ASA’s Top Ten Adverts…Advert censor publishes Annual Report covering 2013

Posted: 7 June, 2014 in ASA Advert Censor
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asa annual report 2013 ASA has announced a new catchphrase to make every UKad a responsiblead. The press release explains:

Our work resulted in 4,161 ads being changed or withdrawn, a record high. We received 31,136 complaints about 18,580 ads with, significantly, 31% of our caseload represented by online ads; perhaps reflecting the fact that advertisers continue to find new and innovative ways to advertise and engage with consumers through new channels. On top of that, our focus on providing advertisers with the help to get their ads right saw CAP delivering training and advice on over 160,000 occasions, including recording 98,825 visits to its online advice resources.

As part of our ambition to make every UK ad a responsible ad our Report also highlights our new five-year strategy and how we’ll be placing even more emphasis on proactive work.

ASA has also also published its traditional list of top ten adverts for 2013. These are judged according to the amount of complaints received by ASA.

  1. VIP Electronic Cigarette . 937 complaints upheld in part

    Two TV ads and YouTube videos for e-cigarettes, one featuring a man and the other a woman talking directly to camera, prompted complaints that the use of sexual innuendo was offensive because it was inappropriate for children, glamorised smoking and was sexist and degrading. Although it appeared post-9 pm we thought a post-11 pm restriction was more appropriate.

  2. Marmite . 738 complaints not upheld

    A TV and online ad campaign set in the style of a fly-on-the-wall documentary, followed rescue officers visiting people’s houses looking for neglected jars of Marmite. Viewers objected that the ads trivialised the work of child and animal abuse services and were irresponsible. We thought that it was light-hearted in tone and people were likely to understand that the ads were a spoof.

  3. Flora Buttery Margarine . 513 complaints not upheld

    An animated TV and online ad for Flora Buttery margarine featured two young siblings who, having prepared breakfast-in-bed for their parents, entered into their bedroom to find them wrestling . We did not agree that the mild sexual references were irresponsible, offensive or inappropriate for children.

  4. Home Office . 251 complaints Upheld in part

    An ad that appeared on the side of vans driven through six London boroughs featured the text: In the UK illegally ? GO HOME OR FACE ARREST and quoted arrest statistics. After careful consideration, while the ad may have been distasteful to many, we didn’t think it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence. However, we did consider the ad was misleading because the arrest figures were not properly qualified or presented clearly.

  5. Irn Bru . 223 complaints not upheld

    A mother embarrassing her son by wearing a push-up bra and pressing his head against her bosom in front of his friends generated complaints that it was offensive, inappropriate, sexist, demeaning to women and unsuitable for children to see. We thought the humour in the TV, YouTube, video-on-demand and online ad would not be to everyone’s taste but was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

  6. Bertolli Spread . 201 complaints not upheld

    A TV and YouTube ad for Bertolli spread depicted a young man being left naked and covering his modesty after a group of older women, who were watching him change on the beach, got their dog to steal his towel. Complainants thought the ad condoned sexual harassment and bullying, objectified the man, was inappropriate for children and portrayed the women negatively. Overall, we thought the ad was light-hearted and mischievous, rather than sinister or predatory.

  7. Red Bull . 179 complaints not upheld

    The central concept of this TV ad was that the captain of the Titanic should have allowed crates of the energy drink, Red Bull, on board as it gives you wings . We received objections that it was offensive and inappropriate in light of the lives lost. In our view the ad referenced the well-known story that the Titanic was unsinkable rather than making light of the tragedy.

  8. E45 Moisturiser . 167 complaints not upheld

    When a young woman, sat in a darkened room, began talking about being hooked on a moisturising product this TV ad provoked an angry response that it made light of, normalised and glamorised drug use. On the back of feedback it received from its customers the advertiser took the decision to withdraw the ad. On that basis we didn’t take any further action.

  9. Pussy Drink . 159 complaints upheld in part

    Posters and the website for the energy drink generated complaints that the use of the word Pussy was a sexually explicit reference and was therefore offensive, degrading to women and unsuitable for children. We agreed that one of the posters, which featured the word in large bold text, was likely to cause serious offence and was inappropriate in an untargeted medium.

  10. Cancer Research UK . 154 complaints not upheld

    This TV ad featured cancer sufferers and survivors addressing the camera and saying Cancer, you prat and Up yours, Cancer as well as an X-ray of hand making a v sign. Some viewers thought it was offensive as well as being unsuitable for children. As the ad had a scheduling restriction that kept it way from children’s programmes and because viewers were likely to interpret the phrases as a positive sign of defiance or courage when faced with the disease we found it did not break the rules.

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