A TV ad, for Richmond ham, opened with a man wearing only a cap, standing in a field and looking admiringly at a ham sandwich. He was then shown strolling past a group of naked people who were eating a picnic. The man sang, Oh Richmond ham, as nature intended, you’ve nothing to hide Richmond ham, to me you taste blooming splendid. And I say naturally, check the pack and you’ll see, 100% natural ingredients its true, yes it’s Richmond’s for me. The camera then cut to a shot of the man’s backside and a voice-over stated, New Richmond ham. Britain’s only ham made with 100% natural ingredients. On-screen text stated See richmondham.co.uk for verification. Reviewed quarterly .
The ad was cleared by Clearcast with an ex-kids restriction, which meant it should not be shown in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children.
The ASA received 371 complaints.
- The majority of the complainants challenged whether the nudity in the ad was offensive.
- Many complainants challenged whether the ad was inappropriate for broadcast at times when children were likely to be watching.
- Ten complainants challenged whether the claim Britain’s only ham made with 100% natural ingredients was misleading and could be substantiated, because they understood many local producers and butchers also made 100% natural ham products;
- Five complainants challenged whether it was misleading to describe the product as Britain’s only ham … , because they believed the company was Irish and the product was made in Ireland; and
- Four complainants challenged whether the claims made with 100% natural ingredients and as nature intended were misleading and could be substantiated, because they understood the product was processed and made with pork protein.
Kerry Foods Ltd (KF) said the ad was designed to convey their core message about Richmond Ham’s natural ingredients in a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek, humorous manner consistent with their positioning as a family brand. They said the ad demonstrated a well-adjusted, comfortable, and completely non-sexual attitude to the human body and that, before it was launched, they tested it rigorously with their target audience of mums with children living at home and had received an overwhelmingly positive response.
Clearcast said they did not consider the nudity in the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offense because it was not sexual, voyeuristic or sleazy. They did not feel the nudity was gratuitous, but rather that it was there to reinforce the brand message of being 100% natural.
2. KF said their media schedule was planned with their target audience in mind. They told us they had abided by the ex-kids restriction placed by Clearcast, and that the ad had only run in airtime that Ofcom classified as adult .
Clearcast said they did not believe the ad would cause physical, mental, moral or social harm to persons under 18 years old and they felt an ex-kids restriction was sufficient to reduce the likelihood of the ad being seen by children under 16.
ASA Assessment: Nudity complaints not upheld
1. Not upheld
The ASA noted that the ad featured nudity and we accepted that that was not directly relevant to the product being advertised. However, we considered most consumers would understand that it was a light-hearted reference to the product being as nature intended . Whilst we understood the ad may not appeal to everyone, we considered that it was not sexual in tone and we concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.
2. Not upheld
We acknowledged some complainants felt the content of the ad made it unsuitable for viewing by children. However, we considered that the ad did not contain anything that might harm or distress children under 16, or that was otherwise unsuitable for them. We therefore concluded that the ad was scheduled appropriately.
On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule 32.3 (Scheduling of television and radio advertisements) but did not find it in breach.
However the ASA did take issue with the claim that Richmond Ham is Britain’s only ham when in fact it is made in Ireland.