High priests of PC get in an ethical tangle over toyboy taboo…Advert censor confuses PC ideals with the truth

Posted: 6 August, 2014 in ASA Advert Censor
Tags: , ,
Read more ASA Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

nicofresh advert A billboard poster for Nicofresh e-cigarettes, which appeared in various locations in Belfast, featured an elderly white woman sitting on a sofa alongside a young black man. The man had his arms around the woman and his eyes were closed, whilst the woman held an electronic cigarette and was looking directly at the camera. Text alongside the image stated NO TOBACCO. NO TABOO .

  1. Six complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive on the grounds of race, because it implied that an interracial relationship was socially unacceptable.

  2. Four of the complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive on the grounds of age, because it implied that a relationship between an elderly woman and a younger man was socially unacceptable.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

The ASA considered that consumers were likely to interpret the ad to mean that, contrary to the relationship depicted, to smoke e-cigarettes was not a taboo issue. We noted the pronounced age gap between the man and woman, the fact they were a couple, and that the image was accompanied with the text NO TOBACCO. NO TABOO . We considered that consumers would believe that the ad was presenting a relationship between an older and younger individual, particularly an older woman and a younger man, and a couple of different races, as something that was unusual or socially unacceptable. Because of that, we concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence on the grounds of race and age.

The ad breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Nicofresh Ltd to ensure their marketing communications did not contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence in future, and to take particular care to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race or age.

Advertisements

Comments are closed.