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Advertising News

2008: April-June

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19th September   

Update: Wowsers and Censors...

Australian Longer Lasting Sex advert modified
Link Here
Full story: Longer Lasting Sex...Nutters get off on advert for longer lasting sex

Jack Vaisman, CEO of Advanced Medical Institute, has started replacing 120 giant posters promoting longer lasting sex after the advertising watchdog upheld complaints.

The medical institute has swapped the word "sex" for the word "censored" in a cheeky swipe at the Advertising Standards Bureau.

Vaisman said: We have to comply with the Advertising Standards Bureau regulations and we decided that we would change the message and we appeal to the public through our interviews and asked if anyone could come up with a better substitute for the word 'sex'.

But wowsers have done it much cheaper after taking matters - and a roll of red vinyl - into their own hands at Stanwell Park, south of Sydney. They turned "sex" into "sox": It wasn't done for notoriety and nor are we wowsers, ... [BUT] ... we just got sick 'n' tired of our kids having to be subjected to 'sexual inadequacy' and 'limp-penis' adverts everyday when going past on their school bus.


25th August   

Update: Australia Bans Longer Lasting Sex...

Nationwide ban on advertising billboard
Link Here

Following the Kwinana ban on billboards advertising longer lasting sex, the slogan has now been outlawed nation-wide.

The Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) made the decision after widespread public whinging.

More than a year since the ASB deemed the signs acceptable it has ordered all 120 be torn down across Australia, ignoring its own policy which states the board will not reconsider its decisions for five years.

ASB chief executive Alison Abernethy said there was a clause in the policy allowing the board to overthrow its own decisions in exceptional circumstances.  Community concern about the sexualisation of children has lowered public tolerance of advertising relating to sex, prompting the ASB board to act, Abernethy said: While this billboard itself wasn’t sexualising children it was placing sex before them. Given what was happening in the community and the Senate inquiry into the sexualisation of children in the media we considered that there had been a definite shift in community standards.

She denied this approach could lead to excessive censorship: There will always be certain hot-points within the community that are of concern. The board’s role is to walk the line between advertisers being able to advertise their product and the community not being offended.

AMI spokesperson George Zaharias said his company would comply with the ASB ruling. He said it was a fair decision, agreeing that the billboard could prompt children to ask questions: Now it’s been brought to a head and we have to find a new message. The challenge is for us to come up with something clever.


29th June   

Comment: Deli Cut...

Heinz Used to Mean Beans, Now it Means Bigots
Link Here

The ASA said viewers had complained that the Heinz scene depicting two men giving each other a quick kiss goodbye was "offensive", "inappropriate" and "unsuitable to be seen by children".

Viewers? Bigots more like. There is nothing wrong with homosexual expressions of affection. They would not moan if it was a heterosexual display of affection would they? As to it being unsuitable for children this is simply hate in caring form. There are gay children, we do not want to deal with it but there are, and positive depictions of same sex relationships such as this are a great help all round.

...Read full article


25th June   

Update: Kissing Sales Goodbye...

Whinging at same sex kissing advert being withdrawn
Link Here

Gay rights supporters have been urged to boycott Heinz products, after the company dropped a mayonnaise advertisement that showed two men kissing.

Campaigners insisted that Heinz had capitulated to a concerted homophobic campaign and that they would be urging supporters to boycott the company's products.

The corporation decided to withdraw the light-hearted Deli Mayo commercial within days of its launch because it was "listening to its consumers".

The Advertising Standards Authority said yesterday that it had received 202 objections from viewers, a high number in such a short time. A spokesman for the ASA said it has yet to decide whether to investigate if the commercial breached its rules, adding: Homosexuality in itself is not a breach but they could look at it from the point of view of taste and decency.

The commercial also caused controversy in the US where the notoriously reactionary Fox News host Bill O'Reilly complained: I just want mayonnaise, I don't want guys kissing.

Last night Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of the gay rights group Stonewall, urged its supporters to stop buying Heinz products. We're shocked that an innocuous ad should have been withdrawn in this way.

Our phones have not stopped ringing with supporters who are deeply upset. I think people are a surprised they have responded so swiftly to what appears, on the face of it, to be organised complaints, a campaign by people who are determined to be outraged whenever there is any reference to homosexuality, however light hearted.


24th June   

Publicity with Mayonnaise on Top...

Whinging at same sex kissing advert
Link Here

A mayonnaise advert showing two men kissing has been withdrawn after it led to more than 200 complaints.

Heinz confirmed last night that it had withdrawn the television commercial for its Deli Mayo following 'consumer feedback'.

Nigel Dickie, of Heinz UK, said: We recognise that some consumers raised concerns over the content of the ad and this prompted our decision to withdraw it. The advertisement, part of a short-run campaign, was intended to be humorous and we apologise to anyone who felt offended.

The advertising watchdog has yet to confirm if it will investigate the Heinz commercial, one of the most complained about commercials this year.

Viewers said it was 'offensive', 'inappropriate' and 'unsuitable to be seen by children', while some parents were angry that they had been forced to explain same-sex relationships to their youngsters who asked them about the ad.

The commercial shows a family scene with a young boy and girl getting ready to go to school. They refer to a man making sandwiches in the kitchen as 'mum'. He is dressed like a delicatessen worker and has a New York accent. Their father enters the kitchen, grabs a sandwich and says to the man: See you tonight, love. The 'mum' then shouts back Hey, ain't you forgetting something, before the two men kiss.

It finishes with the slogan: Heinz Deli Mayo – Mayo with a New York Deli flavour.'


22nd June   

Update: Oh Brother!...

Sponsored whingers about Big Brother 9
Link Here
Full story: Big Brother...Whinging about Channel 4's Big Brother

Viewers have complained to Ofcom about Big Brother ’s sponsorship adverts.

The broadcasting watchdog has received several complaints about the "ageist, homophobic and sexist" Virgin Media idents, which are shown during commercial breaks.

However, Virgin Media defended the ads, arguing that they feature people from all walks of life and include a humour suitable for a Big Brother audience.

A spokesman said: They are intended to be irreverent and thought-provoking but also to make people laugh. At no point would we ever want to cause, or encourage, offence.


21st June   

Update: Finger Wagging Okayed...

ASA find in favour of anti-KFC animal cruelty leaflet
Link Here

A circular, for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), showed a caricature of KFC frontman Colonel Sanders, grinning maniacally whilst holding a chicken by the legs in one hand and a kitchen knife pointing directly at it in the other. The chicken appeared to be in distress and had many feathers missing. The knife dripped blood and the Colonel's clothes were covered in blood splatters. Text stated KFC Cruelty The Colonel's Secret Recipe Includes: Live Scalding, Painful Debeaking, Crippled Chickens PeTA

The complainant, who received the circular through her letter box, challenged whether it was offensive, irresponsible and unsuitable for untargeted delivery. She was particularly concerned about its effect on children as it had caused distress to a child in her care who had picked it up.

PETA said, in their view, disturbing facts should not be censored simply because they made some people feel uncomfortable and there was no indication that the leaflet had caused serious or widespread offence. They explained that they did not encourage the distribution of the leaflet through letter boxes or any form of untargeted delivery and pointed out that text on their website stated Dont drop leaflets into mailboxes; it was handed out only to willing takers and offered to activists and others who ordered it.

They argued that the image of Colonel Sanders on the front of the leaflet was obviously a comic character and the statements and images in the leaflet were not intended to cause shock or distress, but depicted the treatment of chickens by KFC in a manner that lightened the burden of the message.

Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA understood that the leaflet was intended to promote the views of PETA and their concerns about animal welfare. We also understood that PETA did not encourage or condone the leaflet's untargeted distribution and acknowledged that it was generally handed out or sent to those who willingly accepted it.

We considered, however, that the cartoon image on the front of the leaflet and the text and photographs shown on the rear of it were graphic and likely to upset recipients who had not been targeted and who were unaware of its context before reading it. We, therefore, appreciated the complainant's concern.

While we did not condone the leaflets untargeted distribution, we acknowledged the measures taken by PETA to ensure that the leaflet was not distributed indiscriminately and, while it was regrettable that it had caused distress to a child by being posted through a letterbox, we considered that PETA had made reasonable efforts to instruct its supporters not to distribute the leaflet in this way. In addition, we considered that only one complaint was likely to be an indicator that the leaflet had not been distributed widely in the same manner. We concluded that it had not been targeted inappropriately and was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or distress to children.


21st June   

Offensive Massage...

Nutters raid Indian MTV office over massage poster
Link Here

The Mumbai police have released on bail all 69 detained Sikh protestors who were arrested for vandalising MTV music channel office in the city.

They were objecting an alleged poster that gives a picture of a Sikh man being massaged by a woman.

Reportedly, around 100 of protestors entered the MTV office in Mumbai and ransacked the workplace by smashing windows, furniture and computers, police said.

According to the protesters, the poster which portrayed a woman massaging a Sikh man – who peeped through a door - was to promote the reality show On the Job 2 , offended Sikhs.


19th June   

Less Lip...

Tesco ad pulled due to lyrics mentioning Jesus and Mohammed
Link Here

The band Black Lips have claimed that their music was set to feature in an advert for Tesco, until the supermarket cancelled it over concerns with the lyrical content.

The advert, which was reportedly made, was soundtracked by the American band's track Veni Vidi Vici , taken from their 2007 album Good Bad Not Evil.

However, the song's references to religious figures led Tesco to pull the advert.

Bassist Jared Swilley said: They took it away because we mentioned Muhammad and Jesus.


18th June   

ASA Hits Out at The Hits...

Whinges about stripping woman dressed as a schoolgirl
Link Here

A TV advert showing a woman dressed as a schoolgirl conducting a striptease for two men should not have been shown when children were watching.

The ASA criticised broadcaster Box Television after it showed an advert for a mobile download of a controversial music video on its The Hits channel.

In the advert, which had no time restrictions, clips of HTwoO and Platnum's video for their What's It Gonna Be single were shown.

The video provoked controversy after showing a group of men and women wearing school uniforms dancing in front of a school.

In another section a woman performs a striptease in a classroom for one of the men, revealing a lacy red bra and pants under the uniform.

Two viewers who saw the advert on Sunday morning and Thursday afternoon complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that it was inappropriate to broadcast the clip when children could have been watching.

The broadcaster noted that the music video itself had already been cleared by Ofcom over its sexually provocative content.

In its adjudication the ASA warned The Hits of failing to apply scheduling restrictions to adverts inappropriate for children.


18th June   

Searching for Unregulated Advertising...

European discussions about regulation of online advertising
Link Here

Debates are taking place in Europe over the self regulation of online advertising.

The PPA, the association of UK magazines and publishers, has commented that advertising codes should cover all forms of internet adverts in order to avoid introducing 'unnecessary' legislation.

For example, search results and sponsored links are not covered by the code.

Now the government and non-governmental organisations in the UK and Brussels are discussing how advertising self-regulation applies to online media.

PPA's director of legal and public affairs, Kerry Neilson, has called on the advertising industry to address whether it wants to be regulated by legislation or whether it would be more effective to extend self-regulatory codes.

Although self-regulation shows the industry can police itself, it requires sign-up rules that involve obligations that occasionally go further than the law therefore meaning it is 'not the easy option', she added.


9th June   

For More Eyes Only...

Lap dancing club poster cleared
Link Here

A poster, for a For Your Eyes Only table dancing club, showed a group of semi-naked women lying down together; they were wearing only knickers and their arms covered their breasts. Text stated FOR YOUR EYES ONLY The Ultimate Table Dancing Club ... OPENING 22 FEBRUARY 2008.

Complainants objected that the ad was offensive and unsuitable for display where it could be seen by children.

FYEO said the image used was no more explicit than those in other ads for shower gels or lingerie. They therefore believed it was unlikely to offend. They pointed out that clause 5.3 of the CAP Code stated The fact that a particular product is offensive to some people is not sufficient grounds for objecting to a marketing communication for it and they believed that was relevant to the complaints about their ad.

The ASA noted several of the complainants believed the ad was sexist and degrading to women. We noted the women were semi-naked and their poses 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. We concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence and was not unsuitable to be seen by children.

No further action required.


8th June   

The Taste of Tasteless Advertising...

Release of never aired IRN-BRU advertising
Link Here

A series of adverts for Scotland's other national drink that were deemed too strong for public consumption can be revealed today.

Over the years Irn-Bru's anarchic and controversial advertising campaigns have come under fire from pensioners, goths, animals rights activists and even a police chief.

But now we can reveal the ads that even the makers of the soft drink, AG Barr, considered too near the knuckle to use.

The images have been gathering dust in the vaults of AG Barr, but now they can be revealed in all their bizarre glory.

A spokeswoman confirmed the firm had pulled together censored and ditched adverts from over the years: Dozens of funny and original ideas are generated, but not all of them can make it through to be produced into an Irn-Bru advertising campaign. The not-so-lucky ideas that didn't make it have been lying unused for some time and we felt it was appropriate to let Irn-Bru fans have a lighthearted look at these funny adverts.

Even at first glance it is clear why some of the posters were pulled before they hit the streets. One features a photograph of a gorilla alongside the slogan: Gimme some Irn-Bru or I'll shuffle my nuts in front of your mother.

Another depicts a clawed crustacean stating: I'm into Irn-Bru and hardcore prawn sites.

The firm also developed a never-before-seen series of ads entitled It's Happy Time! They show a man beaming with delight despite his partner being in bed with the plumber, campers being cheerfully torn to pieces by bears, and a grinning alien erupting from the stomach of a drink-swilling man.

Over the years the tongue-in-cheek commercials for the fizzy orange drink have attracted awards as well as a cult following, particularly among teenagers. Their popularity is such that last year a cinema presentation of classic Irn-Bru ads proved to be more popular than Quentin Tarantino's latest movie. Tickets for Phenomenal Advertising were snapped up in less than 24 hours at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, while those for Death Proof remained unsold.

See Irn-bru never seen before advertising


5th June   

Upper Class Twits of the Year...

Whinging about light hearted insurance advert
Link Here

A tongue-in-cheek TV ad campaign that sends up the lifestyle of posh people, featuring Nigel Havers at a game shoot on an exclusive estate, has drawn complaints that it might be prejudiced against the upper classes.

The Advertising Standards Authority has received a dozen complaints that the TV ad, for Privilege car insurance, is stereotypical and projects and offensive view of the upper class".

Privilege's campaign, created by ad agency M&C Saatchi, opens with Havers standing in a peaceful rural setting. Just listen to that, the wonderful sound of: he says before the tranquillity is broken by a barrage of shotgun fire, "… ...the upper classes. The ad then shifts to show apparently well-to-do gentlemen blasting away with shotguns and more people arriving by helicopter. If you're really posh you fly in, says Havers.

He then points out that with Privilege car insurance you don't have to be posh to be privileged.


5th June   

Madmen Advertising...

New Zealand Prime TV pulls adverts
Link Here

Prime TV has pulled billboards advertising an upcoming programme following complaints from the Jewish community.

The billboards were erected in Auckland and Wellington advertising Madmen: The Glory Years of Advertising , and bore the slogan: Advertising Agency Seeks: Clients. All business considered, even from Jews, it was reported.

The advertisements also appeared over two pages in the latest New Zealand edition of Time magazine which has promised to publish a two-page apology in its next edition.

The wisdom of the entire project defies belief, said New Zealand Jewish Council chairman Geoff Levy: Long ago we moved on from this sort of language, but obviously not. In these days of 60 years plus since World War 2, I never thought it would come again, let alone to New Zealand.


29th May   

Update: Kitty Porn...

Catty comments about PETA pet fertility control ad
Link Here
Full story: Peta...Animal activists challenging the media

A new campaign featuring cats engaged in the act of making kittens is apparently too frisky for some television networks which are banning the "kitty porn."

The public service announcement, titled Sex and the Kitty, a take-off of the new movie Sex and the City, is produced by PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The spot shows animatronic cats in heat, to say the least, as it focuses attention on the need for animal birth control.

Daphna Nachminovitch, vice president of PETA said: When you consider the millions of unwanted cats and dogs born each year, it's clear that the purrfect solution is spaying and neutering companion animals.

The animal-rights group issued a release, claiming its PSA was banned from MTV and most networks for being "too steamy," but said the ad will run in Seattle this week on KSTW-TV.

However, when contacted by WND, the Seattle station was not so sure.


26th May   

Kill Jill...

TV ad encouraging organ donation cleared
Link Here

A TV ad, for The Scottish Government, encouraged viewers to register as organ donors. It showed an image of a young girl's head set against a black background. The voice-over and on-screen text stated Would you allow your organs to save a life? You have 20 seconds to decide . The girl's face started to fade gradually and become distorted. The voice-over stated Kill Jill? and on-screen text stated Kill Jill accompanied by a choice "Yes" or "No". The voice-over and on-screen text then stated No ... register and you could save a life.

10 viewers complained. Several viewers objected that the ad was misleading, offensive and distressing, because it implied that people who did not register as organ donors were killing someone. One viewer called Jill, whose seven-year-old son had been upset by the ad, objected that it was likely to cause distress to children.

ASA Decision

The ASA noted many of the viewers objected to the claim "Kill Jill", because it implied that people who did not sign up to the register were choosing to kill someone.

We considered, however, that most viewers were unlikely to interpret the claim literally and would understand the ad was intended to highlight that by signing up to the register they could save someone's life, which was made clear in the statement register and you could save a life. We noted the ad was hard-hitting and referred to a difficult and sensitive subject matter, which could be upsetting for some. We considered, however, that in the context of the important message the ad was promoting, the ad was unlikely to mislead, cause serious or widespread offence or undue distress.

We noted the ad had been given an ex-kids restriction, which helped to prevent it being seen by very young children when they were watching programmes specifically designed for them. We acknowledged that the complainant's son had been upset by the ad. We considered, however, that the images used in the ad were unlikely to distress the vast majority of children. We considered that the ad was unlikely to cause undue fear or distress to children. We considered that it was not necessary to impose a greater restriction to direct the ad away from all children and concluded that it had been appropriately scheduled.

Complaints not upheld, no further action required.


15th May   

Thin Skins...

ASA whinge at Skins poster
Link Here

A billboard poster for Skins , which featured Michelle in her underwear and other characters in various stages of undress , was supposedly indecent and should not have been used, advertising regulators have decided.

In the advert, Michelle, the character played by April Pearson in the teen drama, is sitting on the edge of a bed with dishevelled hair and smudged eye make-up. Sid (Mike Bailey) is in the background, sitting up in the bed naked, with a pillow over his crotch.

Several other couples are embracing at Michelle's feet, also naked or in their underwear.

About ten people complained to the Advertising Standards Agency about the poster - most saying it was offensive and unsuitable to be seen by children. Others said it could be seen as condoning underage sex.

Channel 4 said it took care not to place the adverts near schools. It added that all the characters involved were over 18.

Though it rejected the complaints about underage sex, the ASA said the poster breached its code. We considered that the image, showing characters from the programme embracing in varying states of undress, implied that an orgy was taking place, said the regulator: We concluded that the poster could cause serious or widespread offence to those who saw it and was unsuitable to be used in a medium where it could be seen by children.

The ASA rejected complaints about another poster that showed character Tony (Nicholas Hoult) lying under the water in a bath, leaving it unclear whether he was dead or alive. Some were concerned the image was offensive, distressing and could be copied by children.


10th May   

Update: Nutters Bussed In...

Take-Two sue Chicago Transit who pulled Grand Theft Auto IV ads
Link Here
Full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters

The publisher of Grand Theft Auto 4 IV is suing the Chicago Transit Authority, accusing it of pulling ads promoting the video game without explanation.

The video game's publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. sued the transit authority in Manhattan federal court for violating its free speech and contractual rights, saying it pulled its posters within days of the ads first appearing on April 22.

Take Two accused the authority and its sales agent, Titan Outdoor LLC, of violating a $300,000 (150,000 pounds) ad campaign agreement that included running Grand Theft Auto 4 IV poster ads on the sides of buses and transit display spaces throughout the Chicago transit system scheduled for six weeks between April and June.

The suit seeks an order for the transit authority to run the ads as well as monetary damages of at least $300,000.

The advertisements were removed following a report by a Fox News affiliate that questioned why the ad was allowed to run after a wave of violent crimes in Chicago, the suit said.


7th May   

Update: Finger Wagging Good...

ASA to investigate anti-KFC animal cruelty leaflet
Link Here
Full story: Peta...Animal activists challenging the media

The advertising watchdog is investigating an ad by animal rights group Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) that shows KFC's Colonel Sanders spattered in blood and about to knife a chicken, after a complaint that it was offensive and could distress children.

The ad, on the front cover of a leaflet that Peta distributes across the UK, is part of a campaign the animal rights group is running against the fast food chain under the title "KFC Cruelty".

The text on the front of the leaflet states: KFC Cruelty. The Colonel's secret recipe includes: live scalding, painful de-beaking, crippled chickens.

The complainant to the Advertising Standards Authority said that the circular was offensive, irresponsible and unsuitable for targeted delivery and was particularly concerned that it could distress children who picked it up.

The ASA is investigating the leaflet and its contents to see of it breaches the advertising code's stipulations on responsible advertising, decency and causing fear and distress.

Peta says that this is the first time the leaflet has sparked a complaint made through official channels since the campaign began in 2003: The cartoon image of Colonel Sanders killing a chicken on our leaflet is obviously a caricature - a comic. We cannot imagine that our leaflet would provoke fear in anyone unless the reader was a chicken.


7th May   

Nutters Exposed...

Whingeing about naked silhouette on US store sign
Link Here

A New Hampshire adult video store's roadside sign will be moved, but not removed from the property.

The sign for XXXPosed in Wyndham has sparked complaints from passers-by who find the female silhouette on it racy and inappropriate for children to view. The planning director said, his department has received seven or eight complaints about the sign's content in the past several weeks.

Nonetheless, the sign's content is in keeping with local regulations, town officials say.

But the sign's location was deemed 7 feet too close to the right-of-way and must be moved back, said town Planning Director Al Turner.

Business co-owner Maurice Brancato said he has contracted with a company to move the sign.

Meanwhile, Planning Board nutter Ruth-Ellen Post said she can see how the sign would bother a mother with young children. In fact, she said, she would avoid it if she were transporting a young child.


5th May   

Complaints up at the ASA...

ASA eye the regulation of commercial claims on websites
Link Here

In 2007, the ASA received 24,192 complaints about a record 14,080 advertisements. The total number of complaints received increased by 8% in comparison with 2006. The number of ads complained about continued to rise: 2007'
s total represented an increase of 10% from the year before.

The number of broadcast complaints received increased by nearly 20% to 10,685 compared with 2006, reflecting the fact that seven out of the 10 most complained about campaigns of the year included TV ads. The total number of broadcast ads complained about was 2,639.

The most complained about advert was the Governments anti smoking campaign featuring people 'fish hooked' by nicotine. 774 complaints were upheld. The ASA felt that two of the TV ads and the poster ads could frighten and distress children and upheld complaints on this basis.

Overall, non-broadcast media attracted more objections, with a total of 13,507 complaints about 11,441 non-broadcast advertisements. However, this represents a mere 0.4% growth in the number of complaints year on year, while the number of non-broadcast ads complained about has increased by 9%.

The number of complaints the ASA receive about advertising on the internet continues to grow strongly. Some of these – where banner or pop-up ads, e-mails or virals are concerned – are within the remit, but the overwhelming proportion of complaints relate to advertising claims on companies'
 own websites, and as such fall outside of remit.

Chris Smith, the ASA chairman said: We hope for an early outcome to the detailed discussions under way within the industry, led by the Advertising Association, on the development of ways to ensure continued responsibility in advertising in new media settings.


1st May   

No Go Fashion Zones...

Swimwear Provokes Intolerance in Birmingham
Link Here

TA councillor has called for more control over advertising posters in "culturally sensitive" areas of Birmingham.

Coun Talib Hussain made his plea after a billboard on the corner of Sydenham Road and Golden Hillock Road, in predominantly Muslim Sparkbrook, was defaced.

The hoarding, close to mosques in Anderton Road and Golden Hillock Road and visible to parents and children walking to Montgomery Primary School, promotes Matalan's new swimwear range and features three scantily-clad models.

The models have been covered in thick white paint to conceal bare flesh.

Coun Talib Hussain (Ind, Sparkbrook) criticised the vandalism but said it was a result of the lack of action from city council bosses. He said: I condemn the people that did this but at the same time it's wrong for companies to put that kind of advert in sensitive wards.

I have received complaints on a number of occasions not to put adverts like that in Sparkbrook. The city council should not give permission to advertising like that in these wards. Having families seeing naked pictures does not bring the community together, it provokes things.

The vandalism is similar to a spate of attacks in 2005 and 2006 by a group called Muslims Against Advertising.

A Birmingham City Council spokesman, said: Our only power is to approve where advertising can take place, but not what is put on it. That is between the Advertising Standards Agency and the firm itself.

The ASA said the content of billboard adverts was controlled by billboard owner and the advertiser, and that the agency only had "responsive" powers: If we receive complaints we will consider if an advert should be removed.


30th April   

Pot Shot at Women...

Whingers complain about Pot Noodle advert
Link Here

The advertising censor, ASA, has received 10 complaints that Pot Noodle's resolutely un-PC television campaign, featuring a 1980s power ballad about how women should be easy, simple and hassle free , is sexist and portrays women as sexual objects.

Pot Noodle's latest ad, which launched earlier this week, features a crooner who wishes that women were as simple as the ready-to-eat snack.

Complaints to the ASA include the claim that the ad is: offensive and demeaning to women, is misogynistic and portrays women as sexual objects.

The ASA will now assess whether or not to launch a formal investigation into the campaign.

Pot Noodle's TV campaign, created by ad agency Mother, is a spoof of a 1980s music video. In the song a singer and his backing musician argue that if women were a Pot Noodle it would be farewell to nagging and random tantrums . They wish women could be freeze-dried and quick and done in a jiffy.

If she lived in a cupboard things wouldn't be so tough, runs one line. The final scene ends with a group of men raising their forks in unison to celebrate Pot Noodle, in praise of things simple, easy and more hassle free.


28th April   

Cereal Whingers...

ASA clear Kelloggs adverts
Link Here

Cereal company Kellogg's has escaped censure from the advertising watchdog after 70 complaints about two TV campaigns, one of which was accused of containing overtones of sexual abuse.

The Advertising Standards Authority received 42 complaints about a TV ad for the Nutri-Grain cereal bar and another 26 about a TV ad for Coco Pops.

The Nutri-Grain ad opened in a doctor's surgery with a young man being examined by what appeared to be a doctor in a white coat.

At one point the 'doctor' says, Now take off your trousers, at which point the young man, looking alarmed, says You're not a real doctor are you?. The older man admits that he is, in fact, a baker and puts a large red oven glove on one hand.

Complainants argued that this ad was offensive because it was suggestive of the sexual abuse of younger people by authority figures. Some also questioned whether the ad should be shown at times when children could be watching.

Because of the serious nature of the consumer complaints, Kellogg's said it would alter the ad to remove the "take off your trousers" line. The company said the idea behind the ad was that the baker character was so "evangelical" about Nutri-Grain that he would pretend to be a doctor to push the product.

The ASA cleared the ad, ruling that the "doctor" was surreal or eccentric… [not] powerful or authoritative, although it admitted that some viewers might find the ad distasteful.

The second ad, for Coco Pops, featured children eating a bowl of cereal as an afternoon snack. The ASA received 26 complaints arguing that it encouraged a "harmful dietary practice" because it was portraying the high-sugar chocolate-flavoured cereal as an afternoon snack.

The ASA said the ad did not encourage eating two bowls a day and that it was not irresponsible to suggest they could be eaten as an after-school snack. We concluded that the ad was unlikely to encourage excessive consumption or poor nutritional habits in children, said the ASA, clearing the ad.


24th April   

Short Shrift...

ASA whinge at 'being short' Paddy Power advert
Link Here

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ordered online gambling outfit Paddy Power "not to repeat" the approach it adopted in a newspaper ad which showed a "short man" in the back of stretch limo flanked by women under the title Who says you can't make money being short?

The offending advertisement, which appeared in the Times, attracted one complaint which challenged whether the ad irresponsibly linked gambling to seduction, sexual success, and enhanced attractiveness.

The ASA itself questioned whether the ad breached the [CAP] Code by implying gambling could improve self-image or self-esteem or was a way to gain control, superiority, recognition, or admiration.

The ASA continues: They said the ad targeted a very specific group of people in the financial spread betting community who would be aware of the connotations of 'going' or 'being' short. They said this was a term used to describe a particular financial spread betting activity.

The ASA ruled that the ad had breached CAP Code and said: We considered that the ad was likely to be seen to play on a traditional stereotype of male attractiveness that was sometimes prejudiced against shorter men and to suggest that desirable female companionship was attainable for short men too through the enhanced attractiveness provided by wealth (acquired by gambling).

It added: We concluded that, by showing the man flanked by two glamorous women in the context of a direct reference to making money through financial spread betting, the ad irresponsibly linked gambling with sexual success and enhanced attractiveness.

Paddy Power said that in the light of the ASA's communication with them, they had withdrawn the ad from all UK media outlets.


21st April   

Premature Erection...

New Zealand poster offends the advert censors
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Full story: Longer Lasting Sex...Nutters get off on advert for longer lasting sex

A New Zealand billboard offering "longer lasting sex" to advertise a remedy for male sexual dysfunction has been ruled offensive and in breach of advertising standards.

The Advertising Standards Authority upheld 38 complaints received about the billboard for the Advanced Medical Institute.

The billboard had the words Want Longer Lasting Sex? and a phone number in red lettering on a yellow background. In the bottom left-hand corner in black type were the words Nasal Delivery Technology Call the Doctors at Advanced Medical Institute.

Complainants said the billboard was near two schools and there was a high likelihood it would be seen by children. They said it was not clear what the actual product was and the dominant message was sex.

Upholding the complaints, the authority acknowledged that premature ejaculation affected about 30% of men. But it said it was conscious of the public concern at using billboards to advertise matters relating to personal health problems.

It said the combination of the wording, large type size, bold colours and overall size of the billboards promoting a product for adult men to assist with a personal health problem was likely to cause widespread offence. This was particularly so as it was visible to a very wide audience, including children.


9th April   

Cut Here...

ASA ban adverts for Kane and Lynch game
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A promotional campaign for a violent computer game must never be shown again, after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) decided to uphold complaints received.

Advertisements for Kane & Lynch were accompanied by the claim that the game is grittier and nastier . . . than anything you've seen before, the violence . . . visceral, brutal and very, very real.

Kane & Lynch is made by Eidos and carries an 18-rating.

Posters for the game depicted a gagged woman in tears. A scarred man wearing surgical gloves pulled her head back by her hair while a second man behind them held his finger on the trigger of a rifle.

Those who complained to the ASA said they found the graphic depiction of violence towards women in the advertisements, seen on posters, on television and in magazines, distressing. They complained that the ads condoned violence towards women and would have been seen by children.

After yesterday's ruling, Eidos said it had not wanted to offend anyone. The firm said it had dropped the posters as soon as complaints were received and that the advertisements were only placed in adult male life-style magazines and specialist publications. Both Five and Channel 4, which screened the adverts, apologised for any offence caused.

The ASA ruled that the poster and magazine ads breached decency and responsible advertising codes while the TV ad broke guidelines on harm, offence, violence and cruelty.


6th April   

Dildos in South Padre...

Sky sign advertising grounded
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A banner advertising adult products website that had been flown over spring break destination South Padre Island, Texas, has been grounded after complaints by residents.

It's just a little community, and there are a lot of older folks there, John from Houston-based National Sky Signs told XBIZ. We flew it a couple of times and the county asked me if I would not do it anymore. It was an informal request. I said, 'Not a problem.' They moved the banner to another place.

The banner displays Got Toys? alongside the company's logo of a silhouetted woman. CEO Keith Levenson told XBIZ that he might pursue the ban through the courts: So far as I knew, flying planes and aerial banners was a First Amendment right.


1st April   

Update: Advertising Responsibility...

Byron recommends research about advertising for video games
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Full story: The Byron Report...Tanya Byron reports on media child protection

The advertising and video game industries are set to work closely with the government to assess the impact of marketing to children following recommendations in The Byron Review.

The report recommends that new research is needed to examine if video games are being advertised responsibly, and also to look at marketing's role in stimulating children's desire to play video games not appropriate for their age.

According to Tanya Byron, an irresponsible video game ad has the potential to be a piece of inappropriate content itself, and can also be part of a process that encourages children to play unsuitable products.

Efforts to ensure the responsible advertising of video games should be seen as one of the key mechanisms to minimise and manage potential risks to children and young people from playing video games that are not appropriate for their age.

Byron suggests the research is completed in time for the government to take stock of the evidence and act accordingly by spring 2009.

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