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One sided censorship...

ASA bans Calvin Klein advert featuring a little side breast

Link Here11th January 2024

Three posters for Calvin Klein, seen in April 2023:

  • a. The first poster featured the singer FKA Twigs who was shown wearing a denim shirt that was drawn halfway around her body, leaving the side of her buttocks and half of one breast exposed. Text at the top of the poster stated Calvins or nothing.

  • b. The second poster, which appeared alongside ad (a), featured the model and media personality Kendall Jenner who was shown, from side-on, topless with her hands held across her bare chest, and a pair of jeans on her bottom half. At the top of the poster was the same text as ad (a).

  • c. The third poster featured Kendall Jenner who was shown lying on her back, wearing underwear and pulling down a pair of jeans past her hips. Text superimposed, and which went partly across Jenner's crotch, stated Calvins or nothing.

The ASA received two complaints. The complainants, who believed the images were overly sexualised, challenged whether the ads were:

  1. offensive and irresponsible, because they objectified women; and

  2. inappropriate for display in an untargeted medium. Response

Calvin Klein Inc. said the ads were similar to ads they had been publishing in the UK for many years. They said that they were well known for being a pioneering and progressive brand that engaged in a range of equity and equality focused partnerships. In their view, the ads did not overly sexualise Kendall Jenner or FKA Twigs and were not irresponsible.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld for image (a) only

The ASA understood the ads were for the Calvin Klein brand and their range of clothes, and that they formed part of a wider campaign that also included images of well-known men. However, not all of the ads in the campaign were displayed together. We therefore assessed the ads under investigation on the merits of their individual content and the context in which they were displayed.

Ad (a) showed FKA Twigs modelling a denim shirt. FKA Twigs' buttocks and breast were exposed, and her shirt was draped over one shoulder and drawn halfway across her body. We considered the image's composition placed viewers' focus on the model's body rather than on the clothing being advertised. The ad used nudity and centred on FKA Twig's physical features rather than the clothing, to the extent that it presented her as a stereotypical sexual object. We therefore concluded ad (a) was irresponsible and likely to cause serious offence.

The images had appeared on posters, an untargeted medium, where they were likely to be seen by children and adults. We considered all of the ads included images of women who were sexualised to a degree. We understood the posters had not been placed within 100 metres of a school. Notwithstanding the fact that ad (a) was unsuitable on the grounds of objectification, we considered whether the level of sexualisation in each of the ads was appropriate for general display.

Ad (a) depicted FKA Twigs with a shirt partially draped around her body, and in doing so showed half of one breast and the side of her buttocks. Her nudity and facial expression, including a direct gaze and open mouth, gave the image an overall sexual overture. We therefore considered ad (a) was overtly sexual and was not suitable for display in an untargeted medium.

Ad (a) must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Calvin Klein Inc. to ensure that future ads did not irresponsibly objectify women and were targeted appropriately.



Cheese crackers...

Tube poster ludicrously banned for referencing the online sale of cheese

Link Here12th September 2023
Transport for London (TfL) has ludicrously banned adverts for business premises provider Workspace for using a cheese company as example customer.

The posters put forward by Workspace featured three panels, reading: From crunching numbers to selling cheese online, it all happens at Workspace. The advert featured an image of a hand typing at a calculator and another of some cheese, alongside the names of two Workspace tenants - an accountancy company, and London-based online cheese shop Cheesegeek.

But the adverts were rejected by TfL under its censorship rules aimed at cutting obesity. TfL claimed the poster wasn't going to conform to their advertising rules because of the high saturated fat contained within cheese.

TfL's rules dictate an advert will not be approved if, among numerous other reasons, it promotes (directly or indirectly) food or non-alcoholic drink which is high in fat, salt and/or sugar, according to the Nutrient Profiling Model managed by Public Health England.

Cheesegeek founder and CEO Edward Hancock slammed the decision as ridiculous and said it wrongly categorises cheese alongside genuine junk food.



The no campaign...

Advertising billboard company rejects political advertising from Alba Party

Link Here28th August 2023
A pro independence poster featuring an image of king Charles has been banned in Scotland.

The design by Alex Salmond's Alba Party was rejected by the media billboard company Global, which controls more than 250,000 UK advertising sites, lest it could cause offence.

The poster depicts the official image of the King, as he appears on postage stamps, crossed out by a red prohibition sign. The image is below the message: It's time for an Independent Republic of Scotland.

It is the second time this month that Global has rejected one of Alba's poster designs, after a cartoon image of Rishi Sunak, depicted as a vampire sucking Scotland's oil, was also refused. Global explained that it was slanderous toward the Prime Minister.

The Alba Party claimed that a media company should not be able to control the political messages the public sees.Chris McEleny, the general secretary of Alba said:

We have a potential general election next year and the current situation is that media giants will get to decide which messages the public get to see and which messages they don't.



ASA's creepy crawler...

The UK advert censor outlines how it scours the internet looking for easy offence and gender sterotypes

Link Here14th July 2023

In this article we want to share more details of the ASA's Active Ad Monitoring system, which uses AI to proactively search for online ads that break the rules.

The ASA is already a proactive regulator. Our expert teams are constantly trying to understand emerging issues and monitor compliance with the rules. But the scale of online advertising makes this challenging and resource intensive. The Active Ad Monitoring system our Data Science team has built sorts through big volumes of ads, delivering intelligence to experts across the ASA and allowing them to do their jobs more quickly and efficiently.

The Active Ad Monitoring system is made up of three components:

  • Ad capture at scale -- The system captures ads from social media, search and display using a mix of public sources, our own internal monitoring tools and proprietary datasets

  • AI-based filtering -- Machine learning models are configured to spot the ads that are most likely to be relevant to a given issue, or to have specific compliance problems

  • Expert review -- Our experts can browse and search content related to their work via a web interface that allows them to quickly assess issues, and identify problematic examples for action

Developing the capabilities of the system is an ongoing project. At the moment it only covers a subset of the issues the ASA is working on. But it is already making an impact in high-priority areas, and currently processes more than 100,000 ads each month.

In the past, we would have relied on limited, labour-intensive manual searches and complaints from the public to stay on top of any non-compliant ads. Today, we use our Active Ad Monitoring system. After capturing ads by relevant advertisers from a range of social media platforms, the system applies machine learning algorithms to identify and flag likely non-compliant ads, for our experts to review and act on.

Each week the Compliance team is presented with an organised list of any ads that the Active Ad Monitoring system has identified as likely to break the rules, with explanations of the issues found. This has enabled us to act quickly, taking follow-up action with advertisers to secure compliance, and working closely with platforms to take down ads where necessary. Overall, the ASA's work, assisted by our Active Ad Monitoring system has already led to hundreds of ads being either amended or withdrawn.

At the ASA we are not just investing in AI, we are committed to creating and deploying real-world applications that lead to fewer non-compliant ads. We are, therefore, continuing to rapidly develop our Active Ad Monitoring system, making it an even more core part of the way we regulate.

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