The taste of censorship…ASA recommends Premier Estates Wine

Posted: 5 November, 2015 in ASA Advert Censor
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Read more ASA Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

premier-estate-wines advert A tweet and videos that appeared on the advertiser’s website (as a pre-roll ad on YouTube and on the advertiser’s YouTube channel) promoting wine, were seen between 12 August 2015 and 4 September 2015.

  • a). The tweet from the Premier Estates Wine Twitter account, dated 11 August, stated Tweet ‘I want to #TasteTheBush’ and you could wine [sic] a case of wine!… . The tweet also included an image of a woman, from her chest to her mid-thigh, standing behind a table on which a glass of red wine was resting directly in front of her crotch. Overlaid text stated #TasteTheBush .
  • b). The website for Premier Estates Wines http://www.premierestates.co.uk included a video on the News page of the site as part of a post entitled We Invite You to #TasteTheBush . It featured a woman in a kitchen holding a glass of red wine and talking about the positive attributes of Premier Estates Australian wines. After she had taken a sip she stated Luscious, earthy, bursting with fruit and spice. Australia practically jumps out of the glass . She then placed the glass on the table in front of her, directly in front of her crotch, before continuing In fact, some say you can almost taste the bush . She then looked awkwardly away from the camera before picking up her glass and walking away from the table.
  • c) The video that appeared on the Premier Estates YouTube channel was identical to ad (b).
  • d) A pre-roll ad on YouTube, was identical to ad (b). Issue

The ASA received eight complaints.

  1. Five complainants, including Wine Australia, a statutory body within Australia whose role included promoting the consumption and sale of Australian wine overseas, challenged whether the ads (b) and (c) were offensive, because they were sexist and degrading towards women.
  2. One complainant challenged whether ad (a) was offensive, for the same reasons.
  3. Three complainants, including Alcohol Concern, challenged whether the ads were in breach of the Code because they linked alcohol with sexual activity.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

1. Upheld

The ASA considered that most viewers would understand the claim … some say you can almost taste the bush to be a reference to oral sex, particularly given that it was accompanied with the image of the wine glass positioned directly in front of the woman’s crotch. The line appeared towards the end of the ad and, in conjunction with the image, which emphasised the sexual connation, created the final impression left by the ad. While the woman was immediately aware of the double-entendre and seemingly only mildly embarrassed as a result, we considered that it served to undermine her as, until that point, she had been portrayed as confident and in control while discussing the merits of the wine, in what appeared to be a relaxed and informal party atmosphere. For that reason, we considered that the ad presented the woman in a degrading manner, and concluded that it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

2. Upheld

We noted that the ad included a still from the video, which only showed the woman’s arms and torso, with a glass of red wine resting on a table directly in front of her crotch, and the text #TasteTheBush overlaid. While we understood the claim was intended to be tongue-in-cheek and could be construed to relate to the qualities of Australian wine, as stated in point 1 above, we considered that recipients would understand the dual meaning and the clear reference to oral sex. We considered that the cropped image which concealed the woman’s face accompanied by text that was also referring to her genitalia and oral sex, served to reduce the woman to merely a sexual object. In light of that, we considered that the ad presented the woman in a degrading manner and was likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Further, we considered that the fact recipients of the tweet were encouraged to re-tweet the claim themselves to partake in a competition was likely to amplify any offence caused. For those reasons we concluded that the ad was in breach of the Code.

3. Upheld

We considered that consumers would understand the claim #TasteTheBush , particularly when accompanied with an image of a woman standing behind a wine glass, which emphasised her crotch, to be a double-entendre referring to both Australian red wine, and female genitalia and oral sex. We also noted that the ads clearly promoted an alcoholic product and that an image of a glass of red wine was featured in each ad. Because the ads clearly referenced oral sex and featured an alcoholic product, we concluded that they linked alcohol with sexual activity and were in breach of the Code.

The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Premier Estates Wine to ensure their ads did not cause serious or widespread offence and to ensure they did not link alcohol with sexual activity in future.

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