No doubt moralist campaigners will now be calling for an 11pm watershed for all TV deemed to be made for an adult audience.
Perhaps something missing from the ASA analysis is that considering a range of ages from 10 must surely distort the analysis.
Surely 10 year olds go to bed an awful lot earlier than 15 year olds so considering the average is likely underestimate the amount of kids staying up at the higher end of the range. I would suspect that it may be 11pm to 12pm before the teenagers turn
The ASA challenged the scheduling of 576 alcohol ads that were broadcast after 9 pm on the seven Box TV music channels in the period February, March, April 2013. In total, the ASA found that the scheduling of 268 ads
breached the BCAP Code and the scheduling of 308 ads did not.
Rule 32.2.1 of The UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (the BCAP Code) states that alcohol ads should not be shown in or around programmes commissioned for,
principally targeted at or likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of 18.
Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) guidance recommends the use of audience indexing, a statistical tool, to
determine the representation of children in relation to the audience as a whole. BCAP guidance states that an alcohol restriction should be applied in programmes where the 10- to 15-year-old audience, indexed against the total audience of all individuals
over four years old, produces an index of 120 or more. An index of 120 would mean that 10- to 15-year-olds are 20% over-represented in the programme audience compared to the audience as a whole. Presumably an index of 100 would mean that the
program is viewed by an average cross section of all ages.
There were 576 alcohol ads broadcast in programmes on the following channels licensed to Box Television Ltd in the period February, March and April 2013:
4Music (126 ads); described on the 4Music website as a channel that brings you closer to the hottest artists right now .
Heat (22 ads); described on the Heat website as a channel that
brings you the best in entertainment and celebrity news .
Kerrang (138 ads); described on the Kerrang website as the music channel for the world's biggest selling rock magazine .
Kiss TV (93 ads); described on the Kiss TV website as the beat of the UK on TV .
Magic TV (43 ads); described on the Magic TV website as offering feel good favourites twenty four hours
a day .
Smash Hits (69 ads); described on the Smash Hits website as hits now and always .
The Box (85 ads); described on The Box website as providing fresh music
There were 219 ads broadcast between 9 pm and 9.59 pm; 143 ads between 10 pm and 10.59 pm; 102 between 11 pm and 11.59 pm and 102 ads broadcast after 12 am.
The ASA Compliance team challenged
whether it was appropriate to schedule alcohol ads in the programmes on these channels because the data indicated that many were likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of 18.
ASA Assessment: Complaints
upheld in parts
The ASA acknowledged that the audience figures for 4Music were low and agreed that a time slot based restriction was a reasonable scheduling approach when attempting to comply with the spirit and intention of the
In accordance with the advice of the statistical expert as to the potential for the audience indexing score to be useful to some degree, we noted that the average index score in the 9 pm to 9.59 pm time slot on 4Music varied from 134 to 136.
After 10 pm the average index dropped to 95 to 97 and remained below the 120 cut-off point for the rest of the night in every weekly period.
We considered that a 10 pm restriction would have been more appropriate based on the spirit and intention
of the rule, based in turn on the hard audience information available and knowledge of the audience profiles.
2. The Box, Smash Hits and Heat
The Box: average index score 9 pm to 9.59 pm: 121 to 141
The Heat: average index score 9 pm to 9.59 pm: 140 to 158
Smash Hits average index score 9 pm to 9.59 pm: 143 to 154
All fell to under 120 after 10pm (but this
still means a lot of kids are watching)
We considered that a 10 pm restriction for alcohol ads on The Box, Smash Hits and Heat would have been more appropriate.
Average index score 9 pm to 9.59 pm: 219 to 241
Average index score 10 pm to 10.59 pm: 172 to 196
The average index score continued to exceed 120 until 00.59 am
We therefore considered that an 11 pm restriction would have been more appropriate.
Average index score 9 pm to 9.59 pm: 132 to 169
Average index score 10 pm to 10.59 pm: 133 to 148 some week, under 120 others
Fell to under 120 after 11pm
We therefore considered that an 11 pm restriction would have been more appropriate.
5. Magic TV Complaints not upheld
The average index score for the preceding 52 weeks did not exceed 120 in any time slot.
We therefore concluded that the third party had demonstrated that the decision to allow alcohol ads from 9 pm on Magic TV was a reasonable scheduling decision.
A TV ad, for computer game Call of Duty: Ghosts , to the background soundtrack of Frank Sinatra singing I'm Gonna Live until I Die , featured four men engaged in a series of gunfights and explosions with an anonymous enemy, vehicles and
aircraft in an abandoned and derelict Las Vegas, outer space and a snowy tundra. At the end of the ad, on-screen text stated There's a soldier in all of us .
The ad was cleared by Clearcast with an ex-kids restriction,
which meant it should not be shown in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children.
Thirteen viewers challenged whether the ad was offensive and irresponsible, because it trivialised warfare and condoned and encouraged violence and gun use.
Six viewers challenged whether the ad was
inappropriately scheduled on, or around Remembrance Day.
Seven viewers challenged whether the ad was inappropriately scheduled at times when children might have been watching.
Clearcast explained that the game had a 16 age certificate, which automatically required the ad to be given an ex-kids restriction. Regardless of the age rating for the game, they believed an ex-kids restriction was also appropriate,
because of the fantastical violence and gunfight, but they did not believe that it required a more stringent rating.
ASA Assessment Complaints not upheld
1. Not upheld
considered that it was clear that the main characters were participants in the game rather than actual soldiers in a battle scenario. The setting was fantastical and highly exaggerated, which combined with the light hearted visual asides, such as
admiring the scenery, and the lack of urgency or fear, had lessened the overall impact of the gunfight, which did not include any scenes of killing. We considered that, because the scenes were clearly part of a computer game and far-fetched, they were
unlikely to encourage or condone violence or gun use.
We also considered that the scenes of the men smiling and enjoying the action, together with the soundtrack of I'm Gonna Live until I Die' and the on-screen text There's a
soldier in all of us would be understood by viewers in the context of the ad to refer to involvement and interaction with the computer game rather than trivialising the seriousness of warfare. We therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause
serious or widespread offence.
2. Not upheld
Channel 4 scheduled the ad away from programmes that were specifically dedicated to war and warfare and we received no specific complaints that the ad was
broadcast around coverage of the Cenotaph ceremony or the following day's three minutes silence. Although we understood that some viewers found the timing over the Remembrance Day weekend to be distasteful, we considered that the ad would be understood
to be about game-play and not war itself and the broadcast of the ad over that weekend was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to viewers.
3. Not upheld
We understood that, because the game had
a 16 age certificate, Clearcast applied a restriction to prevent it from being broadcast in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children. We considered the restriction was appropriate in keeping the ad away from young children,
but there was nothing within the ad that made it unsuitable for broadcast at other times of the day. We acknowledged that some viewers found the ad unsuitable for broadcast when older children might be watching at other times of the day, but concluded
that the ex-kids restriction was nonetheless sufficient for the ad.
A press ad for the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), published 25 October in The Times, was headlined READY TO GO: A TOUGH NEW REGULATOR FOR THE PRESS . Text stated Today sees the launch of a tough new regulator for the press -
the toughest in the Western world. The new Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) will be up and running early next year, and will deliver all the key elements Lord Justice Leveson called for in his report. It will guarantee the British public
enjoy the standard of journalism they deserve. And it will ensure Britain remains not just the birthplace, but the home of free speech. This is how it works: @ . The ad listed seven subheadings: TOUGH SANCTIONS ... UPFRONT CORRECTIONS ...
INVESTIGATIVE POWERS ... GENUINE INDEPENDENCE ... NO COST TO THE PUBLIC ... THE SUPPORT OF THE NEWSPAPER AND MAGAZINE INDUSTRY ... FREE SPEECH GUARANTEED , with additional information provided under each one.
Text under the
subheading GENUINE INDEPENDENCE stated The Board of IPSO will have a majority of independent members and an independent chair, chosen in a transparent and open process .
Text under the subheading FREE SPEECH
GUARANTEED stated Politicians are trying to force the press to sign up to a royal charter written by politicians, imposed by politicians and controlled by politicians. IPSO is entirely independent of all political parties . Issue
The Media Standards Trust (MST) and two members of the public objected to the ad. They challenged whether:
the claim The new Independent Press Standards organisation ... will deliver all the key elements Lord Justice Leveson called for in his report was misleading and could be substantiated, because they maintained there are a
number of elements in the report which IPSO would not deliver;
the claim GENUINE INDEPENDENCE was misleading and could be substantiated, because MST maintained IPSO was not entirely independent of all
political parties, and MST and the two members of the public maintained it was not independent of the newspaper industry;
the claim Politicians are trying to force the press to sign up to a royal charter was
misleading, because the Royal Charter system was voluntary; and
the claim Politicians are trying to force the press to sign up to a royal charter ... controlled by politicians was misleading, because
politicians were explicitly excluded from the recognition body that was set up by the Royal Charter.
The ASA acknowledged that the complainants believed there were elements in the Leveson report which IPSO would not deliver, and
that the advertisers believed that those specific elements were met.
We considered the claim in the ad, which stated that IPSO would deliver all the key elements Lord Justice Leveson called for in his report . The ad set
out seven sub-headings which provided further information about the proposed IPSO model for regulating the press. However, Lord Justice Leveson had not determined specific key elements in his report.
We considered that the
ad's readers, whilst familiar with the general issues relating to press regulation, would be unlikely to have detailed knowledge of the content of the Leveson report. We thought it likely they would assume from the ad, wrongly, that the sub-headings
formally set out those issues which had been expressly defined as key elements in the Leveson report, and which should be implemented by a proposed press regulator. We did not consider whether the specific elements raised by the complainants were
or were not met, but considered that the ad implied more certainty around which might be the key elements than was the case and therefore concluded that it was misleading on that basis.
A ban on a safe cycling television advert which showed a rider without a helmet has been overturned.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld five complaints in January that the ad, part of a campaign by Cycling Scotland, was irresponsible
and harmful because it showed a cyclist without a helmet or any other safety attire riding down the middle of the road.
The advert censor said the cyclist in the final scene was not wearing a helmet or any other safety attire and appeared to be
more than half a metre from the parking lane, ruling that the ad undermined the recommendations set out in the Highway Code and concluding that it was socially irresponsible and likely to condone or encourage behaviour prejudicial to health and safety
Cycling Scotland told the ASA that wearing a cycling helmet was not a legal requirement in Scotland but a personal choice for the individual - a fact it considered was reflected in the ad with footage of various cyclists with and without
But the ASA has now said there was a potential flaw in its ruling, and it lifted the ban while an independent review was carried out. ASA has unbanned the advert in its latest adjudications. ASA wrote:
ad for a campaign promoting safer cycling on the road, stated in the voice-over Not a lot of people know this but you should treat a cyclist the way you treat a horse ... slow down, treat them with care and give them their space on the road. The
final shot showed a young woman cycling down the road whilst the on-screen text stated SEE CYCLIST THINK HORSE .
Five complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and harmful, because it showed a cyclist without
a helmet or any other safety attire, who was cycling down the middle of the road rather than one metre from the curb.
Cycling Scotland pointed out that wearing a cycling helmet was not a legal requirement in Scotland, but a
personal choice for the individual. This they considered was illustrated in the ad, by showing various cyclists with and without helmets.
Cycling Scotland further commented that cycling had a high benefit:disbenefit ratio, even
when factoring in injuries and referred to the national cycling charity (CTC) report. Cycling Scotland also referred to their helmet policy, which discussed the possible undesired outcomes of wearing helmets, including limiting uptake of cycling (leading
to less physical activity) and influencing a driver's behaviour to be less careful when interacting on the road.
Regarding the cyclist's clothing, Cycling Scotland commented that this was to reflect the accessibility of cycling
and to help promote it as a viable way to make everyday journeys.
With regards to the cyclist's positioning, Cycling Scotland stated that given the width of the road featured in the advert, the cyclist was safer riding out past
the parking area where they could be clearly visible to other road users. Furthermore, they informed the ASA that the shoot for the advert was supervised by one of their most experienced cycling instructors.
referred the ASA to the National Standard for cycling training's recognised reference source, Cyclecraft , which identified two clear positions: the first being the primary position, which is the default position for urban roads, placing the
cyclist in the centre of the active traffic lane; and the secondary position, placing the cyclist on the left of the primary position, but not less than half a metre from the kerb. In this case, the advertiser commented that the cyclist was not less than
half a metre from the parking lane.
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
THIS ADJUDICATION REPLACES THAT PUBLISHED ON 29 JANUARY. THE VERDICT HAS CHANGED, MAKING THE COMPLAINT NOT UPHELD.
We noted that the final shot of the ad showed a young woman cycling down the road without wearing a helmet, and appeared to be located in the centre of the lane.
We acknowledged Cycling Scotland's explanation
regarding why the cyclist featured in the final scene of the ad was placed in the primary position and that this was an appropriate position to depict the cyclist in given the specific road conditions. We identified that the cyclist was shown in broad
daylight and positioned on the centre of a fairly large lane, without any traffic and was clearly visible. Furthermore, we noted that there was a large gap between her and the car which overtook her. For those reasons, we considered that the cyclist had
been placed in a suitable cycling position.
We understood that the Highway Code recommends that helmets should be worn which conform to current regulations, fit correctly and are securely fastened. However, we acknowledged
that it was not a UK legal requirement for cyclists to wear helmets, but instead was a decision they could make at their own discretion. We noted Cycling Scotland's and Clearcast's point that this was reflected in the ad by showing various cyclists with
and without helmets.
We acknowledged Cycling Scotland's reference to the National Cycling Charity (CTC) report, which discussed the possible harmful outcomes of wearing cycling helmets, including evidence that some drivers
perceive cyclists wearing helmets to be less vulnerable road users and that this can influence driver behaviours to be less cautious around cyclists. We agreed that the ad was primarily targeted at motorists with the aim of raising awareness of the
different kinds of real life scenarios in which they may encounter cyclists on the road. Following this, we noted Clearcast had stated that the ad featured a realistic situation, in that not all cyclists wore helmets and that the ad illustrated that the
same care should be given to all cyclists, whether or not they wore a helmet.
Therefore, we concluded that because it was not a UK legal requirement for cyclists to wear helmets and because the ad depicted a range of real life
situations in which motorists may encounter cyclists on the road for the purposes of educating them about the risks to cyclists posed by poor driving behaviours we concluded that the ad was not socially irresponsible and likely to condone or encourage
behaviour prejudicial to health and safety.
An ad appeared at the bottom of an article on The Independendent newspaper's website alongside other ads, each of which contained an image and text, under the heading You may also like these . A link below the ad was labelled (Keep Your Email
Private!) . The ad linked to a web page run by a third-party advertiser.
The complainant challenged whether the ad was identifiable as such.
Outbrain said they provided content recommendations, most
often found at the bottom of an article on a publisher's page. Their technology meant they were able to understand how and when people consumed all forms of content and could therefore recommend relevant material based on interests, which could be via
paid-for links to third-party sites or links to other content on a publisher's own site. They did not own the websites on which the content they recommended appeared and each publisher could dictate the layout and look and feel of content such as
that placed by Outbrain. They said although the content complained about had been paid for by a third party, it was not advertising in the traditional sense and their recommendations were better described as promoted content or promoted stories
They said their approach was in line with industry standard practices and they used the text You may also like these and Recommended by , which appeared next to their logo, to identify that the paid-for ads
linked to third-party sites. When that logo was clicked on, users were taken to a pop up headed What are these links? , which gave information about Outbrain's service and also included the text Links to 3rd party content were paid for by an
Outbrain customer . The logo also changed colour when hovered over, to make clear that it was an interactive link. They believed the average internet user would be aware that links similar to the one they provided were clickable and that they were
often used to provide additional information. However, they said they were willing to cooperate in making changes.
ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld
The ASA understood Outbrain were responsible for the
overall presentation of the contextually targeted branded content and its labelling, and acknowledged they were willing to make changes. We also acknowledged the ad appeared under the text You may also like these and that, when viewed in its
entirety, the panel of content featured the text Recommended by , which appeared next to a logo. However, we considered consumers would not necessarily realise that the various different recommendations included formed part of the
same panel and that they might not notice the Recommended by text, which appeared in the bottom corner. We also considered consumers might not realise that the logo included a link to additional information.
Nevertheless, we noted that marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such and considered the text
You may also like these and Recommended by , as well as the information provided in the pop up and in the link below the ad, was not sufficient to ensure it was obvious to consumers that the ad was a marketing communication. Because the ad
was not obviously identifiable as marketing communication, we concluded that it was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code rules 2.1 and 2.3 (Recognition of marketing communications) and 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Outbrain to ensure future advertising placed by them was obviously identifiable as such.
The home page of www.spartanmotorfactors.co.uk, a motor vehicle parts supplier, featured a close-up picture of a woman's bottom clothed in fishnet tights and underwear shorts with the company's logo printed on them. Text stated Small enough to offer
the personal touch. SHORT & ROUND .
An internet user challenged whether the ad was offensive, because it objectified women.
Spartan Motor Factors believed their advertising was no different from
that of other car part suppliers in Wales. They said the ad had been removed from their website.
ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld
The ASA considered that, although the close up image of a scantily clad
woman's bottom was not sexually explicit it nonetheless had sexual connotations, which was heightened by the text that stated Small enough to offer the personal touch and SHORT & ROUND . The image bore no relevance to the advertised
service and we considered it was therefore likely to be seen as sexist and to demean and objectify women by using their physical features for no other reason than to draw attention to the ad. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious
offence to some consumers.
A pre-roll ad on YouTube for the film Dom Hemingway , seen before a video connected with the film Despicable Me and a video entitled Ghetto Kids Dancing Sitya Loss New Ugandan music 2014 DjDinTV, which featured children dancing.
The ad opened with the lead character smashing a wall with a sledgehammer and shouting Fuck you and fuck your cat. Further scenes contained a voice-over of the lead character stating, I'm a legend, I'm a crazy man, I'm a fucking nutter ; a
woman saying, You've got to be fucking kidding me ; and two characters saying, Fuck you at each other repeatedly. Other scenes in the trailer showed the lead character with white powder on his nose, the lead character punching a man in the
face, a topless woman jumping into a swimming pool and the lead character swigging from a whiskey bottle.
Two complainants challenged whether the ad had been responsibly targeted because it appeared before videos which they
believed would appeal to children.
Lions Gate UK Ltd stated that the ad had been restricted to those signed in as 18 or over. They also said that the ad was targeted at those who had watched the theatrical trailer, and that
therefore those who had watched the trailer and were signed in as over 18 were eligible to be served the ad.
YouTube stated that, following an internal investigation, they considered the ad was in violation of their own
advertising policy. They said that users are responsible for their video ads and are required to comply with YouTube's advertising policies. They stated that the ad campaign had now ended, but that it had been disapproved for future use.
ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld
We noted that the ad contained several instances of very strong language, including in the few seconds before the ad could be skipped, and brief scenes of violence, nudity
and implied drug use. We considered that this content would not be suitable for display before content that children were likely to be watching. We also noted that the ad had been age-restricted by being served only to those members signed in as 18 or
over, and that it was targeted toward users who had already watched a trailer for the film, and considered that in this regard the advertisers had acted in good faith in terms of targeting the ad away from content which would appeal to children. However,
we noted that one complainant had seen the ad before a video incorporating characters from Despicable Me , and that the other had seen it before a video featuring children dancing, and considered that the content of both would be likely to appeal
to children. While we acknowledged that the videos may also be of some interest to adults, we considered that there was a strong likelihood that adults watching the videos would be doing so with children because the videos were related to a children's
film or featured children acting in a way that other children may be interested in. Furthermore, we noted that one of the complainants had the site safety mode activated, and could therefore have reasonably expected not to be served ads featuring strong
language or nudity. We concluded that, although Lions Gate had taken steps to ensure that the ad was targeted responsibly, it had ultimately not been targeted responsibly and the ad therefore breached the Code.
We told Lion's Gate
UK Ltd to ensure that future ads were appropriately targeted.
A poster for the perfume ROGUE by Rihanna, which was displayed on the doors of a lift in a shopping centre, featured an image of the pop star Rihanna sitting on the floor with her head and shoulders leaning against a wall and her legs raised
against a large bottle of perfume. Text at the top of the ad stated ROGUE by Rihanna .
One complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because:
it was overly sexual and demeaning to women; and
it featured a sexualised and provocative image, which was inappropriate for children to see.
1. Not upheld
The ASA noted that Rihanna appeared to be naked in the image and one of her buttocks was visible, with her legs raised. However, we also noted that she was
presented in such a way that she was mainly covered, and the image was not overtly sexual. We noted that Rihanna was depicted looking directly at the viewer and considered that her facial expression was one of defiance rather than vulnerability. We
considered that the overall impression of Rihanna created by the ad was one of confidence. We concluded that the ad was unlikely to be demeaning to women or to cause serious or widespread offence.
We noted the ad was not given a placement restriction and had appeared in a number of places where it was likely to be seen by children. While we did not consider the image to be overtly sexual, we considered that Rihanna's pose, with her legs raised in
the air, was provocative. Because of this, and the fact that Rihanna appeared to be naked except for high heels, we concluded that the ad was sexually suggestive and should have been given a placement restriction to reduce the possibility of it being
seen by children.
The ad must not appear again without a placement restriction to reduce the possibility of it being seen by children.
ASA has announced a new catchphrase to make every UK ad a responsible ad. The press release explains:
Our work resulted in 4,161 ads being changed or withdrawn, a record high. We received 31,136 complaints about 18,580
ads with, significantly, 31% of our caseload represented by online ads; perhaps reflecting the fact that advertisers continue to find new and innovative ways to advertise and engage with consumers through new channels. On top of that, our focus on
providing advertisers with the help to get their ads right saw CAP delivering training and advice on over 160,000 occasions, including recording 98,825 visits to its online advice resources.
As part of our ambition to make every
UK ad a responsible ad our Report also highlights our new five-year strategy and how we'll be placing even more emphasis on proactive work.
ASA has also also published its traditional list of top ten adverts for 2013. These are judged
according to the amount of complaints received by ASA.
VIP Electronic Cigarettes . 937 complaints upheld in part
Two TV ads and YouTube videos for e-cigarettes, one featuring a man and the other a woman talking directly to camera, prompted complaints that the use of
sexual innuendo was offensive because it was inappropriate for children, glamorised smoking and was sexist and degrading. Although it appeared post-9 pm we thought a post-11 pm restriction was more appropriate.
Marmite . 738 complaints not upheld
A TV and online ad campaign set in the style of a fly-on-the-wall documentary, followed rescue officers visiting people's houses looking for neglected jars of Marmite.
Viewers objected that the ads trivialised the work of child and animal abuse services and were irresponsible. We thought that it was light-hearted in tone and people were likely to understand that the ads were a spoof.
Flora Buttery Margarine . 513 complaints not upheld
An animated TV and online ad for Flora Buttery margarine featured two young siblings who, having prepared breakfast-in-bed for their parents, entered into their
bedroom to find them wrestling . We did not agree that the mild sexual references were irresponsible, offensive or inappropriate for children.
Home Office . 251 complaints Upheld in part
An ad that appeared on the side of vans driven through six London boroughs featured the text: In the UK illegally ? GO HOME OR FACE ARREST and quoted arrest statistics. After careful consideration, while the ad may have been distasteful
to many, we didn't think it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence. However, we did consider the ad was misleading because the arrest figures were not properly qualified or presented clearly.
Irn Bru . 223 complaints not upheld
A mother embarrassing her son by wearing a push-up bra and pressing his head against her bosom in front of his friends generated complaints that it was offensive, inappropriate, sexist, demeaning to women
and unsuitable for children to see. We thought the humour in the TV, YouTube, video-on-demand and online ad would not be to everyone's taste but was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
. 201 complaints not upheld
A TV and YouTube ad for Bertolli spread depicted a young man being left naked and covering his modesty after a group of older women, who were watching him change on the beach, got their dog to steal his towel.
Complainants thought the ad condoned sexual harassment and bullying, objectified the man, was inappropriate for children and portrayed the women negatively. Overall, we thought the ad was light-hearted and mischievous, rather than sinister or predatory.
Red Bull . 179 complaints not upheld
The central concept of this TV ad was that the captain of the Titanic should have allowed crates of the energy drink, Red Bull, on board as it gives
you wings . We received objections that it was offensive and inappropriate in light of the lives lost. In our view the ad referenced the well-known story that the Titanic was unsinkable rather than making light of the tragedy.
E45 Moisturiser . 167 complaints not upheld
When a young woman, sat in a darkened room, began talking about being hooked on a moisturising product this TV ad provoked an angry response that it made light
of, normalised and glamorised drug use. On the back of feedback it received from its customers the advertiser took the decision to withdraw the ad. On that basis we didn't take any further action.
Drink . 159 complaints upheld in part
Posters and the website for the energy drink generated complaints that the use of the word Pussy was a sexually explicit reference and was therefore offensive, degrading to women and unsuitable for
children. We agreed that one of the posters, which featured the word in large bold text, was likely to cause serious offence and was inappropriate in an untargeted medium.
Cancer Research UK . 154
complaints not upheld
This TV ad featured cancer sufferers and survivors addressing the camera and saying Cancer, you prat and Up yours, Cancer as well as an X-ray of hand making a v sign. Some viewers thought it was
offensive as well as being unsuitable for children. As the ad had a scheduling restriction that kept it way from children's programmes and because viewers were likely to interpret the phrases as a positive sign of defiance or courage when faced with the
disease we found it did not break the rules.
A TV ad for Durex condoms, broadcast during the film The Goonies at around 9.05 pm on Saturday 24 August, opened with a scene of a woman lying in a half-sunken boat which panned out to show her being caressed by a man. Both actors were
clothed. The ad cut to show another woman holding a condom packet in her hand. A voice-over said, Great sex is ... when it's so powerful you can't stop feeling the intensity all over. The woman in the boat then pushed the man partially underwater
and a bottle of sexual lubricant was seen falling through the water. Various scenes then showed couples in sensual embraces in locations including the half-sunken boat, a corral and a crowded bar. A dog was shown picking up and running off with some
underwear. The voice-over then said, When great sex moves you, nothing else matters. Love sex. The same text appeared on-screen, along with pack shots of a selection of sexual health products.
The ad had been cleared by
Clearcast with a post-9 pm scheduling restriction.
Three complainants challenged whether the ad was inappropriately scheduled, because it was shown during a film directed at or likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the
age of 16.
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
The ASA considered the content and nature of the product meant that it was not suitable for young children. We therefore considered the post-9 pm
scheduling restriction imposed by Clearcast was appropriate.
We acknowledged Watch's assertion that the ad was not overtly sexual. However, we noted that whilst the ad did not show nudity or sexual activity, it did contain scenes
that showed couples in sensual embraces and had included one scene that showed a woman who sat on top of a man, which could be interpreted as alluding to sexual activity. We also considered that the tone of the voice-over heightened the sensual nature of
the ad. We noted one scene featured a condom packet in an actor's hand which, in the overall context of the ad, we considered to be a clear reference to anticipated sexual activity.
We accepted that Watch had used the consolidated
data and we considered that could be a reasonable practice when formulating data for forecasting purposes, particularly when audiences could be low. The consolidated data supplied included previous films broadcast at a similar time as The Goonies and covered several months and days of the week, and we noted that that data showed that children in both the under and over ten age groups were not over-represented. We therefore considered that the broadcaster had taken diligent steps to predict the likely index scores. We also acknowledged that the broadcaster had taken into consideration the BBFC rating of the film as a likely indication of the age range of the audience.
Because the broadcaster had taken reasonable steps to ensure the ad was not broadcast in or adjacent to programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of 10, we
therefore concluded it was suitably scheduled.
Under the Communications Act 2003, Ofcom has a duty to set broadcast standards in advertising and to prevent the inclusion of advertising in licensed services that may be misleading, harmful or offensive.
In 2004, Ofcom contracted out certain
functions relating to the regulation of broadcast advertising content under co-regulatory arrangements with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Those arrangements expire later this year.
Ofcom now proposes to renew the existing arrangements
with minor changes for a further ten year period. The basis for possible renewal is set out in a letter [pdf]
and Memorandum of Understanding [pdf] to Lord Smith, Chairman of the ASA.
comments on our proposal to renew the existing co-regulatory arrangements and is keen to hear from all interested parties. Comments should be submitted by 17:00 on Friday 30 May 2014, addressed to:
Daniel Maher Content Standards, Licensing &
Enforcement Operations Manager Riverside House 2a Southwark Bridge Road London SE1 9HA or submitted by email: email@example.com.
A TV ad for a music compilation CD titled Trap , featured a young woman in leggings and a crop top dancing around a council estate.
Four complainants challenged whether the choreography was overtly sexual and demeaning
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
The ASA acknowledged that the ad contained scenes of dancing known as twerking . We noted that some scenes were filmed in slow motion, showing the
girl thrusting her pelvis in and out; particularly focusing on her crotch area and bottom, which we considered could be interpreted as being suggestive. However, we noted that in the context of an ad advertising a dance CD, the dancing would be regarded
as reflecting the genre of music that was being promoted. Furthermore, we noted that the girl was dancing alone and that there were no explicit sexual references in the ad. Therefore, while we considered that the choreography could be seen as suggestive,
we concluded that it was not overtly sexual or demeaning to women, likely to cause serious or widespread offence or likely to cause harm to children.
A radio ad for the film Devil's Due broadcast at 12.30 pm on Capital Radio London featured a female voice stating, We're having a baby , followed by the sound of cheering. Another female voice continued, Your body is going through a
beautiful transformation , followed by a male voice stating, I found these weird symbols and the sound of a record scratching. The voice-over stated, Nothing can prepare you and a separate male voice then stated, In early
Christianity they could use these symbols for summoning an Anti Christ , followed by the sound of whispers in an unknown language. A female voice stated, They are waiting , and the voice-over continued, For a new arrival . A male voice
then stated, This is the last hour @ The Anti Christ is coming and a male voice was heard shouting, Leave us alone , followed by a female voice screaming, Don't touch us . There was a high-pitched sound slowly increasing in volume
and the voice-over continued, Devil's Due, in cinemas now, rated 15 .
A listener challenged whether:
the ad, especially the vocal clips, were likely to cause distress; and
the ad had been scheduled inappropriately because it had been broadcast during the day and had been heard by their children.
ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld
1. Not upheld
The ASA noted that the general tone of the ad was of fear and menace, created by both the sound effects and the dialogue, but that
the content of the ad did not include any explicit violence or specific threat. Although we acknowledged that some adult viewers would be unsettled or disturbed by the ads, we did not consider that the ads went beyond what viewers would normally expect
from ads promoting a 15-certificate horror film and we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause distress to adult viewers.
2. Not upheld
We agreed with the RACC that the ominous nature of the ad meant
that it should have been scheduled away from times when under 16-year-olds were likely to be listening in order to minimise the possibility of children hearing the ad. We understood that there was only limited RAJAR information available for the numbers
of children listening to the radio, but noted that This is Global had consulted RAJAR figures for the time that the ad was aired prior to scheduling the ad and those figures had shown that the under-16 segment that could be identified (children aged 10
to 15 years) comprised typically 7% of the audience. Further, we noted that RAJAR figures for the specific day and time that the ad was broadcast showed that only 3% of the listening audience were 10 to 15 years old, which we considered minimal. We
concluded that the scheduling advice given by the RACC was appropriate and that it had been applied responsibly by the broadcasters, and that the ad therefore did not breach the Code.
An online trailer for the film Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones , which played before games on www.girlsgogames.com, began with a woman saying, What is this? and a man replying, It's some black magic stuff . A number of brief
scenes from the film followed, including a sheet flying quickly towards the camera, a man pulling a long thread from his eye, something smashing through the window of car, objects flying around a living room as a woman screamed, arms breaking through a
door, a girl looking through a trapdoor and being grabbed by the arm, a close-up of a woman looking frightened, and two young girls with a ghostly appearance and no eyes speaking in demonic voices. The ad also featured night vision clips of cinema
audience members screaming, shielding their eyes and looking frightened. On-screen text interspersed between scenes stated NEW YEAR ... NEW FEAR . Issue
The complainant challenged whether the ad had been responsibly
targeted, because it was likely to be seen by children and would cause them harm and distress.
ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld
The ASA considered the overall tone and the content of the ad, including in
particular the scene of two young girls with a ghostly appearance and no eyes speaking in demonic voices, was likely to cause harm and distress to children.
We acknowledged Paramount Pictures UK had instructed their media buying
agency to buy online advertising space aimed at 16- to 24-year-olds, and that the ad should only be served between 8 pm and 6 am. We considered, however, that the Girls Go Games website was, due to its overall design and the type of games it featured,
likely to have strong appeal to children, and to young girls in particular. We noted that according to SPIL Games BV, 32% of users of the Girls Go Games website were 12 years of age and under, which we considered to be a significant percentage of the
website's users. We also noted that 61% of website users were between 13 and 22 years of age, and we considered it likely that a significant portion of websites users in that age group would fall into the lower end of that age range, given the design of
the website and types of games featured.
Because the ad had been targeted to a website which was used by a significant proportion of children, and we considered the ad was not suitable for children, we concluded it had not been
A TV ad, for the computer game Dead Rising 3 , presented in the style of a news broadcast featured the newsreader with blood on her clothes and in her hair. Partial text on screen stated ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE . The camera shook and studio
lights flickered; a zombie shadow was seen in the background and the shaking legs of another zombie were shown sticking up from the floor. The newsreader described a possible saviour for mankind before she slumped forward, splattering blood.
Straightening up, she was revealed as a white faced, bloodied zombie, before she lurched towards the camera. Small monitor screens on the right of the screen showed clips from the game throughout the ad.
The ad was cleared by
Clearcast with a post-9 pm restriction.
Three viewers challenged whether the ad was suitable for broadcast, because of the distressing and graphic images.
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
The ASA noted the ad was intended for a post-9 pm audience and had been scheduled during a season of horror, science fiction and action programmes where the zombie theme would not appear out of place. Although there were some elements
of horror in the ad with the blood splattered newsreader transforming into a white faced zombie lurching towards the camera, we considered that the clearly over-the-top acting and comic tone, such as a pair of shaking legs sticking up from the floor,
removed any real element of horror or distress from the ad. We also noted the ad did not include any violence or graphic horror action.
We acknowledged that the ad would not be suitable for a younger audience, who would be
unlikely to understand the comic nature of the ad, but concluded that the ad was not unsuitable for broadcast after 9pm.
Two TV ads, for a women's clothing company, Missguided, featured a young woman posing in different outfits to the song Jack with the repeated lyrics I want your body, everybody wants your body, so let's Jack.
Two viewers challenged whether the ads were sexually suggestive and inappropriate for broadcast when children might be watching.
One viewer challenged whether the ads were suitable for broadcast before
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
The ASA noted the model was shown posing in different outfits, but considered that her stance consisted of traditional model poses used to accentuate the clothing, rather
than being sexually suggestive. Although the model was briefly shown pouting at the camera, we considered that her action was only mildly sexual in nature and the quick shot was unlikely to be understood by children. The outfits featured in the ads were
not particularly revealing, other than a leotard that showed more of the model's legs than the other clothing, but nonetheless there was no sexual connotation attached to the garment.
We understood that the song played during the
ads referred to a style of dance. Although the lyrics were open to mild sexual interpretation, we considered that very young children would be unlikely to understand that allusion and the song was not unsuitable for older children, many already likely to
be familiar with the song and its dance based lyrics.
We considered that the ads were not sexually explicit or suggestive and were unlikely to cause harm to children or to a more general audience. We therefore concluded that the
ads were suitable to be broadcast at anytime.
An internet banner ad seen on eBay, promoting the online retail store, Lightinthebox.com, featured three sets of images of women wearing thongs in a variety of poses and one image of a woman wearing a flesh-coloured bra.
complainant, who considered that the images were overtly sexual, challenged whether the ad was:
inappropriate for display in an untargeted manner.
Lightinthebox (UK) Ltd did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.
Ebay stated that following notification of the complaint by the ASA they had removed the ad from their website.
Assessment: Complaints upheld
The ASA was concerned by Lightinthebox (UK) Ltd's lack of substantive response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of
their responsibility to provide a substantive response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
The first image showed a partially transparent black thong from both the front and back. In the photograph taken from the
front, the model's pubic hair was visible through the fabric, and in the photograph taken from behind her buttocks were entirely uncovered. The second image showed a white thong from both the front and the back and the third showed the lower torso and
groin area of a woman lying on her back, with her knees bent and her legs partially apart, pulling at the sides of a black thong. The fourth image featured the upper torso of a woman wearing a flesh-coloured bra.
We noted that the
ad had appeared on the website of a popular online auction company and understood that it had not been targeted towards any specific audience. Although ads for lingerie might reasonably feature women in limited amounts of clothing, we considered that the
models' poses and the use in all but one instance of close-up photographs focusing on the buttocks or groin area rendered the content of the ad overtly sexual. We concluded that that content was likely to cause widespread offence in the context in which
it appeared and was unsuitable for untargeted display.
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We referred the matter to CAP's Compliance team.
Surely alcohol enhances confidence, is integral to the success of a social event, and is certainly capable of changing mood or behaviour...But...ASA won't allow advertisers to mention the bleedin' obvious. ASA writes:
page for WKD showed various ads:
a. A post featured an image which stated WKD 8 BALL Weekend Prediction YOU WILL REFUSE TO DO KARAOKE. AT FIRST and showed a bottle of WKD.
b. Information in the advertiser's About section
stated Where there's good times, there's WKD. We're all about getting together with the best people and enjoying yourself - especially at the weekend. Like us and get involved! .
c. A post stated HAIRCUT? [tick]
WKD? [tick] UGLY MATE TO MAKE YOU LOOK BETTER? [tick] Have you got a WKD side? and showed a bottle of WKD.
d. Three images showed a cartoon character dressed in a suit and tie and a hat which stated HEAD OF WKD
WEEKENDS across the top. The first was used as the background photo for the Facebook page. The second was used alongside the text DON'T MESS WITH CATHERINE WHEELS. HER BOYFRIEND'S MASSIVE . The third was used alongside the text REMEMBER,
REMEMBER, THE 5TH OF NOVEMBER. IS BIN DAY . Issue
The Youth Alcohol Advertising Council challenged whether the ads were irresponsible, because:
Ad (a) implied that alcohol could enhance confidence;
Ad (a) suggested that alcohol was capable of changing mood and behaviour;
Ads (a), (b) and (c) suggested that alcohol
was a key component of the success of a social event; and
Ads (c) and (d) were likely to appeal to under 18-year-olds and youth culture. CAP Code (Edition 12) 1.318.1418.218.318.7 Response
1. & 2. Upheld
The ASA acknowledged Beverage Brand's willingness to make changes and that ad (a) did not show alcohol being consumed. However, we considered it was
clearly an ad for a brand of alcoholic drink and noted that a bottle of WKD was prominently shown. We considered British consumers were likely to understand karaoke to be an activity that often took place after alcohol had been consumed and that, in some
instances, reluctance to participate might be lessened after drinking alcohol. We considered that, particularly in the context of an ad for an alcoholic drink, the text YOU WILL REFUSE TO DO KARAOKE. AT FIRST was likely to be interpreted as
suggesting that alcohol could enhance confidence and was also capable of changing mood and behaviour. We therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code.
We considered ad (a) was likely to be
interpreted to mean that those at a social occasion involving karaoke would be willing to participate only once they had consumed alcohol. We therefore considered it implied that alcohol was a key component of the success of that occasion.
We noted ad (b) included general references to the weekend and to socialising with friends. However, we considered the text Where there's good times, there's WKD , which also appeared under the image of a man in a hat labelled
HEAD OF WKD WEEKENDS and images of the products, was likely to be understood to mean that successful weekends involved the alcoholic drink WKD. We therefore considered it implied that alcohol was a key component of the success of social occasions.
We noted ad (c) presented a checklist, which showed elements that related to a social occasion next to ticks. We considered the ad would be understood to mean that WKD, the alcoholic drink referred to in the list and also shown
prominently in the accompanying image, was an important element of the social occasion in question. We therefore considered ad (c) also implied alcohol was a key component of the success of a social occasion.
For the reasons
given, we concluded that the ads breached the Code.
4. Not upheld
We considered ad (c), by referring to an UGLY MATE TO MAKE YOU LOOK BETTER , could be seen as a reflection of an immature mentality
in those interested in meeting members of the opposite sex on a night out. However, we considered the ad, which was available to view only by those aged over 18, was not likely to have particular appeal to under-18s by reflecting or being associated with
We noted ad (d), which was also available to view only by those over 18, showed brightly coloured drinks, lights and fireworks, and that the use of cartoons in general could appeal to children. We considered the
image of a male character in a suit, and wearing dark sunglasses and a hat, although cartoon-like in appearance, was also not such that it was likely to have particular appeal to under-18s. We also considered the overall impression of the ad, while light
hearted and colourful, was such that it was clearly intended to appeal to those interested in adult social occasions, rather than having particular appeal to under-18s.
Ads (a), (b) and (c) must not appear again in their current
form. We told Beverage Brands (UK) Ltd to ensure their future advertising did not imply alcohol could enhance confidence, was integral to the success of a social event, or was capable of changing mood or behaviour.