A video on the Agent Provocateur website http://www.agentprovocateur.com for their Soiree line of lingerie featured a woman in a nightgown, alone in her home. She was shown answering the telephone twice, the first time she answered, no one spoke. The second time there was the sound of someone laughing at the other end. The woman looked anxiously out of her window before several women, who were wearing revealing lingerie with stockings and long boots, appeared at the window and then inside the house. The women were shown dragging the other woman through the house who then adopted a series of poses, some sexual, alone and with the other women. During the course of the video, the woman looked visibly distressed and several times the position of her nightgown revealed her breasts. The group of women then appeared to attack the woman’s body; she then she re-appeared wearing similar revealing lingerie to the group. Issue
The complainant objected that the ad was irresponsible as it appeared on a website that could be seen by children because it had no age restriction.
Agent Provocateur Ltd did not respond to the ASA’s enquiries.
ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld
The ASA was concerned by Agent Provocateur’s lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to respond promptly to our enquiries and we told them to do so in future.
The ad appeared in a section of Agent Provocateur’s website relating to a specific line of lingerie and was not protected through age verification. Although we noted that the website was designed to appeal to adults rather than children through its style, colour and graphics and it promoted products that were likely to be seen as niche within the wider lingerie market, we considered that it featured erotic and fetish type scenes which some viewers would not find suitable to be seen by children.
Because of the sexually graphic and at times distressing nature of the video and the potential for children to share a web-link relatively easily we concluded that it was unsuitable for display on an openly-accessible website where it might be viewed by children.
The ad breached CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility).
The ad must not appear again unless suitable precautions are taken to avoid it being seen by children.
In fact the video is now presented on the website with the warning:
Caution. Video contains sexy and provocative footage (not recommended for under 18).
A Distressing Change of Opinion by ASA
See article from melonfarmers.co.uk
Strange that the ASA seemed to have changed their minds about the same video since they last investigated it in March of this year.
In August 2012 ASA noted:
Because of the sexually graphic and at times distressing nature of the video…
In March 2012 ASA noted:
We also considered the ad was unlikely to cause fear or distress.
ASA’s Assessment from March 2012 read:
The ASA noted the online video appeared in the context of the website of a luxury lingerie retailer. We acknowledged some viewers might find some of the scenes distasteful but considered the highly stylised nature and clearly fictional content of the video meant it was unlikely to be interpreted by most viewers in the way the complainant suggested. We considered the ads did not demean women and were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to visitors to the Agent Provocateur website. We also considered the ad was unlikely to cause fear or distress without justifiable reason. We therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.
You’d think that the censors would try and maintain a bit of consistency about their work. There seems little point in having censors if their decisions are arbitrary.