and would keep their practices under review.

ASA Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA acknowledged the ads, which we considered included tense scenes that suggested a woman was being pursued by an attacker, might be distasteful to some viewers. We noted the ads were given a post-9 pm timing restriction, which we considered was appropriate given that viewers would understand programming that appeared after then might, for example, include violence. We noted, however, that no violent or otherwise graphic scenes were shown and considered viewers would understand that the ads reflected the content of a crime novel. We considered if the ads were shown after 9 pm, they were not likely to cause serious or widespread offence or cause fear and distress without justifiable reason.

On this point, we investigated the ads under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence) and BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find them in breach.

2. Upheld

We noted ad (b) was given an L3H restriction by Clearcast, which their website stated was to be transmitted post 2100 ... Not suitable for pre-watershed . While we acknowledged that restriction was advisory only, and that the advice on Clearcast's website also related to TV ads, we noted that indicated the content of the ad to be such that it was considered suitable to appear only with programmes that would be broadcast after 9 pm on TV. We considered the advisory restriction was appropriate, but that the content of the ad, which included tense scenes that suggested a woman was being pursued by an attacker, was such that it was not suitable to be shown with content that appeared before 9 pm on TV, such as Neighbours. Because the ad appeared on Channel 5's VOD service with a programme we understood would have been broadcast before 9 pm on TV, we concluded that it was inappropriately scheduled and therefore breached the Code.

On this point, the scheduling of ad (b) breached CAP Code rules 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence).

Action

Ad (b), in its current form, must not be scheduled to appear on VOD services again with programming that would appear before 9 pm on TV. We told Channel 5 to take more care when scheduling ads in future.

 

 

Head Censor?...

ASA dismiss 137 whinges are TV advert for Confused.com which alludes to a blow job


Link Here16th October 2013

A TV ad, for Confused.com, a car insurance comparison website, featured a robot called Brian, knocking on the window of a parked car. The man, seated in the driving seat of the car, was startled and the woman, seated in the passenger seat, who was bent down out of view, sprang upright. The character Brian said I've run your details through my extensive circuits resulting in a saving of £ 225 on your car insurance . The man said That's alright, that is to which Brian responded Who is our daddy? The man said I don't know.

Objections to the ad were received from 137 complainants.

  1. The majority of complainants objected that the ad was offensive, because they believed there was implied reference to oral sex.

  2. A number of complainants objected that the ad was unsuitable for children to see.

  3. A small number of complainants objected that the ad was offensive, because it was degrading to women.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that, on close inspection, the woman was shown to rise from the footwell on her side of the vehicle. Notwithstanding that, we acknowledged the complainants' concerns that the presentation of the ad included an implied reference to oral sex. We acknowledged that the dishevelled appearance of the couple; the positioning of the woman; the surrounding location; and the reaction of the couple added to that impression. However, we noted the ad contained no explicit reference to sex and no explicit sexual imagery. Whilst we acknowledged that some viewers might find the ad distasteful, we considered 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. Not upheld

We considered the post 21:00 timing restriction would minimise the risk of younger children seeing the ad. Furthermore, because there was no explicit reference to sex or explicit sexual imagery, we concluded that the timing restriction applied was appropriate.

On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and Offence) and 32.3 (Scheduling) but did not find it in breach.

3. Not upheld

We noted the ad depicted the woman in a state of alarm at the appearance of the robot. We acknowledged that some viewers would interpret the ad as a reference to oral sex. However, we considered the ad did not depict the woman as a sexual object, nor did it suggest that the woman was in distress. On that basis, we concluded that the ad was not likely to be viewed as degrading to women.

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.

 

 

Update: Blurred Thinking...

ASA order that Beats Pill speaker advert featuring Blurred Lines should only be shown after 7:30pm


Link Here9th October 2013
Full story: Robin Thicke and Blurred Lines...Sexy music video offends the easily offended

A TV ad promoted Beats Pill speakers.

The ad featured Robin Thicke, performing his single Blurred Lines , and three female models. Throughout the ad, the song was played with the lyrics Everybody get up ... Good girl, I know you want it, I know you want it, I know you want it, you're a good girl, can't let it get past me, you're far from plastic, talk about getting blasted, I hate these blurred lines.

The ad opened with a close-up shot of one of the women holding the Beats Pill against her chin as she mimed to the words Everybody get up . Throughout the ad, the women were shown wearing crop tops and hot pants as they danced and interacted with Robin Thicke and the product. In one scene they were shown lifting Beats Pills as if they were dumbbells and in another, one of the women was shown holding a Beats Pill in a hotdog bun. Another shot showed all the women dressed in see-through nurses' uniforms over their hot pants and crop tops. The following shot showed one model looking through two Beats Pills as if they were binoculars. Towards the end, a woman was shown kneeling on her hands and knees with a Beats Pill laid on her back.

The ASA received 97 complaints about the ad.

  1. A number of the complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive because it was sexist, objectified women and was degrading to women.

  2. A number of the complainants challenged whether the ad was inappropriate to be broadcast at a time when children would be watching TV, because they believed it was overtly sexual.

  3. Some complainants challenged whether the models featured were irresponsibly thin.

ASA Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that the ad was intended to be playful and comic, and its content was based on the Blurred Lines music video and served to show the portable and convenient nature of the Beats Pill product.

We considered that a number of scenes, such as those in which the women were dressed as nurses, were holding the Pill in a hotdog roll and using the product as dumbbells, were sexually suggestive. We also noted that, in comparison to a fully clothed Robin Thicke, the women were shown in crop tops and hot pants, dancing and interacting with the product, and that the ad included a number of shots of their bottoms and exposed midriffs, with their heads obscured. In addition we noted that the women were often looking directly at the camera, pouting or putting their fingers near, or to, their mouths. We also noted the final scene, when one of the women was shown on all fours, in what we considered to be a provocative position, with the product on her back.

However, while we accepted that some viewers might find elements of the ad distasteful, particularly the shots of the women's bodies with their heads obscured and the shot of the woman on all fours, we considered that those shots were brief, and when taken as a whole, the ad did not show sustained, overtly sexual or provocative behaviour. We also considered that most viewers would recognise the stylised nature of the ad and understand that it was reflective of a music video. Therefore, whilst we acknowledged a number of viewers might find the content of the ad distasteful, we did not consider that the ad was likely to result in widespread or serious offence and concluded that it was not in breach of the Code.

On that point, we investigated the under BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.

2. Upheld

The ASA noted that both Beats and Clearcast believed that the ad was only mildly sexual in nature, playful and comical, and that children would not understand the mild innuendo associated with the shape and use of the product in the ad. We noted that the ad did not contain any explicit nudity or intimate interaction between the characters, but did include shots focusing on the women's headless bodies and a number of sexually suggestive scenes. Therefore, we considered the overall tone of the ad was sexual, and concluded that the ad was not suitable for broadcast before 7.30 pm.

On that point, the ad breached BCAP Code rule 32.3 (Under-16s).

3. Not upheld

We noted that all the women featured in the ad were slim, and that the outfits they were wearing, along with the shots of their bodies and of them dancing and working out using the product, emphasised their body shape. We considered, however, that the ad was stylised and reflective of the characters and images generally seen in music videos, and that the models did not look underweight. We therefore concluded that the ad was not irresponsible.

On that point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Responsible advertising), and 4.2 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach. Action

The ad must not be broadcast again before 7.30 pm.

 

 

Whingers Get a Good Slagging Off...

ASA dismisses complaints about Pot Noodle advert


Link Here2nd October 2013

A TV ad, for Pot Noodle, showed a male actor with visible stubble wearing various outfits. The character was shown in a tracksuit, two different dresses, a swim suit and tutu outfit. In the latter two outfits, the character was shown with his legs wide apart. The character said, Ever since I was little I've always dreamed of living an easy life. So, I married a footballer. I've been a WAG for 2 years now. I'm a real lady of leisure. I've even got my own fragrance. The scent's inspired by my greatest love, it's hot like a fever, spicy like chilli, divine like chicken. Piri Piri by Brian.

Two complainants challenged whether the ad:

  1. was offensive; and

  2. breached the Code, because it condoned and encouraged harmful discriminatory behaviour and treatment towards transsexual people.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted the ad identified the character as Brian and depicted Brian with masculine features, including visible stubble, a masculine voice and body type. In that context, we considered the ad made clear that Brian was a self-identifying man who sought an easy life that could be achieved through the lifestyle of a WAG. As such, we considered viewers were likely to interpret the portrayal as a light-hearted mockery of WAG culture rather than transsexual people. Whilst we acknowledged that some may find the ad distasteful, we considered it was not likely to cause serious or widespread offence, or condone and encourage harmful and discriminatory behaviour and treatment towards transsexual people.

On that basis, we concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social responsibility) and 4.2 and 4.8 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.


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