A radio ad for Newsquest Media (Southern) Ltd t/a S1 Cars featured two women talking. One said to the other, Remember when I told you about that problem ... well, the flashing hasn't stopped and I'm really regretting that full body wax now. The other
replied, Ugh, I did that once. I'm still aching. Have you tried online? What about this one? The first woman said, Look at that body. Now that is a total ride. All it needs is a quick spit and polish. Yeah not too old and a right go-er I'll bet. Oh and I
love all that leather. Her friend replied, See, you just need to know where to look. A male voice stated, With a huge range of makes, models and prices, you're guaranteed to find a total ride at S1Cars.com.
Six complainants, who
believed the sexual innuendo in the ad was likely to cause offence, challenged whether the ad breached the Code.
Assessment: Complaints not upheld
The ASA noted that the ad featured two women ostensibly
talking about used cars that they were viewing online, and that the ad contained sexual innuendo, for example, references to Now look at that body. That is a total ride, All it needs is a quick spit and polish and a right go-er I'll bet. We also noted
that the voice-over at the end said, ... you're guaranteed to find a total ride at s1Cars.com. We understood that the term a total ride was slang in Scotland, where the ad was broadcast, for someone who was sexually attractive. We considered that the
innuendo in the ad was relatively mild and light-hearted, and whilst some listeners may have found it distasteful or coarse, it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
Two ads for Lewis Oliver Estates, an estate agent, seen in April and June 2018:
a. A poster ad featured an image of a topless man wearing fitted boxer shorts. The image was cropped so that only the model's torso and thighs were visible. Text stated WOW! WHAT A PACKAGE. A roundel containing the text Fully
managed letting service was placed over the model's crotch.
b. A leaflet featured the same image and text as ad (a).Issue
Two complainants, who believed that the image was irrelevant to the service being advertised and objectified the man, objected that the ad was offensive.
ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld
The ASA noted that the ad was for an estate agent, and the image of a topless man bore no relation to the product being advertised. While the pose was only mildly suggestive in nature, we noted that the man's head was cropped out of
the picture, which invited viewers to focus on his body. We considered that the phrase WOW! WHAT A PACKAGE, in combination with the service information placed over the model's crotch, was a clear reference to male genitalia. Taking the image, strapline
and placement of the roundel into account, we considered that the ad was likely to have the effect of objectifying the man by using his physical features to draw attention to an unrelated product. We concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious
offence to some people.
The ads must not appear again in the forms complained about. We told Lewis Oliver Estates Ltd not to portray men in a manner that objectified them and was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
A TV ad for Boost, an energy provider, seen in February 2018, promoted a prepayment energy smart meter. The ad began with a woman holding a torch whilst trying to turn on her light switch. The next scene featured an Asian man standing in a Kung Fu
stance in a yellow jumpsuit similar to the jumpsuits worn by Bruce Lee. On-screen yellow text stated BOOST LEE IN 'FINGER OF FURY' accompanied by Chinese text which translated to finger of fury. Smaller on-screen text stated MMXVIII Bruce Lee Rights/TM
Bruce Lee Enterprises. The man screamed and held his phone out saying Tap me. The woman then also screamed and performed a Kung Fu action and tapped the phone. The next scene showed the man teaching the woman how to perform Kung Fu actions whilst saying,
It's like a finger pointing away to the bulb. Concentrate on the finger or you will miss all the heavenly glory. Top up your power anytime, anywhere with Boost pay as you go energy. Don't think, switch.Issue
A complainant, who
believed the ad featured outdated racial stereotypes, challenged whether the ad was offensive and condoned harmful discriminatory behaviour and was scheduled inappropriately.
ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld
The ASA noted that the ad featured a character named Boost Lee wearing a yellow jumpsuit, teaching martial arts. The character was seen performing different Kung Fu stances while screaming and encouraging the female character to mimic
those actions. We considered that viewers would understand that the character was intended to resemble Bruce Lee.
We understood the complainant was concerned that the comedic portrayal of Bruce Lee in that manner, including the
use of an exaggerated Chinese accent with Ku Fung screams perpetuated the racial stereotype that all Chinese people were Kung Fu experts and spoke in a similar style. However, we noted that the ad did not contain any general references to Chinese people
and therefore considered that viewers were likely to understand that the ad was specifically parodying Bruce Lee rather than Chinese people generally. We considered the ad was likely to be interpreted as light-hearted and humorous and therefore was
unlikely to encourage the mocking or belittling of Chinese people.
We further considered that because the ad did not contain anything derogatory and did not mock Chinese people, the content of the ad was suitable for children to
see and therefore did not require a scheduling restriction.
We concluded that the ad did not condone or encourage harmful discriminatory behaviour or treatment of Chinese people and was unlikely to cause serious or widespread
offence. We also concluded that the ad was scheduled appropriately.