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Advertising News

2011: April-June

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21st June   

Updated: The Lady Loves...

Cadbury's chocolate advert winds up Naomi Campbell
Link Here
Cadbury is facing the prospect of a black consumer boycott after it compared Naomi Campbell to a chocolate bar in a new advertising campaign.

The supermodel is 'incensed' that Cadbury used her name in the strap line to promote its new chocolate bar called Bliss, accusing the company of racism. The ad says: Move over Naomi -- there is a new diva in town.

Campbell revealed she is considering every option available after Cadbury, owned by the US giant Kraft, refused to pull the ad campaign, which ran in newspapers last week: I am shocked. It's upsetting to be described as chocolate, not just for me, but for all black women and black people. I do not find any humour in this. It is insulting and hurtful.

Disgust at the ad prompted members of the public to complain to the campaign group Operation Black Vote (OBV), which has called for Cadbury to apologise. OBV's Simon Woolley said that without an apology, the only recourse black people have is not to buy its chocolate . He has written to the American civil rights activists Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to ask them to mobilise the country's Afro-American population. I want them to know what their parent company is doing in Europe. I've asked them to support us.

Woolley said that, for black people, being likened to chocolate was as bad as being called a golliwog. Racism in the playground starts with black children being called 'chocolate bar'. At best, this is insensitive, and at worst it demonstrates Cadbury's utter disregard for causing offence. Its lack of apology just adds insult to injury. The Eurocentric joke is not funny to black people.

A spokesperson for Cadbury insisted that the campaign was a light-hearted take on the social pretensions of Cadbury Dairy Milk Bliss .

Update: Apologies

4th June 2011. See  article from

A spokesman for Cadbury has now apologised:

Cadbury understands that our latest advertising campaign for Cadbury Dairy Milk Bliss caused upset to Naomi Campbell and her family.

Cadbury takes its responsibility to consumers very seriously indeed and we would never deliberately produce any marketing material we felt might cause offence to any section of society.

It was not our intention that this campaign should offend Naomi, her family or anybody else and we are sincerely sorry that it has done so.

The firm has withdrawn the adverts and pledged not to use them again.

Naomi Campbell welcomed the apology and said:

The advertisement was in poor taste on a number of levels, not least in the way they likened me to their chocolate bar. It is also a shame that it took so long for Cadbury to offer this apology.

Update: ASA Unoffended

21st June 2011. See  article from

Complaints about the Cadbury's ad at the centre of a racism row with supermodel Naomi Campbell have been rejected by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The ASA received four complaints, including one from Operation Black Vote and three from members of the public, who believed the ad was racially offensive, referencing Campbell as a bar of chocolate because of the colour of her skin.

The ad was reviewed by the ASA council, but it decided there were no grounds for an investigation. The council said the ad was likely to be understood to refer to Naomi Campbell's reputation for diva-style behaviour rather than her race. It decided the ad was unlikely to be seen as racist or to cause serious or widespread offence.


20th June   

Adverts Ripped Up...

Microsoft removes CD Ripping capability from UK adverts after action by the advert censor
Link Here

The UK advertising censor, the ASA has tackled Microsoft over CD ripping adverts.

Microsoft has been banned from promoting a potentially illegal feature in its Windows Media Player, CD ripping.

In March, the ASA took to task 3GA Ltd for its Brennan JB7, a CD player with a hard disk that stores up to 5,000 CDs . The ASA said the advertisement incited consumers to break the law , as format shifting breaks copyright laws in the UK - despite it being common practice.

A PC Pro reader noticed Microsoft was advertising the very same feature in its Windows Media Player software, and dutifully reported the ad to the watchdog to prevent anyone else from being incited into a life of crime.

In a letter seen by PC Pro, the ASA assured the complainant that Microsoft had agreed to change its ad and make clear that unauthorised use or duplication of copyrighted material is a violation of copyright law in the UK .

There was no formal investigation, as Microsoft agreed to change the advert immediately - and as that's the only punishment available to the watchdog, there was no point in pursuing the case further.

Microsoft continues to support CD Ripping in its Windows Media Player but notes:

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of copyrighted material may be a violation of copyright law in the United States and/or other countries/regions (for example, it is a violation in the UK). Copyrighted material includes, but is not limited to, software, documentation, graphics, lyrics, photographs, clipart, animations, movie and video clips, as well as sound and music (including when MP3 encoded). Violation of international copyright laws may subject you to significant civil and/or criminal penalties.


15th June   

Strings Attached...

ASA clears daytime advert referring to 'sex friends'
Link Here

A TV ad for the film No Strings Attached broadcast on More4 between 13.30 and 14.30 on 11 February 2011, during the programme Deal or No Deal . The female character said I need someone who's going to be in my bed, no strings attached and the male character replied I could do that . Two brief scenes showed the couple in bed together before on-screen text read CAN BEST FRIENDS ... BE SEX FRIENDS? .

One viewer challenged whether the ad had been inappropriately scheduled at a time when children might see it.

Clearcast said the only overtly sexual statement in the ad was text that read CAN BEST FRIENDS ... BE SEX FRIENDS? and that they had applied an ex-kids restriction which they considered appropriate to the content of the ad. They said they had no control over the final scheduling of the ad, but they understood it had been broadcast during the programme Deal or No Deal, which they did not consider to be a programme aimed at children.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Not upheld

The ASA considered that the ad reflected the premise of the film in which two adults, who initially attempted to maintain an exclusively sexual relationship, fell in love. We understood that some viewers would find the premise of the film and the reference to sex in the ad distasteful. However, we considered the ex-kids restriction was appropriate and concluded that the broadcaster had exercised its judgement in scheduling the ad correctly because it was unlikely to cause harm or distress to children under the age of 16 who saw it.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 32.1 (Scheduling of Television and Radio Advertisements) and 32.3 (Under-16s) but did not find it in breach.


10th June   


ASA bans church advert claiming healing via prayer
Link Here

A circular for the Revival Fellowship was headlined YOUR INVITATION TO COME AND SEE . Text on the back of the circular included After prayer, Russell was healed from a severe food allergy and Autism. He now leads a healthy and completely normal life , In 1984, Granville suffered another brain haemorrhage and died 3 times. After prayer, he came alive. He still lives today , Trevor & Leila were told that their newborn girl was 'incompatible with life' and would not survive. Impossible is possible with God , After tragically losing her only brother through drug addiction, Rachael was born again and healed of a broken heart and A severe car accident had Dan in agony for four years. He was instantly healed of a broken vertebrae upon baptism in water . Issue

The complainant challenged whether the circular:

1. was irresponsible because it could discourage essential medical treatment for serious medical conditions; and

2. exploited the vulnerable because it invited people to attend the meetings in the hope of receiving physical healing.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA acknowledged that Medway Revival Fellowship sought to promote their faith and the hope for physical healing by God through the claims in their ad. However, we were concerned that the testimonials, which included references to healing through prayer and baptism from serious medical conditions or injury such as autism , brain haemorrhage and broken vertebrae would be understood by its target audience, and particularly those who were suffering from physical illness or injury, as an invitation to attend a meeting in the expectation of receiving healing from that condition or its symptoms. We acknowledged Medway Revival Fellowships offer to include text in the ad making clear that it was their belief that God healed and that this should not prevent readers from receiving medical treatment. However, we considered that it would not prevent readers from interpreting the testimonials making references to physical healing in the ad as claims that were likely to set up particular expectations about the outcome of attending a meeting. We understood that believers had faith that God healed. However, we concluded that the references to relief or cure from physical ailments as presented in the ad were likely to mislead about the nature of such religious healing and could discourage people, and particularly the vulnerable, from seeking essential medical treatment for serious medical conditions

On these points the ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility), 3.1, 3.7 (Misleading advertising), 12.1 and 12.2 (Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products).


2nd June   

Updated: Unsafe Pressure...

Australian Sex Party comment on gay themed safe sex adverts that were taken down under nutter pressure
Link Here
The Australian Sex Party has expressed dismay and disgust at the new low of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), who have forced the removal of a safe-sex public health campaign targeted at the gay community in Brisbane. The Party has asked the Advertising Standards Bureau to intervene and will also refer the issue to the House of Reps Committee on Outdoor Advertising.

The ACL complained that the ad depicted 'two men in the act of foreplay'. The ad actually depicts two men fully clothed, said Sex Party Queensland Coordinator, Rory Killen. Innumerable similar ads cover the city depicting heterosexual couples. Only unashamed homophobia could lead someone to single these ads out as offensive.

The Rip & Roll ads form part of a Queensland Association for Healthy Communities campaign to promote awareness about safe-sex in the gay community. 2010 was a record year for HIV diagnoses, with more persons diagnosed with the STI since records began. 65% of diagnoses were from the gay community.

The Christian Lobby's attack against QAHC and the ads is supposedly prompted by a concern for the welfare of children, continued Killen: I'm concerned about the welfare of young people growing up without adequate awareness of safe sexual practices, if ads like these can't be displayed.

The posters were displayed on bus shelters around Brisbane by the advertising company Adshel. Similar billboards are also displayed by Goa who is not removing the material.

I question why Adshel caved so quickly and pulled the ads. I think it's quite appropriate that the City Council and State Government clarify to Adshel that these ads are acceptable on bus shelters, that the ads be replaced, and that additional funding and priority is given to the QAHC campaign to repair the damage that has been done to public health and community safety.

Update: Unbanned

2nd June 2011.  See  article from

Safe sex advocates claimed a victory over Australia's Christian lobby when their HIV campaign posters featuring two men hugging were reinstated at bus stops after an intense online backlash.

The ads were withdrawn by billboard company Adshel after it received a string of complaints, but the company later reversed this decision, saying it had unwittingly been targeted by the Australian Christian Lobby. This has led us to review our decision to remove the campaign and we will therefore reinstate the campaign with immediate effect, Adshel chief executive Steve McCarthy said in a statement.

Healthy Communities executive director Paul Martin said that Australians were generally supportive of gay rights, and that he had been heartened by the public backlash against the decision to remove the posters.

By late Wednesday some 40,897 people had joined a Facebook page called Homophobia -- NOT HERE created by one of the men featured in the posters, and protesters had held an afternoon rally outside Adshel's Brisbane office.


1st June   

The Mechanics of Censorship...

ASA bans advert for 15 rated The Mechanic from TV at anytime
Link Here

Two TV ads for the release of the film The Mechanic , featuring the actors Jason Statham and Ben Foster:

a. The first ad began with Jason Statham saying Do you know what a mechanic is? and showed him punching a man in the stomach, who was wearing a blood-stained T-shirt, and then running and shooting a gun at the camera. Ben Foster replied A hitman . Scenes from the film were then shown in quick succession including a man being hit over the head with a sheet of metal and a man being shot in the face through a window. Ben Foster then said I want to know what you know as the two men were shown jumping down the side of a building. Jason Statham replied Follow me . Further scenes showed Jason Statham firing a machine gun, a car being driven through the back of a bus and a bus exploding. Jason Statham was then seen talking on a mobile phone and saying I'm coming for you . More scenes showed Jason Statham disarming a man by breaking his hand, a man being speared through the calf, a man crawling across a road and being run over by a car, Jason Statham and a woman having sex and a metal bar being driven through a car window into a man's head. On-screen text and a voice-over both stated THE MECHANIC . More scenes from the film followed, including Jason Statham shooting a man off his feet and Ben Foster saying Nice , a man's head exploding when he was shot at close range, Jason Statham and Ben Foster firing automatic weapons into an upturned vehicle and a car exploding. On-screen text and the voice-over both stated IN CINEMAS JAN 28 .

b. The second ad was a shorter version of ad (a) and featured a man being speared through the calf, a man being shot in the face through a window, a man being run over, a man's hand being broken, a metal bar being driven through a car window into a man's head, a man's head exploding when he was shot at close range, Jason Statham and Ben Foster firing automatic weapons into an upturned vehicle and a car exploding.

1. Thirteen viewers challenged whether the ads were offensive and distressing, because they featured scenes of graphic violence.

2. Three viewers challenged whether ad (b) was inappropriate for broadcast during the programme Glee, when it might be seen by children.

Lions Gate UK Ltd (Lions Gate) said The Mechanic was a film about an elite assassin who formed a partnership with his apprentice. They said the film was rated 15 by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and said, because of the subject matter, it would be expected that marketing material would feature scenes of guns and violence.

Clearcast said the ads had been given a post-9 pm timing restriction for the level of violence portrayed. They said they viewed any number of similar ads every day and spent a lot of time ensuring that timing restrictions were consistent and appropriate. They agreed with Lions Gates belief that it was inevitable that some viewers would be offended, irrespective of the restriction applied, but said the 9 pm watershed was widely known to be just that by the vast majority of viewers. Clearcast said they stood by their timing restriction decision made for the ads.

ASA Assessment: 1.& 2. Upheld

The ASA understood that the ads were for a 15-rated film about an assassin which featured a series of clips from the film. We noted that the overwhelming majority of those scenes featured threats, explosions or extreme and graphic interpersonal violence in which Jason Stathams character seriously injured or killed other characters. Although we noted that ad (b) was shorter than ad (a) we considered that it contained a similar level of violence as ad (a).

We were concerned that the impact of the ads was heightened because the scenes were edited to feature mainly violence or jeopardy without any wider context and were presented in quick succession so that collectively they formed a sustained stream of violent imagery. We also noted that the violence carried out by Jason Statham was shown without any further consequences to him and that, in one of the final scenes, Ben Foster looked at Jason Statham and said Nice which we considered would be interpreted by viewers as condoning the serious violence that had been shown.

We acknowledged that the ads had been given a post-9pm restriction by Clearcast which would reduce the likelihood of offence being caused but considered that, for the reasons given above, they were still likely to offend or distress seriously some viewers after this time. We also noted that ad (b) had appeared during an episode of Glee and we noted from the audience index figures for that programme at that time that a significant proportion of the viewers were under 16. We considered that the ad was inappropriate for children and were therefore also concerned that a significant proportion of children had been exposed to the violent imagery.

We concluded that the complaints could not be resolved with a timing restriction and that both ads should therefore be withdrawn from transmission completely.


27th May   

A Soft Touch...

Melon advert tops the New Zealand complaints league
Link Here

A sexually suggestive fruit and a burger supposedly good enough to convert a vegetarian feature in adverts that have caused the greatest 'offence' in New Zealand.

The Advertising Standards Authority's annual report shows it received 1164 complaints about 792 advertisements last year on topics ranging from sex to bank loans for IVF treatment.

The recently fired porn king Steve Crow was behind the ad found to be the most offensive. The billboard promoting the Erotica Expo in Auckland featured a naked woman's pelvic area covered with a dissected melon. Her finger was inserted in the centre of the fruit.

The ASA received 71 complaints from people claiming it was offensive and dehumanising. Those complaints were upheld, but claims regarding seven of the 10 most complained-about adverts were not.

Five of the top 10 had a sexual theme, while the others included a beer ad thought to be too masculine, a Weetbix ad thought to encourage risky behaviour and a rapping radio jingle containing a derogatory word.


24th May   

Going Postal...

US Postal Service wound up my advert featuring postman being distracted by a Burger King breakfast
Link Here

The U.S. Postal Service has a whinge at Burger King over an ad campaign launched last year that featured a letter carrier getting distracted from his job by delicious Burger King breakfast food.

In the ad, a postman a uniform resembling that of a Postal Service employee sang about the joys of Burger King's new breakfast menu. The offending verse was: With pancakes and eggs on my plate, the mail has to wait.

According to a Postal Service statement, the agency asked the fast food giant to stop airing the ad, arguing that Burger King used its logo and uniform without permission while portraying a letter carrier in a less than favorable light.

Though Burger King denied wrongdoing, they reached a settlement allowing the company to use a uniform similar to the official Postal Service garb, minus the logo. Burger King is expected to air a revised and more positive commercial.


16th May   

Update: Hot, Cross and No So Bothered...

New Zealand's advert censors give their blessing to pentagram hot cross buns posters
Link Here

A pizza company caused nutter 'outrage' in New Zealand with billboards advertising hot cross buns accompanied by the slogan: For a limited time. A bit like Jesus. Instead of the traditional Christian cross, the buns bear an inverted pentagram. The giant billboards, placed by the Hell Pizza company, have been posted around Auckland.

New Zealand's Advertising Standards Authority received multiple complainants sharing similar views suggesting that the advertisement was: nothing short of emotional and spiritual abuse; grossly offensive; was sickening distasteful , discriminatory and insensitive ; that the use of the Satanic symbols as well as the wording is blasphemous; that the advertisement mocks Easter and its importance to the Christian faith; that it was inappropriate for tourists and children to see; was factually incorrect, inflammatory and promoted anarchy.

Additional matters raised by some Complainants included: showing the Satanic symbol on the bun in place of a sacred cross symbol which therefore put Satan in Jesus' place was extremely offensive; that the Christian faith was being slandered and ridiculed in a way that wouldn't be accepted if it were directed at other religions or minority groups; that by substituting the Cross with the Star of David belittles both Jesus and Jewish people; is a clear case of anti-semitism and a breach of Jewish Human Rights; that a characteristic of a healthy society was mutual respect which the advertisement could damage.

The ASA considered:

  • Basic Principle 4: All advertisements should be prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and to society.
  • Rule 5: Offensiveness - Advertisements should not contain anything which in the light of generally prevailing community standards is likely to cause serious or widespread offence taking into account the context, medium, audience and product (including services).

As a preliminary matter, the Complaints Board acknowledged that the number of complaints that had been received (179) about the advertisement was testimony to the fact that the billboard had caused deep offence to some people.

Turning to the advertisement, the Complaints Board noted that the symbol that appeared on the bun, together with the statement For a limited time a little bit like Jesus had caused offence. Turning first to the symbol that appeared on the bun, the Complaints Board clarified that it was an inverted pentacle - the symbol of the Church of Satan - but noted that some Complainants mistook the symbol for the Star of David and, as such, said that the advertisement denigrated the Jewish faith. However, because the symbol was not the Star of David, the Complaints Board agreed that, with regard to this aspect of the complaint, any potential derision or ridicule that Complainants identified as caused to the Jewish faith by the advertisement was not relevant.

The Complaints Board then considered the possibility of serious offence, taking into account the context, medium and audience. The majority of the Board acknowledged that the message and the timing was deliberately provocative, but noted that socially provocative and sometimes confrontational advertisements were predictable from this particular Advertiser. The majority also acknowledged the deep offence the advertisement had caused some to Christians however; the majority was of the view that the imagery itself on the advertisement was relatively innocuous, and that any possible offence would be caused by people's understanding of the symbol and the text in the advertisement. However, the majority said that nothing in the advertisement had specifically attacked the tenets of Christianity, or the existence of Jesus, but instead had used the well-known promotional line: here for a limited time in association with the Crucifixion.

The majority was of the view that, while provocative, the degree of black humour would be recognised by most people, including many Christians, and said that this humour - albeit provocative - saved the advertisement from being likely to cause serious or widespread offence in the light of generally prevailing community standards. As such, the majority of the Complaints Board was of the view that the advertisement was prepared with a due sense of responsibility to consumers and society and did not meet the threshold to reasonably likely to cause serious or widespread offence on the grounds of peoples' religious beliefs. Therefore, the Complaints Board ruled that the advertisement did not reach the threshold to breach of Basic Principle 4 or Rule 5 of the Code of Ethics, or Basic Principle 3 or 6 of the Code for People in Advertising.

A minority disagreed. Taking into account the context, medium and audience, the minority said that the advertisement was highly visible to a wide cross-section of the general public and, in combination with the deliberate timing of the advertisement was offensive, socially irresponsible and a cynical exploitation of Christian sensibilities at Easter. The minority also found that the advertisement was an attack that was aimed and timed specifically at Christianity and to offend Christians. As such, the minority found that the advertisement was reasonably likely to cause serious or widespread offence on the grounds of peoples' religious beliefs. Therefore, the minority found that the advertisement was in breach of Basic Principle 4 and Rule 5 of the Code of Ethics, and Basic Principle 3 and 6 of the Code for People in Advertising.

However, in accordance with the majority, the Complaints Board ruled to not uphold the complaint.


12th May   

Top Ten Adverts...

ASA publishes Annual Report for 2010
Link Here

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has just published their Annual Report for 2010.

The year saw the introduction of new Advertising Codes, assuming responsibility for video-on-demand ads, preparing for the extension of extension to online remit and a review of our processes.

The report reveals that ASA considered 25,562 complaints about 13,038 ads. 2,216 of these ad campaigns were censured. This was a 13% decrease on the previous year.

Looking back on 2010 ASA Chairman, Lord Smith says: Last year saw some landmark developments at the ASA, such as the preparation for our new online remit and the introduction of new Advertising Codes, which undoubtedly enhance consumer protection. Our engagement with consumers, industry and the wider public has been integral to us achieving this significant change.

The Annual Report also features the ever popular top 10 of complained about adverts:

  1. Paddy Power plc 1,313 complaints Not upheld

    Viewers complained that this ad, which showed a cat being kicked across a pitch by a blind football player, was offensive to blind people and could encourage animal cruelty. We felt the ad was surreal and light-hearted in tone and was unlikely to encourage or condone cruelty to animals or cause serious or widespread offence.
  2. Marie Stopes International 1,088 complaints Not upheld

    This TV ad offering sexual and reproductive health advice, information and services attracted complaints for various reasons, including that it promoted abortion. We felt it was clear that the advertisers were promoting their post-conception advice service and was neither advocating one course of action over another, nor trivialising the dilemma of an unplanned pregnancy. In addition to the complaints detailed above, we received over 3,600 other objections, some prior to broadcast and some via petitions.
  3. Department of Energy and Climate Change 939 complaints Upheld in part

    We received objections that this Act on CO2 TV and press campaign, which raised awareness of climate change, was misleading and scaremongering. We did not agree with the majority of the objections, but did uphold some complaints that claims in some of the press ads exaggerated the likelihood and impact of extreme weather conditions.
  4. Global Personals Ltd 420 complaints Not upheld

    A poster for attracted complaints that it implied extra-marital affairs were acceptable and desirable. It was clear that people found the concept of the website distasteful and immoral. However, we can only consider the content of the ad and not the service being advertised. We felt the ad itself was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
  5. John Lewis Partnership plc 316 complaints Not upheld

    This ad featuring a dog outside in his kennel on a windy and snowy Christmas day attracted complaints about irresponsible pet ownership. Complainants objected that it suggested it was acceptable to leave a family pet outside in cold conditions. We disagreed, and felt the ad did not endorse or encourage animal cruelty or neglect.
  6. HomePride Ltd 273 complaints Not investigated (previously not upheld in 2009)

    Both men and women complained about the gender stereotypes portrayed in this ad for an oven cleaner which claimed so easy, even a man can do it . We concluded the ad took a light-hearted and comical approach to its portrayal of traditional gender stereotypes, and was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
  7. AG Barr plc 204 complaints Not upheld
  8. Viewers objected to this ad which featured cute cartoon animals, cheery music and a Pied Piper type figure. Things turned more sinister when the animals were led to a butcher's shop. The ad already had a restriction which meant it couldn't be shown around programmes targeted at children, but we still received a number of complaints that the ad was offensive, irresponsible and distressing to children. On balance, we felt the ad with its existing scheduling restriction was acceptable.
  9. Cardell Media Ltd 185 complaints Upheld

    This mailing consisted of a torn magazine or newspaper page with a handwritten Post-it note, which stated Hi, I saw this and thought you'd find it useful - he's really good! J . Complainants objected that the mailing was masquerading as personal correspondence and challenged claims being made within it. We upheld the complaints and told the advertiser to change their approach.
  10. Unilever UK Ltd 154 complaints Not upheld/Referred to Ofcom

    Continuing their you either love it or hate it themed campaigns, Marmite ran two TV ads parodying party political broadcasts. Some complaints related specifically to the political aspect of the campaign and these were referred to Ofcom. Other objections related to racism, denigration and offence. We felt the ads were delivered in a light- hearted way and therefore were not in breach of the rules.
  11. SSL International plc 151 complaints Not upheld

    Complainants, who had seen this TV ad for condoms before 11 am and in the early evening, objected that it was offensive and inappropriate for broadcast when young children might be watching. We accepted that the ad might not be to all viewers' tastes, but there were no explicit sexual scenes or images. We considered its existing scheduling restriction, which prevented it from appearing in or around programmes targeted at children, was appropriate


7th May   

General Pants Pulled Up...

Australian retailer to cover up Sex! and fashion advert
Link Here

Australian retailer General Pants Co. and fashion label Ksubi will censor its joint Sex! & Fashion advertising campaign after a supposed consumer backlash against its content.

The campaign was rolled out in General Pants stores nationally on April 28 to promote a collection created by Ksubi in collaboration with the youth chain store retailer.

Its hero image comprises a woman naked from the abdomen up, save for gaffer tape on her breasts. There also appears to be a man unzipping her jeans from behind and the word sex appears in bold above her head.

While the campaign will remain in General Pants Co. front store windows until its scheduled end date of May 16, the retailer's CEO Craig King revealed the image will now be partially covered with black strips reading censored . We made a decision on Friday [to alter the campaign] after we'd heard some of the responses and consulted with Ksubi that we'd be altering the imagery to diffuse the situation, King said.

He added that sales for the Sex! & Fashion collection had been strong .

Among the criticisms levelled at the retailer were claims the Sex! & Fashion campaign was too graphic , inappropriate and stooping to new lows .


4th May   

Updated: Bailey Bollox...

All society's ills to be cured by banning gay kisses from pre-watershed TV
Link Here
Full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report

Lesbian kisses could be banned from television screens until the watershed under nutter inspired Government plans to stop children being exposed to supposedly indecent images.

A review launched with the backing of David Cameron is expected to recommend that sexually suggestive scenes currently allowed before the 9pm watershed, such as the famous lesbian embrace on soap opera Brookside, should not be shown until later in the evening.

The inquiry is being led by Mothers' Union chief executive Reg Bailey.

The Daily Mail said that Bailey is likely to focus on more restrictive watershed rules. A source close to the inquiry said: It is hard to protect children in the internet and mobile-phone age but we have to do something.

Sources also suggested that raunchy dance routines, such as those by pop stars Christina Aguilera and Rihanna on last year's X Factor final, could also fall foul of more censorial watershed rules.

Bailey is also understood to be looking at a ban on sexy advertisements in public places. The source added: Some of those huge poster advertisements for bras and knickers leave precious little to the imagination and they are there for all our children to see.

Bailey is examining restricting internet pornography by enabling parents to ask ISPs to block adult websites at source rather than relying on parental controls.

Update: Mothers' Union chief executive Reg Bailey is not speaking for the Mothers' Union

4th May 2011. See  article from

Clarification on reports published in print and online 1st and 2nd May 2011.

Mothers' Union explicitly refutes all allegations regarding the banning of lesbian kisses on television before or after the watershed as claimed by the media this week, including in The Sun and the Daily Mail newspapers.

The Bailey Review as conducted by the Department of Education is independent of the Mothers' Union's Bye Buy Childhood Campaign and therefore, any recourse to statements against Mothers' Union are unfounded and should be directed to the Department of Education.

The Mothers' Union's Campaign is gender inclusive and is therefore, neither targeted towards or against any type of relationship and should not be expressed as such.


30th April   

Updated: Kitchen Advert Panned...

Italians whinge at IKEA advert due to supposed stereotyping
Link Here

Ikea has been accused of exploiting offensive Mafia cultural stereotypes in an advertisement to promote a new kitchen range.

The advertisement, shown on television and the internet, and titled Very Good Fellas , features gangster-like figures who speak with Sicilian and Neapolitan accents as they dispose of a suspiciously large and heavy black bag of refuse.

It turns out that the apparent Mafiosi are simply a group of ecologically conscious friends gathering for dinner, whose conduct bears out the slogan: Behaving well in an Ikea kitchen comes more naturally.

The advertising sparked widespread indignation among people in the south of Italy who claim they are being stereotyped.

Fabrizio Concas, Ikea Marketing Manager, said he was surprised by the reaction and wanted to apologise to all southerners who have felt offended by our advertisement .

Update: Italians whinge at second IKEA advert

30th April 2011. From

A top Italian official has called an Ikea advertisement with two gay men holding hands in bad taste .

I find it serious and in bad taste that a Swedish multinational comes to Italy to tell Italians what they should think, Secretary of State for family policy Carlo Giovanardi said in a television interview.

The Swedish furniture giant's advertisement shows two men with a shopping bag, holding hands, and the words: We are open to all families .

I think that many clients of Ikea will not find this pleasant, claimed Giovanardi. While Ikea was free to address itself to whom it pleases, the term family as used in the advertisement is in direct opposition to our constitution which says that family is founded on a marriage , he added.

Gay rights activist Aurelio Mancuso said Giovanardi's statements were dangerous and aggressive and risk fueling the climate of homophobia that drives violence and insults against gays, lesbians and transsexuals.


27th April   

A Bit of Earache...

Italian church wound up by TV advert featuring Jesus figure
Link Here

The Catholic Church has whinged at an Italian television advert in which a man resembling Christ tries to ward off the advances of an overweight dominatrix dressed in suspenders and stockings.

The advertisement, for a type of mobile phone earpiece, shows the man tied to a bed in a pose that evokes Jesus on the cross.

Sweating and looking anxious, he winces when a woman in tights and high heels enters the room, thwacks whip on the bed and starts to straddle him.

Hey Dad, can you help me? the male actor says in English, looking upwards as if to God.

The ad for a company called Nodis, was aired on the national television channel, Italia 1.

It's a sordid concept and incredibly insulting to those who believe in Jesus Christ, said an editorial in Avvenire, a daily newspaper owned by the Catholic Bishops Conference. Related Articles

The newspaper's editor, Marco Tarquinio, said the commercial should never have been made. He suggested that Catholics offended by the ad should stop watching the channel and boycott the company's products.

An association of Catholic television viewers, Aiart, made a formal protest over the commercial saying: The reference to Christ is explicit and deeply offensive to religious sentiment .


21st April   

Marks and Spencer Squeal...

Ann Summers parody 'Meal Deal' advert
Link Here

The unlicensed sex shop chain, Ann Summers, has abandoned its Squeal Deal campaign, which parodied Marks & Spencer Meal Deal ads, the day before the campaign was due to launch.

Marks & Spencer had threatened Ann Summers with legal action over the ads, which were due to have launched on 21st April. An M&S spokesman said: When we believe these values are being infringed, we do whatever we can to protect our brand and our customers. We therefore are taking legal advice with a view to issuing legal proceedings.

The deal was to have offered three items for £ 29, a lingerie main , sex toy side , and flavoured lubrication dessert . Mimicking the supermarket's food porn ads, the Ann Summers ads reverse the M&S lettering, to display S&M, and feature an image of a bottom covered in melted chocolate, instead of M&S's usual strawberry.


16th April   

Catholics Are Too Demanding...

Bullying Philippines McDonalds into banning advert featuring kiddy romance
Link Here

Fast-food chain McDonalds has had to scrap an ad from the Philippines. According to reports, the ad offended Catholics and Catholic leaders.

The commercial shows a young five-year-old girl asking a boy of the same age if she can be his girlfriend. The boy however rejects the girl. He then goes on to complain that women are too demanding.

The girl then tells the boy that all she really wanted was some French fries from McDonald's. After the boy hears this, he smiles and holds her hand while walking to McDonalds.

Church leaders complained about the advert, saying it sent the wrong message to children. Bishop Deogracias Yniguez, a senior member of the Catholic Bishops Conference, said concerns had centred on having very young children doing such an adult-themed commercial: We should be very sensitive and recognisant of the culture and the values of our country .

After discussion with the Bishops, McDonald's issued a statement, saying:

We recognise and respect the stand of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and have stopped airing the said commercial across all television stations.

Over the years, we have strived to produce advertisements that highlight positive values like love for family and charity which mirror what the brand stands for. McDonald's remains committed in promoting positive values and will continue raising the bar to be better at what we do whether it is our food, our service, to even how we communicate to the public.


13th April   

A Society that is Slowing Amusing itself to Death...

Vicars whinge at pub poster
Link Here

A pub poster showing an image of Jesus wearing headphones and saying Thank Christ for Easter bank holiday! has angered Christians.

The advert promotes bank holiday events at the Tom Peppers pub in Clacton.

The Rev Ben Marlowe, from Frinton Free Church, said:

This kind of advertising will undoubtedly offend all Christians, for whom the message of Easter lies at the very heart of their faith.

It is also symbolic of a society that is increasingly hellbent on trivialising everything whilst it slowly amuses itself to death.

Lois Cakebread, secretary of the Emmanual Church added:

If they were promoting the church and encouraging people to go there, it might be OK.

But if it's just promotion to get people in the pub, then no. Easter is a very special occasion in the life of the church.


13th April   

An Underweight Whinge...

ASA dismisses nonsense about underweight fashion model in advert
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A national press ad, in the Times, for Miu Miu featured the model Kasia Struss sitting on a chair in front of a mirror, holding a handbag in her lap, and wearing a low-cut, sleeveless dress which exposed her arms, shoulders and de'colletage.

Two complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible, because they believed the model looked significantly underweight.

CAP Code (Edition 12) 1.3 Response

Prada Retail said that the model featured in the ad, Kasia Struss, was 23 years old and was regarded as one of the current top models. They said that Kasia Struss worked for a variety of fashion houses and had done so on a regular basis for about five years, and that it was clear from her portfolio, which they provided, that Ms Struss was naturally tall and slim.

Prada explained that the ad featured in its campaign for Miu Miu Spring Summer 2011 collection. The campaign was dramatic and high fashion and featured statuesque models posing in a mirror wearing its garments and accessories. Prada noted that to make the look more dramatic, Ms Struss' hair was slicked back and she was wearing nude make up with bright red lips. They said that the lighting used for the photograph bounced straight off Ms Struss' body so as to highlight her features and pale skin. Prada provided an alternative version of the ad which showed Ms Struss from the side and from behind as reflected in the mirror. They said that the image of her back and her frame clearly showed that she was not significantly underweight.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA noted that the model in the ad was slim, and that the lighting effects, make-up and low-cut dress emphasised her body shape. However, we considered that the ad was typical of those used for fashion products and that the model did not look significantly underweight. We therefore concluded that the ad was not irresponsible.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find it in breach.


8th April   

Update: Telling Porkies...

Peta claims in advert that kids eating meat is child abuse
Link Here
Full story: Peta...Animal activists challenging the media

A row has flared over an advert by an animal rights group which claims that giving children meat is child abuse .

The poster depicts an overweight young boy eating a burger. It states: Feeding kids meat is child abuse - fight the fat - go veg.

Peta says it paid for the billboard poster in Merthyr because the town has a problem with overweight youngsters.

But the county council said the message it conveyed was stereotypically offensive and blatantly inaccurate.

Meat Promotion Wales said: Peta's agenda is to force everyone to peruse a vegetarian lifestyle and they are willing to exploit the suffering experienced by genuine child abuse victims to further their own agenda. Red meat is an essential part of a healthy diet and we will be making a fresh complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about this poster.

The ASA said it had received two complaints in response to the poster.


7th April   

Hot, Cross and Bothered...

Whingeing at hellish hot cross bun adverts
Link Here

A pizza company has caused nutter 'outrage' in New Zealand with billboards advertising hot cross buns accompanied by the slogan: For a limited time. A bit like Jesus. Instead of the traditional Christian cross, the buns bear an inverted pentagram.

The giant billboards, placed by the Hell Pizza company, have been posted around Auckland.

Lloyd Ashton, a spokesman for New Zealand's Anglican Church, condemned the advertising campaign as disgraceful:

It's disrespectful to what a lot of people hold very dear.

They've dared here to take a clumsy poke at something that numbers of people hold sacred.

Patrick Dunn, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Auckland, said:

I suppose in some ways they are acknowledging that Jesus was around for a limited time, but a number of people might decide to boycott Hell pizzas for a while and I will be one of them.

New Zealand's Advertising Standards Authority confirmed it had received complaints about the billboards and would be investigating.


7th April   

Update: Naked Prudery...

ASA whinge at skinny dipping advert in fashion catalogue targeted at university students
Link Here

Four full-page ads for Jack Wills clothing appeared in their 2011 edition of The Spring Term Handbook.

  • The first ad showed a young woman from the shoulders down who was standing with one leg raised and bent at the knee. She was wearing a shirt and a short skirt that lifted to show her upper thigh, buttocks and the lower section of her knickers.
  • The second ad showed a group of three young women and two young men beginning to undress on a beach. One of the men was removing one of the women's tops to reveal her bra.
  • The third ad showed the same group at a distance running out of the water wearing only their underwear.
  • The fourth ad showed a young man and a young woman embracing and kissing. The man was topless and the woman was wearing only knickers. The side of the woman's breast was clearly visible and her left leg was raised and wrapped around the man who was holding it in position. From the left of shot water was sprayed on the couple. Issue

Nineteen complainants objected that the ads were offensive and unsuitable for publication in a clothing catalogue that was targeted at and seen by teenagers.

Jack Wills stated that their brand was targeted at university students aged 18 to 22 years old and that all of the models featured in their catalogue (the 2011 Spring Term Handbook) were at least 18 years old. Their logo stated that they were University Outfitters and they advised that they drew inspiration from the hedonistic university lifestyle . They said their marketing was intended to project a positive, fun and sometimes flirtatious image which they believed was an accurate reflection of student life.

Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA noted that all recipients of the Jack Wills catalogue had confirmed they were over the age of 18, but considered that some under 18-year-olds might have viewed or received the catalogue.

We noted the images in the catalogue were intended to tell a fun, hedonistic and flirtatious story of university life and we considered that those images would be appealing to younger teenagers, because they portrayed a lifestyle to which they might aspire.

We noted that each of the images contained partial nudity and considered that the fourth image in particular went beyond what could be described as fun or flirtatious. Because we understood that younger teenagers could have both direct and indirect access to the catalogue and because we considered the fourth image in particular to be overtly sexual in nature, we concluded that the catalogue was sufficiently provocative as to present a risk to younger teenagers.

The catalogue breached CAP Code rules 4.1 (Harm and offence) and 5.1 (Children - harm and offence).


4th April   

Too Controversial...

Basic religious advertising shunned by US cinemas
Link Here

A pre-movie advertisement promoting an Easter church service was banned from California theaters because of its mention of Jesus.

Compass Bible Church in Aliso Viejo, California, created the 30-second ad to air for three weeks on 45 movie screens across Orange County.

The commercial questioned claims like the disciples stole the body and Jesus didn't actually die on the cross . It asked moviegoers Did it really happen? And ended with Why we actually believe in the resurrection.

But the ad was pulled for its controversial material, mainly its mention of Jesus, and its failure to comply with specific guidelines set by National CineMedia. The agency for the national theater remarked that their constituents might be offended by such an advertisement.

Senior Pastor Mike Farabez of Compass Bible Church responded to ABC: There are certain things that they won't advertise, and there was no mention of Christ or Christianity or anything like that, that would preclude us from having an ad.

The church is promoting their Easter services elsewhere now. Their ad on Youtube features a warning at the beginning stating the commercial you are about to view was deemed too controversial to be shown as a paid advertisement in our local movie theaters because the name of Jesus Christ was used. Please help us spread the word by forwarding this video on and join us for Easter at the Bren.

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