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Advertising News

2010: April-June

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30th June   

Butt Sensitive...

Bikini bus adverts banned in Manhattan's jewish districts
Link Here

The makers of Georgi Vodka have staged a demonstration complete with bikinis, booze, and a lawyer crying constitutional foul. They paid a handful of scantily clad babes to rally outside a bus depot on Manhattan's West Side.

The purpose of the protest, says the vodka company, was to shame the Manhattan Transport Authority (MTA) into reversing it's policy of accommodation when religious groups request racy ads be removed from buses in Hasidic Jewish neighborhoods.

At issue in this case are 2 ads featuring vodka bottles nestled next to buxom butts covered by white bikini bottoms. Georgi Vodka distillers say the ad is tasteful and the MTA ban is censorship and an infringement their First Amendment rights.

The bikini ad ban applies to buses at three depots in Brooklyn which have been accommodating the borough's Hasidic leaders for a decade now.


29th June   

Ads Given a Break...

R18s can be advertised on encrypted adult TV channels from 1st September
Link Here

Currently adverts for porn products are banned from TV, including cable and satellite.

From 1st September 2010, the rules will loosen up a bit.

On radio, softcore products may be advertised between 10pm and 5:30am but the adverts have to be centrally cleared

On TV, adverts for softcore/hardcore products are allowed only on encrypted adult channels. The adverts themselves must never feature hardcore but may be softcore between 10pm and 5:30am.

The published CAP rules seem to be a bit mis-numbered and mangled though:


30.1 Radio Central Copy Clearance Advertisements for products coming within the recognised character of pornography may be broadcast only if they are centrally cleared.

30.2 Radio advertisements for R18-rated material are not permitted.

30.3 Television only Advertisements for products coming within the recognised character of pornography are permitted behind mandatory restricted access on adult entertainment channels only.

30.3.1 Television only Advertisements must not feature R18-rated material or its equivalent. That does not preclude advertisements for R18-rated material or its equivalent behind mandatory restricted access on adult entertainment channels.

30.3.2 Television only Advertisements permitted under rules 30.2 and 30.2.1 must not feature material that comes within the recognised character of pornography before 10.00pm or after 5.30am.

30.3.3 Radio advertisements for R18-rated material are not permitted.


19th June   

Update: Immaculately Conceived...

Pregnant nun ice cream advert has the desired effect
Link Here
Full story: Antonio Federici Ice Cream...Ice cream adverts wind up the nutters

A controversy-courting Italian ice-cream maker has run an advert featuring a heavily pregnant nun with the strapline immaculately conceived .

40 people have complained to the advertising censors of the ASA saying that it is offensive to Christians because it mocks the birth of Jesus.

The ad, which is featured in magazines The Lady and Grazia, features a pregnant nun enjoying a pot of Antonio Federici ice-cream.

The Advertising Standards Authority has launched an investigation to see if the campaign breaks the advertising code on the grounds of taste and decency.

Matt O'Connor, creative director at the ice-cream company, argued that it is an intelligent, challenging and iconoclastic piece of advertising . O'Connor, who points out that he is an Irish Catholic himself.


18th June   

New Orleans Survives the Daily Mail...

Tourism organisation takes note of the whingeing Daily Mail
Link Here

New Orleans is worried that BP oil spill may be putting off tourists to the city and so initiated an advertising campaign to assure visitors that New Orleans parties on.

Referring to historical battles with Britain, their print ad featured a picture of Jackson Square and read, This isn't the 1st time New Orleans has survived the British.

They ran briefly but in very limited distribution, said Steve Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. Frankly, we've gotten notes that people loved it.

But the UK's Daily Mail newspaper was not impressed and called it an anti-British campaign .

New Orleans is now choosing to pull the print advertisement that was slated to run in major newspapers and magazines across the country. A television ad baring the same phrase has also been nixed.

You don't want to do something that's making some folks uncomfortable, said Perry: So we decided we had so many other good ones, we'll just go with those.


17th June   

From ASA With Love...

ASA dismisses whinges about poster for From Paris With Love
Link Here

A poster, for the film From Paris With Love, showed the actors John Travolta, holding a rocket launcher, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, holding a hand gun. Text stated TWO AGENTS. ONE CITY. NO MERCI . The quote TRAVOLTA KICKS ASS , attributed to Nuts , appeared at the top of the ad. Issue

One complainant, who thought the ad had been designed to make the firearms look prominent and the actors holding them look sexy or glamorous, objected that the ad irresponsibly glamorised and condoned the use of violence and guns.

Warner Bros. Entertainment UK (Warner Bros.) said the UK poster campaign for the cinema release of From Paris With Love was prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers, because they amended the global artwork for the advertising of the film by reducing the prominence of the weapons and ensuring they were not pointed at the viewer. They argued that the weapons were not held in a threatening or aggressive manner, and the actors were not in an action pose.

ASA Decision: Not upheld

The ASA considered that, although the rocket launcher was prominent in the ad, it was not representative of realistic street violence or gun crime, whereas the gun was less prominent and was held by a character whose face was turned to the side. Neither weapon was pointing at the viewer. We considered the weapons were not presented in a sexy or aspirational way and the manner in which they were held, by characters with relatively neutral or contemplative expressions who were not looking directly at the viewer, was unlikely to be seen either as glamorous or as displaying aggression. We noted TRAVOLTA KICKS ASS was a quote from a magazine review and could be interpreted as a film reviewer's opinion about John Travolta's performance as an actor, not a reference to his character's use of weapons.

We considered that the ad would not be seen as suggesting that the use of violence and weapons in real life was desirable or acceptable. We concluded that the ad did not go too far in its depiction of the film's content and was unlikely to be seen as irresponsible or as glamorising and condoning the use of violence and guns.


17th June   

Football Worship...

Church of Football advert taken down after catholics complain
Link Here

In its recent attempt to capture that ever-important viral video demographic, Hyundai created a World Cup commercial which it first released on YouTube, in which, among other things, worshippers take Eucharist on their knees receiving slices of pizza rather than communion.

It's now been pulled by Hyundai after certain Catholic groups complained.

The ad begins with Latin singing in an Argentine church complete with a stained-glass window of a soccer ball. Worshippers (mocking the religious devotion some in Argentina have for the game) are taking Eucharist on their knees receiving slices of pizza rather that communion. The commercial also shows a soccer ball covered with a crown of thorns. It's all based, says Hyundai, on the Iglesia Maradoniana - the Maradona Church - in which followers worship Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona.

The commercial aired on TV during the US-England game, provoking the largest uproar.  This ad is an outrageous affront to Catholics and a mockery of our most sacred beliefs and practices, said Fr. Marcel Taillon, a parish priest in Rhode Island.

It's one thing to gently poke fun at extreme devotion to sports, Deacon Greg Kandra wrote on It's another to satirize Holy Mass by ridiculing its symbols, sacramentals and gestures.

It didn't take Hyundai long to apologise:

We take comments of this nature very seriously. Because of feedback like yours, we have removed the ad from all Hyundai communications and stopped airing it.

We credit the passionate World Cup viewers and Hyundai owners for raising this issue to us. The unexpected response created by the ad, which combined both soccer and religious motifs to speak to the passion of international soccer fans, prompted us to take a more critical and informed look at the spot. Though unintentional, we now see it was insensitive. We appreciate your feedback and hope you will accept our sincere apologies.

The ad is gone. But the awesome idea of serving pizza during communion lives on.


13th June   

Playing Guess the Nutter...

London bikini advertising posters defaced
Link Here

Street adverts featuring women in bikinis have been defaced in apparently targeted attacks.

Most show women in swimwear by chain store H&M but another features a couple kissing to promote the Bollywood film Kites .

London residents suggested the images, which were daubed with black paint, could have been targeted by either religious or feminist nutters.

Women's rights and anti-censorship activists joined Muslims and Christians to condemn the vandals.

Police said 14 bus shelters around Tower Hamlets, including many in Limehouse, were hit last month. Residents told of similar damage in Waltham Forest. One said: It seems to be a dedicated group who obviously have some serious issues with these adverts.

After finding the black paint could be easily removed, the vandals switched to a sticky, tar-like substance which is harder to scrub off.

Agnes Callamard, of Article 19, a London-based organisation combating censorship, said: While one may dislike some ads and find them offensive, this cannot be a basis for blacking out' the picture.

Avedon Carol, of Feminists Against Censorship, said: The idea that somehow the image of women being sexy spreads all sorts of horribleness is reactionary and anti-women.


12th June   

Old Fogies Conservation Area...

Whinges about Ramsgate hairdressing poster
Link Here

A hairdresser from Kent has been ordered to take down a billboard poster of his wife after a resident complained about it showing so much cleavage .

Marcello Marino put up the poster of his wife Yaice on the side of his salon because it was lively and modern . It's my wife, she's beautiful, and why not? With the recession, everybody's struggling and it's just nice having something more lively and modern.

Before I put it up I did a survey with my customers and a few of the older ones said it was a little bit too much, but the majority said it was really nice.

Jocelyn McCarthy, of the Ramsgate Society, said it was distasteful to show so much cleavage on a public building .

Thanet District Council confirmed it had received a complaint and told Marino to take it down because he did not have planning permission.

A council spokeswoman said: For a banner of this size and location, planning permission to display an advert is required. We have written to the owner explaining this, and also that planning permission for this advert would be unlikely as the property is in a conservation area.


9th June   

See What You've Been Missing...

Fox News get wound up by glossy magazine advert with penis shadow
Link Here

Miami Living magazine has published an ad featuring the shadow of a penis.

The ad, for dating service, appears in the magazine's Spring/Summer issue, which features Courteney Cox on its cover. It features two lingerie-clad women; a penis-shaped shadow appears over the chest of one of the women. The circle and arrow were added by are not in the original advert.

Did they not see this, or have magazines become so desperate for ad space that they'll 'overlook' something like this? media and publishing 'expert' Penny C. Sansevieri asked But I find that every time something like this happens it elevates the exposure, good or bad - and issues will get snapped up very quickly.

A rep for the dating site told that they never expected the ad to be approved:

When we created the ad, we never imagined a magazine like Miami Living would approve it, but judging by the amount of sign-ups we received since the magazine has come out, this 'shadow penis' ad seems to work and might become a staple of our campaign, the rep said.

The magazine has apologized for running the penis shadow ad. In a statement to Fox News, editor-in-chief Vanessa Pascale said:

This was just now brought to our attention. Miami Living magazine would like to apologise for not noticing the image. We hope that our audience recognises that we were just as surprised as they were to find this out. I myself have looked over the magazine dozens of times [prior to this being brought to my attention] and did not detect anything hidden in the ad, which leads me to believe that must have tipped someone off as a publicity stunt. We trusted them as an advertiser. Miami Living magazine intends to review future ads more carefully so that something like this does not happen again.


4th June   

Update: A Cure for Bullshit...

ASA censures religious centre for nonsense claims of miraculous healing
Link Here
Full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters

A circular for Mount Zion Restoration Ministries was headlined Come and See and had the strapline Real life testimonies from London Miracle Centre . The front cover featured pictures of three individuals, whose testimonies of miraculous and prayer-assisted healing were printed inside the circular, under the headings Miraculously Healed after Near Fatal Car Accident , Cancerous Cells Disappear After Prophetic Healing Service and Miraculously Healed of Cancer . The front cover also featured a picture of a man in a tuxedo with the caption 'Jesus Wants the Best for You in Life' Senior Pastor, Dr Abraham . The same picture appeared again inside the circular with the caption Senior Pastor: Dr Abraham Daniel-Joel . Issue

One reader challenged whether the:

  1. advertiser could substantiate the claims that they had cured cancer and the serious complications suffered by the car accident victim;
  2. ad was irresponsible and could discourage people from seeking essential medical treatment for serious medical conditions; and,
  3. use of the term Dr misleadingly implied that Dr Abraham Daniel-Joel held a general medical qualification.
  4. The ASA challenged whether the testimonials featured in the ad were genuine and could be independently verified.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

1. Upheld

We noted that the ad featured three testimonials that claimed Dr Abraham had cured cancer and serious head injuries sustained in a road accident. However, we also noted that we had not seen robust, independent evidence that demonstrated that Dr Abraham had successfully treated these conditions. We therefore concluded that on this point the ad was misleading.

2. Upheld

We noted that the ad stated ... I have seen the dead raised and I have witnessed nearly all types of healing miracles. Church ministries are like restaurants. Here ... we serve miracles. We also noted that the testimonials referred to series medical conditions, and suggested that Dr Abraham's healing abilities were responsible for curing them. Two of those testimonials also described explicit refusals to visit a GP, go to hospital or undergo emergency surgery. We therefore considered that the ad implied that Dr Abraham was able to treat serious medical conditions by healing alone, and we concluded that the ad could therefore discourage some people from seeking essential medical treatment for serious medical conditions.

3. Upheld

The ASA noted Mount Zions explanation that Abraham Daniel Joel had a PhD in Computational Fluid Dynamics. However, we considered that consumers were likely to understand the term Dr to mean that Abraham Daniel-Joel held a general medical qualification. Because we understood that was not the case we concluded that the use of the term Dr was misleading.

4. Upheld

We noted that the CAP Code required advertisers to hold signed and dated proof for any testimonial that they used, and stated that claims made in testimonials must be supported by independent evidence of their accuracy. Because we had not seen signed and dated copies of the testimonials used in the ad, or independent evidence that verified the claims made in them, we concluded that the testimonials were misleading.


3rd June   

Update: Game Over for Chicago Buses...

Chicago Transit Authority ban on mature games adverts found to be unconstitutional
Link Here
Full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) won a partial victory earlier this year by obtaining a temporary injunction against the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) over an ordinance that attempted to prohibit Mature (M)-rated game advertisements

A Judge has now permanently banned the CTA from enforcing or directing enforcement of the ordinance. In a ruling handed down on May 17 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ordered judgment against the CTA.  It was also ruled that the ESA was entitled to recoup reasonable attorneys' fees and costs related to the lawsuit.

Ordinance 008-147 took effect in January of 2009 and prohibited any advertisement that markets or identifies a video or computer game rated 'Mature 17+' (M) or 'Adults Only 18+' (AO). The ESA had argued that such a ban was unconstitutional.


2nd June   

'King Whingers...

ASA reject complaints about Burger King adverts
Link Here

Three posters and an internet ad promoted a burger chain.

a. One poster showed an image of a burger next to text that stated KING TASTY . Smaller text stated BK ANGUS. TASTE IS KING next to the Burger King logo.

b. Another poster was the same, but stated KING DELICIOUS .

c. A third poster was the same, but stated KING GREAT .

d. An internet audio ad, played on the music streaming site Spotify featured a conversation between a traffic warden and a motorist. The motorist said Oh officer don't give us a ticket, I was just getting some king lunch. The traffic warden said I can see that and it looks king good. The motorist said Yeah it's the new three cheese Angus from Burger King. King delicious. The traffic warden said That's a lot of king beef and cheese for sure, but I'm sorry there's no king parking here. The motorist said But I was only gone for a king minute. The traffic warden said Tell you what, give me that king burger and we'll forget about it. You can park on King Street and go back to the king restaurant. The motorist said Huh, what a king pain. and drove off. The traffic warden called out Don't forget your king seatbelt, sir! A voice-over then described the burger being advertised and stated King tasty.

52 complainants objected to the ads because they felt that the use of king in the ads was a reference to a swear word.

  1. 48 complainants challenged whether ads (a), (b) and (c) were offensive
  2. 13 complainants challenged whether ads (a), (b) and (c) were unsuitable for children to see
  3. Nine complainants challenged whether ad (d) was offensive
  4. Six complainants challenged whether ad (d) was unsuitable for children

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that the image of the burger and the word KING could be understood to represent the advertisers name, but acknowledged that some readers might infer that the burger also represented a swear word and considered that that association might be distasteful to some readers. We noted, however, that the posters did not feature any explicit bad language.

Although we considered that the ads were likely to be seen as distasteful to some, because they did not include any explicit bad language, we concluded that they were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

2. Not upheld

We noted that the ads did not include any explicit bad language and considered that it was unlikely that younger children would interpret the image of the burger to represent a swear word, or that they would understand that interpretation of the ads. Although we acknowledged that some older children might infer that the burger represented a swear word, rather than the advertisers name, we considered that most children were unlikely to associate the burger image with bad language. Because the ad did not feature an explicit swear word, but an image of a burger, we concluded that the ads were unlikely to cause harm to children.

3. Not upheld

We understood that the ad was delivered to adults aged 18 and over on Spotify and noted it contained a familiar yet comic situation, in which a traffic warden was prepared to ignore a parking offence in exchange for a motorists Burger King burger. We noted that the ad contained a number of references to king and considered that those could be interpreted to represent a swear word, but that, in most instances, that reference also related to the advertisers name. Although we acknowledged that some listeners might find the ad to be in poor taste, because it was a comic scenario directed to an adult listenership and because it did not include any explicit swearing, we concluded the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

4. Not upheld

We understood that Spotify was a subscription service and that users had to provide a date of birth when registering and confirm that they were 18 years of age or older, or 12 years of age or older and had received their parents or guardians consent to subscribe. We understood that Spotify targeted ads according to the age of its users and that the Burger King ad was only delivered to users who were registered as being 18 or over. We therefore considered that the advertiser had ensured there were adequate restrictions in place to avoid the ad being delivered to under 18-year-olds.

Because we considered the ad was unlikely to be heard by children, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or harm to children.


31st May   

Council Bums...

Glasgow Council whinges at Reebok taxi advert
Link Here

A taxi advert for new Reebok trainers has been refused by council prudes in Glasgow because it was deemed too racy and contained the word bum .

The EasyTone running shoes advert showed woman's legs with the slogan: Better Legs And Bum With Every Step .

The city council's licensing and regulatory committee voted against it.

A director from applicant Greaves Sports was removed from the meeting after saying taxi ads promoting lap dancing bars had been allowed. Stephen McCranor, director of communications at Greaves Sports, also pointed out that taxi adverts for holiday companies featured bikini-clad woman, and adverts for council-run gymnasiums even featured the word bum . Reebok taxi advert The advert would have been displayed on Glasgow taxis

McCranor said: The committee seemed to object on moral grounds due to the use of bare legs, which is ironic when you come out of City Chambers and see taxis on the road advertising lap dancing venues. We're simply advertising a pair of shoes which helps tone up your legs and backside, in line with a global campaign run by Reebok.

Councillor Gilbert Davidson, who chaired the licensing and regulatory committee meeting, said: The committee considers each advert on its own merits and, if necessary, takes a democratic vote on whether it should be approved. On this occasion, the majority view was that some of the text - and also the image, which showed a pair of bare legs from just below the backside - were not appropriate.


29th May   

Update: Calling for a Termination...

Campaigners call for ban on TV advert for abortion services
Link Here

An advert offering abortion services will be shown for the first time on British television next week.

Last year the authorities changed their code of practice to allow condoms to be advertised on television in an attempt to reduce teenage and unwanted pregnancies. However, they postponed a decision on whether to allow abortion, or post-conception , services to advertise because the issue was too controversial.

The new advert shows images of various women whose period is late and are wondering what to do. The first advert will run at 10.10pm on Channel 4 on Monday and the campaign will continue until the end of next month.

The organisation that pre-vets TV ads, Clearcast UK, has not imposed any restrictions on the time of day it can be aired except that it is not to be shown around children's programmes.

Marie Stopes International, a charity that carries out about 65,000 terminations a year at its British clinics, said that it wanted to encourage people to speak more openly about abortion, and reach the widest possible audience with information about its services.

Julie Douglas, marketing manager at Marie Stopes, said that the advert made clear that termination was one of the services that Marie Stopes offered, although the term abortion was not used. The ad features ordinary women who are not sure what to do if their period is late. All women will recognise that message. We do not use the term 'abortion' because we would never assume someone wants an abortion.

Anti-abortion campaigners said they deplored the campaign. I can only express utter disbelief that this is being allowed, said Michaela Aston, a spokeswoman for Life.

To allow abortion providers to advertise on TV, as though they were no different from car companies or detergent manufacturers, is grotesque. By suggesting that abortion is yet another consumer choice, it trivialises human life and completely contravenes the spirit of the 1967 Abortion Act. Whatever your opinion of the procedure . . . it is ending a human life.

Campaigners also claim that the availability of abortion has encouraged more teenagers to have sex without contraception, and prevented progress in reducing the number of teenage pregnancies. The British rate is among the highest in Europe.

Vivianne Pattison of Mediawatch UK, said: We are not a pro-life group but we do have issues with this because women with an unplanned pregnancy are in a vulnerable position.

Based on article from

Channel 4, as a publicly-funded broadcaster, needs to reassure people that it is not going to take sides on one of the most controversial issues in British culture, said Simon Calvert, of The Christian Institute.

He added: The public and Parliament are split right down the middle on this. Why on earth can't the regulator stop the advertising of abortion services on TV until there has been proper consideration?

Calvert said: People will be shocked to know how much public money is given to Marie Stopes to carry out abortions for the NHS: They will be more shocked some of that money is being used to promote the pro-abortion agenda.

Comment: Nutters 'Shocked'

From Dan

"Marie Stopes should not be allowed to 'ride roughshod over the widely held and deeply felt objections of a very large section of the British public', said Mr Calvert".

Yeah a bunch of God botherers who think their religious beliefs gives them the right to dictate what women can and cannot do with their bodies makes up a very large section of the British public.

"People will be shocked to know how much public money is given to Marie Stopes to carry out abortions for the NHS".

Or rather they might be reassured that the NHS is helping an organsation give help to young and frightened women who need help!

Update: ASA receive 300 complaints

29th May 2010. Based on article from

The first totally innocuous UK TV commercial offering advice on abortion services has generated 350 complaints to the advert censor, the ASA.

Launched on Monday night on Channel 4 at 10.10pm, the ad for sexual health charity Marie Stopes simply asks the question Are you late? in reference to how missing a period could mean pregnancy.

The Advertising Standards Authority has received 350 complaints from viewers 'offended' by the commercial. The ASA will assess the complaints to see if there is grounds to investigate whether the TV commercial breached the advertising code.

No doubt the ASA simply won't want to get involved in the ongoing moral argument.


26th May   

Judgment Day...

Advert censors publish their annual report for 2009
Link Here

The ASA (enforcers of the advertising rules) and CAP (authors) of the advertising rules have published their annual report for 2009.

The ASA Chairman, Chris Smith set the scenes for an ever expanding remit and an ever expanding political correctness for advertising. He wrote in his introduction:

The year ahead will throw up even greater challenges. The industry has recently reached its conclusions on proposals for an extension of the self-regulatory system to marketing communications on companies' own websites in the digital environment, and have asked us to implement this. We are keen to play our part, and are already beginning our preparations for the launch later this year. In addition, the Government has decided that the ASA is the right body to regulate video-on-demand ads, under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, and we have been working with Ofcom to put the necessary structures in place for implementation soon.

We have been aware, too, of the growing public and parliamentary concern about the need to protect children and young people from harm and inappropriate content � especially in relation to the commercialisation and sexualisation of children, the promotion of alcohol and some food products, and the potential glamorisation of violence. The rules in all these areas are increasingly strict, and we are determined to uphold them with robustness and independence.

ASA summarised their workload as: more complaints but targeted at fewer adverts:

We received 28,978 complaints during the year, an annual increase of 9.6%. However, it was reassuring that the complaints related to significantly fewer ads (13,956) than in the previous two years, representing a decline of more than 10% from 2008.

The total of number of complaints received was lifted by a handful of ads which prompted high levels of complaint, such as The Christian Party's bus ads claiming There definitely is a God (1,204 complaints) and Volkswagen's Matrix style TV ad (1,070 complaints).

We received 14,245 complaints about 4,732 broadcast ads. The number of broadcast ads complained about declined by 6.5% and just 785 of the complaints related to 444 radio ads. The number of non-broadcast ads complained about also declined to 9,224 (-12.5%). However, the total number of complaints received about non-broadcast ads increased (14,733, +9%), but again this was owing to a small number of ads receiving multiple complaints.

Top 10 Adverts of 2009

As rated by the number of complaints

  1. The Christian Party (1,204 complaints; ruled out of remit)

    Complainants objected that the bus ad's claim There definitely is a God was offensive to atheists and could not be substantiated. As a political party ad, it was outside our remit.
  2. Volkswagen (1,070 complaints; Upheld in part) Graphic scenes in TV ads of a man fighting his clones, Sometimes the only one you have to beat is yourself were deemed not suitable to be shown before 9pm.
  3. HomePride (804 complaints; Not upheld)

    A TV ad for an oven cleaner with the strapline So easy, even a man can do it . Council ruled that the ad was tongue-in-cheek and did not uphold the complaints that it was offensive.
  4. Advanced Medical Institute (525 complaints; Upheld) The poster asked Want longer lasting SEX? and attracted complaints for being offensive and unsuitable for display in public locations where it could be seen by children. The ASA also challenged that it advertised an unlicensed medicine.
  5. 05 Israeli Government Tourist Office (445 complaints; Upheld)

    A poster with the headline EXPERIENCE ISRAEL featured a map of Israel that included the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. The ASA upheld complaints that the poster misleadingly implied the regions were internationally recognised as part of Israel.
  6. British Humanist Association (392 complaints; ruled out of remit)

    A bus ad that stated There's probably no God prompted complaints that it was offensive to people of faith and could not be substantiated. The ASA ruled that the ad did not make claims about particular religions and had an upbeat rather than hostile or offensive tone. We concluded that the ad was an expression of the advertiser's opinion and that the claim was not capable of being objectively substantiated.
  7. Kellogg's (323 complaints; Not upheld)

    A TV ad showed a man chasing after a runaway shopping trolley with a toddler inside, only to 'save' the Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. Whilst some viewers found the ad in poor taste, we considered it was unlikely to cause widespread offence or encourage harm to children.
  8. Pfizer (312 complaints; Not upheld)

    A TV ad showed a dead rat emerging from a man's mouth and stated Rat poison. Just one of the dangerous ingredients that may be found in fake medicines purchased from illegal websites. Although the imagery was distasteful for some viewers, we did not uphold the complaints because it was shown post-11pm only and conveyed an important public message.
  9. SC Johnson (292 complaints; No investigation)

    The TV ad for an air freshener featured a child saying Mummy I want to poo at Paul's house. The ASA acknowledged the language and subject may be off-putting to some, but considered the ad was not likely to cause harm or widespread offence.
  10. Department of Health (242 complaints; No investigation)

    A multi-media campaign to raise awareness of the effects of a stroke and the need to act fast portrayed people having a stroke with a fire spreading on parts of their bodies. Complainants believed the images of the fire depicting the effects of a stroke were offensive and could be distressing, particularly to children. The ASA considered that most viewers would accept that the campaign had to be hard hitting in order to convey its important message and were unlikely to be seriously offended or distressed.


15th May   

A Shower of Whingers...

Complaints dismissed over TV adverts for Heavy Rain game
Link Here

Four TV ads, featuring game footage, for the Heavy Rain video game.

a. The first ad showed a shop keeper being threatened by an armed man. A customer was shown watching the incident unfold.

b. The second ad showed the watching customer choosing to Intervene in the situation and was shown wrestling the armed robber and being shot by the armed robber.

c. The third ad showed the customer choosing to Attack the armed robber and was shown hitting him over the head with a glass bottle.

d. The fourth ad showed the customer choosing to Negotiate with the robber and was shown to calm the situation down and the robber left the shop.

  1. Several viewers believed that all four ads were inappropriate for scheduling at times when they could be seen by children.
  2. Several viewers objected that the depiction of violence in all four ads was offensive.
  3. Several viewers objected that all four ads were harmful because they glamorised violence.
  4. Some viewers objected that the ads were offensive, because they were broadcast at the time of the death of a shop keeper in Huddersfield in an armed robbery.

ASA Assessment: Not Upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that ads (a), (b) and (d) had been given post 19:30 restrictions and that ad (c) had been given a post 21:00 restriction. We considered that these were sufficient to prevent the ads from being broadcast around childrens programming or when a high number of younger children were likely to be watching. We also noted the characters in the ads were obviously digital animations and considered that children who did see the ads would not believe the characters were real. We therefore considered that the ads had been scheduled appropriately and that the restrictions were sufficient for the ads content.

2. & 3. Not upheld

We noted the ads featured alternate endings of a sequence where a bystander could chose how to intervene in a threatening situation. We understood that this was used to demonstrate the interactivity possible with the game, in contrast with games with more structured, linear, narratives. We also noted that the protagonist of the game was a bystander and was not shown actively seeking to perpetrate violent or threatening behaviour. We considered that the scenarios featured in the ads were likely to be viewed as associated with the fictional narrative of the game and the action within it, rather than as real violent situations.

We acknowledged that some viewers might object to the theme of the game and the inclusion of violent imagery per se. However, we concluded that the ad itself was unlikely to be seen to be encouraging or glamorising violence in a harmful way, or to be likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

4. Not upheld

We understood the broadcast of the ads coincided with tragic events in Huddersfield, and we accepted that that may have been upsetting to those directly affected by the incident and similar events of robbery. However, we considered that the ad was likely to be viewed by most people within its context of an ad for a videogame, rather than as a reference to or comment on a current news event, and would therefore expect to see footage that was representative of the games genre. We therefore concluded that, although the timing of the broadcast was unfortunate, it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence on those grounds.


13th May   

Hunk Dory...

Whingeing about crisp adverts in Ireland
Link Here

Largo Foods has braved the wrath of the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland with its poster campaign for Hunky Dorys crisps, centred on busty women clad in sports gear. Complete with double- entendre tag lines, the posters attracted a threat of legal action and 300 complaints from the public to the ASAI.

The posters are now to be withdrawn , although the campaign was never intended to last more than a few weeks anyway.

The Hunky Dorys campaign imagery loosely allied itself with rugby and, on the basis that Largo sponsors Navan Rugby Club, the posters included the message Proud Sponsors of Irish Rugby .

This prompted a legal missive from the Irish Rugby Football Union, with the result that the company that put up the posters went back to the sites and blacked out the Irish Rugby reference. Of course, the spat generated media coverage, as did the poster images, adding to the cut-through achieved by the brief campaign.

The ASAI is a self-regulatory body set up and financed by the advertising sector. The ASAI's code of practice states that advertisements should avoid sex stereotyping and any exploitation or demeaning of women or men.

The association could not formally make an order forcing Largo to pull the campaign until after its complaints committee meets on May 19th. However, the association requested Largo to pull the campaign and the company agreed.

The ASAI now has the option of insisting that Largo submit any future advertising for approval. The body's code of practice says that if an advertiser deliberately flouts the code with the intention of generating complaints, PR and subsequent notoriety, the ASAI can insist on a vetting procedure.

Largo has form with sexploitation advertising. In 2005, the snacks brand produced posters showing three scantily clad women and the words: Which one would you throw out of bed for eating Hunky Dorys?

Ray Coyle, owner and managing director of Largo Foods, is unapologetic about his sexist approach. He says: The target audience for my crisps is young men and it's highly unlikely that they will have been offended by the ads. The people who have been offended were never likely to buy a packet of Hunk Dorys.


23rd April   

Degrading to Whingers...

ASA rejects complaint about lap dancing poster
Link Here

A poster for the table dancing club, For Your Eyes Only (FYEO) featured an image of a woman wearing lingerie posing on her hands and knees on a chaise longue.

One complainant, who believed the image was sexist and degrading to women, challenged whether the ad was offensive and inappropriate for public display where it could be seen by children.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA noted the complainant believed the ad was sexist and degrading to women. We also noted that the woman in the ad was semi-naked and that her pose might be seen as sexually suggestive. However, we considered that in the context of an ad for a table dancing club, the image was unlikely to be seen as unduly explicit or overly provocative.

Whilst we acknowledged that the ad would be distasteful to some, we concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence and was not unsuitable to be seen by children.


15th April   

Thumbs Down...

ASA whinges at Left 4 Dead 2 public video advert
Link Here

An ad, for the console game Left 4 Dead 2 , appeared as a video on two large screens in a London train station.

It included animated action sequences that showed zombies and humans as well as explosions. Some of the characters pointed guns, another was shown starting a chainsaw and another held an axe; an image of a thumbless hand was also shown. Text on screen stated YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS … vs 10 MILLION ZOMBIES … THEY'RE GONNA NEED MORE ZOMBIES .

A complainant challenged whether the ad:

  1. was likely to cause distress and offence, and
  2. was inappropriate for display where it could be seen by children.

ASA Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted the ad was animated and appeared without sound. Although it included weapons and some violence, we noted the action was clearly not realistic and considered an adult audience was likely to understand it reflected the content of a fictional action game. We acknowledged that some consumers might object to the content of the ad but concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or distress.

2. Upheld

We noted the ad included images of explosions and that some of the characters pointed guns, or held chainsaws or an axe; it also included images of zombies and of a thumbless hand. We noted it was also animated and stated YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS ... , which we considered meant it was also likely to engage the attention of children. For those reasons, and because it showed some violence and scenes involving weapons or shooting, we considered it was unsuitable for children and irresponsible to place the ad in an untargeted medium where it could be seen by children. We concluded that the ad was unsuitable for display where it could be seen by children.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clauses 2.2 (Responsible advertising) and must not appear again in its current form.


11th April   

Crafty Carper...

Whinging at advert for angler's bait
Link Here

An ad in Crafty Carper magazine, for Sticky Baits, showed a woman's bare legs from the thigh down. She wore black stilettos and had a pair of black knickers around her ankles. A stack of Sticky Baits Aviator Pop Ups stood alongside. Text stated How long do yours stay up? … . Issue

The complainant believed the ad was offensive, because it was sexist and derogatory to women. CAP Code

ASA Assessment: Not Upheld

The ASA understood that the ad's sexual innuendo might be seen as inappropriate for those readers who felt the image bore no resemblance to the product advertised. We considered however that, while it was likely to be deemed as tasteless and crass by some, the image was not explicit and likely to be understood, in the context of a magazine aimed specifically at anglers, as a reference to the products capabilities.

We concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause widespread offence or serious offence to readers of Crafty Carper magazine.


9th April   

Access Denied...

ASA easily offended by internet security advert
Link Here

A commercial e-mail, for the Retell call management system, included a large photograph of a naked woman with her back to the camera. Chains were wrapped around her and a sign which stated ACCESS DENIED was placed across her bottom. Issue

One complainant objected that the sexual implications of an image of a naked woman in chains with an ACCESS DENIED notice across her bottom, and the dated and sexist view of women it projected, were offensive.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA considered that, although the ad's image was not explicit, the ACCESS DENIED sign across the naked woman's bottom implied anal sex. That sign, in conjunction with the chains wrapped around the naked woman's body, suggested the woman was a sex object and were likely to be seen as demeaning and objectifying women. We noted nudity and sex had no relevance to the product advertised. We concluded that Retell had gone too far in their bid to attract attention and that the commercial e-mail, for an advertiser whose products would be of interest to those wishing to install call management systems, was likely to cause serious offence to some recipients.

The ad breached CAP Code clause 5.1 (Decency).


5th April   

A Strategically Located Pizza Slice...

Australian police censor Pizza advert
Link Here

Shop owners call it clever marketing, but some local nutters called it pornography.

The cut-out drawing of a naked woman with a pizza slice covering her nether regions in the window of Pizza Supremo in Murray Bridge has had tongues wagging.

But owners Damien Eve and Sarah Budarick who have had to remove the artwork after a visit from the police, say they don't know what all the fuss is about.

The eye-catching piece - painted by Mrs Budarick is entitled A Slice of Heaven .

But since then, there have been complaints about the sign, with nutters describing it as offensive and even porn.

Gloria Booker, Murray Bridge Council's manager of development and environmental services, told the Sunday Mail she had received four written complaints and six phone calls about the sign on Pizza Supremo's roof, which is close to a primary school.

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