Advert censor wishes you a miserable Christmas and a PC New Year…Scrooges at ASA whinge about a Christmas advert for the Breakfast Club Cafe in Brighton

Posted: 31 December, 2015 in ASA Advert Censor
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breakfast club cafe snowman advert A regional press ad for The Breakfast Club cafe, advertising Christmas meals, seen in the Brighton & Hove Independent newspaper on 9 November 2015. The ad featured a cartoon snowman that held a carrot which pointed out from the groin area and two pixilated reindeer that appeared to be mating. Issue

The complainant, whose five-year-old child saw the ad, challenged whether:

  1. the ad was offensive; and

  2. was irresponsibly targeted.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA welcomed Brighton & Hove Independent’s assurance that they would not print similar ads in future. We noted that the image of the snowman was very prominent in the ad and it appeared the carrot was positioned in order to resemble an erect penis. We also considered that that image, together with the smaller image of the two reindeer, that appeared to be mating, conveyed a sexual tone to the ad.

We understood that the Brighton & Hove Independent newspaper was freely distributed and could therefore be picked-up by consumers within the distribution area. We therefore considered that it was likely to be seen by a wide audience range including children. Furthermore, we understood that the complainant had been browsing through the newspaper with their five-year-old child who was likely to have seen the ad.

We therefore concluded that the overtly sexualised tone of the ad, seen in an untargeted medium, was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and it was irresponsible because of its placement in a freely available newspaper.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Catsteps Cafes Ltd t/a The Breakfast Club to ensure their ads were not overtly sexual when published in an untargeted medium.


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