Archive for the ‘ASA Advert Censor’ Category

Read more me_asa.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

alien covenenant advert video Two digital outdoor ads displayed on large screens in two stations in central London, for the film Alien: Covenant, seen in early May 2017:

a. The first ad began with a spacecraft approaching a planet followed by scenes on the planet. In one scene a man in a dark room shined a torch on an alien egg, the top of which began to slowly open. A close-up showed an alien-like mouth suddenly exploding from it, towards the camera. A woman in distress was then shown running down a corridor, being chase by an arachnid-like alien, followed by a close-up of her screaming. An arachnid-like alien was then shown running towards the camera. The final shot showed a woman hiding from an alien which was just on the other side of a door frame.

b. The second ad featured large on-screen text which stated in turn: RUN, HIDE, SCREAM and PRAY. The text appeared next to brief clips from the film, including the scene with the woman in distress running down a corridor being chased by an alien, the alien egg slowly opening, the close-up of the woman screaming, a woman looking panicked and shouting through the glass window in a closed door, the close-up of the alien-like mouth suddenly exploding towards the camera, and the final shot of a woman hiding from an alien which was just on the other side of a door frame.

Three complainants, one of whose children had seen the ads, challenged whether the ads were likely to cause fear or distress, and whether they were suitable to be shown in an untargeted medium.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA understood the film was rated as a 15 by the BBFC and considered that the advertiser should therefore have taken particular care to ensure that scenes included in the ads would be suitable to be shown in a public space where children were likely to be present.

The ads contained scenes of characters who were clearly in distress, as well as images of an alien mouth suddenly exploding from an egg out towards the viewer, and a woman being chased by an alien. We considered those scenes were likely to frighten and cause distress to some children and that the ads were likely to catch their attention, particularly as they were shown on large screens. We concluded the ads were not suitable to be shown in an untargeted public medium and therefore breached the Code.

The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Twentieth Century Fox Film Company Ltd to target their ads more carefully in future to avoid the risk of causing undue fear and distress to children.

Read more me_asa.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

lola lo club advertTwo posts on the promoter’s Facebook page advertising his Coco Beach Monday’s club night at Lola Lo nightclub in Bristol.:

  • a. A post seen on their own Facebook page on 13 April 2017 included a picture of a female with her head titled back, her mouth wide open, her tongue extended out of her mouth and liquid being dropped in her eye with the accompanying text FREE BUBBLY & VIP FOR GROUPS DISCOUNTED DRINKS & BIG TUNES ALL NIGHT.

  • b. An event invite for the Coco Beach Mondays club night seen on the complainants Facebook feed on 13 April 2017 included the same picture as above with the accompanying text Nice artwork 206 haha leaving to the imagination whats [sic] out of shot!.Issue

The ASA challenged whether the ads:

  • 1. linked alcohol with sexual activity; and

  • 2. featured alcohol being served irresponsibly.

The ASA also received two complaints:

  • 3. Both complainants believed that the image was sexually explicit and objectified women and challenged whether the ads were offensive.

ASA Assessment: complaints upheld

The ASA was concerned by Coco Beach Monday’s lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, and ruled that they had breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a substantive response to our enquiries and told them to do so in the future.

1. Upheld

We considered that the way the model was posed with her head titled back, her mouth wide open with her tongue extended out and the liquid being poured out of shot, meant that the image was inherently sexual in nature. We considered that although the exact type of liquid being poured in to the models eye was not revealed in the image, it was heavily implied to be alcohol. Further, the text contained in the image promoted free bubbly and discounted drinks available at the club night. We therefore considered that because the image used in the ads was inherently sexual in nature and the text promoted free alcohol at the event, that it linked alcohol with sexual activity and therefore breached the Code.

2. Upheld

The ads demonstrated alcohol being administered through the eyeball, known as eyeballing. This method of alcohol consumption had associated health risks. We concluded that the ads portrayed a style of drinking that was unwise and showed alcohol being handled irresponsibly and therefore was in breach of the Code.

3. Upheld

We considered the image used in the ads to be sexually gratuitous and provocative, and that it mimicked the style of facial pornography. This was further emphasised in ad (b) by the accompanying comment, which stated that the Facebook user should imagine where the liquid came from. We considered that the image that appeared in both ads, taken together with the sexually suggestive comment that accompanied ad (b), objectified women. We therefore considered that the ads were sexist and likely to cause serious wide spread offence.

Action

The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Coco Beach Monday’s to ensure their future advertising was prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and society, and to ensure they did not link alcohol to sexual activity or to show alcohol being handled or served irresponsibly. Further, we told them that they should ensure their ads did not contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

Read more me_asa.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

revo turf advertAn ad for Revo Turf, an artificial grass supplier and installer, seen in the landscape gardening trade magazine Pro Landscaper on 4 April 2017, featured an image of a woman’s legs from the knee down. Her legs were bare and she was wearing high heels, and standing on artificial grass. Large text stated The best way to get laid …, followed by a description of the advertiser’s products in smaller text. The description concluded The Turf Group is the only place to get a good lay.

The complainant challenged whether the references to getting laid in combination with the image were offensive.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ASA understood that laying turf was a commonly used term in the landscaping sector. We also acknowledged that the image of the woman’s legs was not sexually explicit. However, we considered that when the image was combined with the headline The best way to get laid and the further text The Turf Group is the only place to get a good lay, the references would be understood as a double entendre linking the landscaping terminology of laying turf with the slang terminology of getting laid. We considered that connection had the effect of demeaning and objectifying women by presenting them as sexual objects in order to draw attention to the ad. We therefore concluded the ad was likely to cause serious offence to some consumers.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Pile Height Ltd t/a Turf Group to ensure that future ads did not portray women in a manner that objectified them and which was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

Read more me_asa.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

begambleaware advertA cinema ad for Responsible Gambling Trust, seen in February 2017, showed a young woman sitting on her bed while an older man sat on a desk in the corner of the room. The older man said, in a sinister and menacing way, What is it? What is it? It’s just a bit of fun. Hey [laughs] it’s just a bit of fun. It’s just a bit of fun. Remember that rush. The best feeling you’ve ever had. Your words, it was perfect, you said it was. It was 10 out of 10; it was 100 out of 100. You tingled, you tingled. Your whole body was tingling. Don’t tell me you don’t remember that, you remember that, you remember every second of that. You of all people need to have a little bit of fun. Fun 206 fun 206 fun. You are a great winner; I’m not just saying that. I’m saying it, you’re a great winner. [Laughs] You and me let’s go, let’s do it again, let’s do it again. You love it there, I love it there; you always win there. You’re a winner there, you and me now. That place that you’ve never felt so good. During the monologue close up shots focused on his eyes and mouth. After the monologue, the girl went over to the desk where the man had disappeared and a laptop was revealed in his place. On the screen a bingo game was shown and she appeared to sign in and play. Large text then stated BeGambleAware.org.Issue

The complainant, who believed the role of the male character could be interpreted as predatory and sexually abusive, objected that the ad was likely to cause offence and distress.

Responsible Gambling Trust trading as BeGambleAware said they provided a brief to agencies where they insisted on safeguards including testing the ad with the target age range (15- to 24-year olds) to give assurance that the ad did not inspire viewers to gamble, or was too unnerving and therefore would obscure the message, or to be mistaken for ads against gambling, rather than about the risks of problem gambling. They said in the light of the classifications given by British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and Cinema Advertising Agency (CAA), they decided to target only 18s or over with the ad. They said they deliberately only agreed to show the ad in cinemas before the film Trainspotting 2, an 18+ rated film about hard drug addiction. They argued that public awareness about problem gambling justified and outweighed any potential for offence that might be caused.

They also provided a statement issued by the BBFC about the content of the ad which said In the public information film a woman lies on a bed in a sparsely furnished, rather bleak bedroom as a man sits on a desk, which is set back from the bed. The two characters do not have any physical contact and only the man speaks. The man encourages the woman to gamble by persistently reminding her of the buzz it offers and by suggesting that she deserves a little bit of fun. The woman is conflicted as to whether or not to give into her desire to gamble. Whilst she is reluctant, worried and nervous at the beginning, following the man’s persistent exhortations, she smiles, puts aside her qualms, opens her laptop (which appears where the man was seated), and logs onto an online gambling site. The suggestion of inner turmoil and conflicted feelings on her part, as well as some slightly creepy aspects to the man’s monologue on the pleasures of gambling mean the film was most appropriately placed at PG for the mildly unsettling tone and for the suggestion of addiction-related psychological turmoil. The BBFC also noted that the film contains a strong anti-gambling message.

The Cinema Advertising Association (CAA) said they approved the ad on the condition of its being restricted to screening with 12A films and above.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ASA considered that until the reveal in the final moments of the ad, viewers were unlikely to understand what the ad was promoting. We considered that, after the reveal, most viewers would understand that the male character was a metaphor or representative of an inner monologue. We noted that the advertiser’s intention was to demonstrate a woman in her bedroom battling against the urge to gamble online, but we considered that for much of the ad this purpose was ambiguous and unclear.

We acknowledged the CAA’s view that there were parallels drawn between sexual seduction and being seduced by the thrill of an early win on a gambling site. That view was supported by the threatening and coercive language used, the predatory manner by which the monologue was delivered and the female character’s positioning and behaviour, indicative of fear and shame. However, we considered that up until the reveal there was no information or other explanatory features in the ad that would provide the viewer with context for why they were viewing what they were viewing. We considered that, because of the lack of context, the ad reproduced a scenario of abuse. We considered that viewing such a scenario of abuse, notwithstanding the use of metaphor and the fact the ad was only seen before the film Trainspotting 2 which was about drug addiction, was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

We also considered that viewers would find the sexually coercive and abusive scenario shocking and distressing and that victims/survivors of abuse would find the ad highly distressing and/or traumatic. We did not consider that the advertiser’s intention (as presented in the ad) justified the distress experienced by viewers generally, and the distress caused to this vulnerable group in particular.

We therefore concluded that the ad was offensive and breached the Code. The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Responsible Gambling Trust to avoid using similarly offensive and distressing material in their future advertising.

Read more me_asa.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

daily star wins video A TV ad for StarWins.com, seen on 17 January 2017, began with a shot of two men standing at a bar in a pub next to a table where a man and a woman were chatting to each other. One of the men at the bar watched a woman as she walked past before a voice-over stated, Allow me to introduce you to Star Wins and one of the men pulled out his mobile phone and swiped the screen. The men were transported to a casino. The camera panned from a woman in a sequined dress dancing on a stage to the men as they walked down a flight of stairs. As they reached the floor of the casino the voice-over stated, For you card sharks we’ve got real female croupiers who can handle that as a woman wearing a sequined gold dress walked between them. The men watched her as she walked towards and past them and turned to look behind them to continue watching her as she walked to join the other dancers on stage. The men smiled at each other and continued further into the casino. The voice-over stated, Or if roulette is your thing, we’ll put you in a spin 24/7 as the two men walked past a table where two female croupiers wearing tight, low-cut dresses stood with two female and one male gambler. The croupiers watched the men closely as they walked past. The men then approached a roulette table where a female croupier stood, along with a group of mainly female gamblers. One of the men flipped a chip onto the table while staring intently at the croupier. The voice-over continued, You’ll be surprised where it can take you. Star Wins. Get in the game as the men were shown throwing chips into the air in celebration, surrounded by the group of women. A final shot showed them celebrating back at the bar in the pub. The couple at the table next to the bar turned to smile at them.

1. One complainant, who felt the ad was sexist and objectified women, challenged whether the ad was offensive.

2. The ASA challenged whether the ad suggested that gambling could enhance personal qualities, and linked gambling to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

1. Upheld

The ASA noted that all the casino employees seen in the ad were women and that the majority of the people present in the casino were women. While in the casino the men only interacted with each other or with women (rather than other men), and when interacting with women in each case either the men or the women gave each other intense looks which suggested they were appraising them physically. We considered the ad put particular visual emphasis both on the generally high proportion of women in the casino and on the physical attractiveness of the female casino employees to the two male protagonists.

We considered that the combination of those visual emphases with the voice-over specifically highlighting that Daily Star Wins (which provided only online casino services) employed real female croupiers, served to depict the presence of physically attractive women as the key attraction of Daily Star Wins. We considered the ad therefore objectified women, and concluded it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence on that basis.

2. Upheld

When the men were initially shown in the pub the only person who paid attention to them was the barman serving their drinks. We noted that in contrast, in the casino they exchanged intense looks with the female casino employees, a group of people (mainly consisting of women) began to gather around them as they approached the roulette table, and that group had grown when they were shown winning and celebrating. We considered that all those aspects of the ad together created an impression that the men’s interest in and eventual success at gambling had gained them recognition and admiration, and made them more popular and attractive to women. We concluded the ad therefore suggested that gambling could enhance personal qualities, and that it linked gambling to seduction and enhanced attractiveness.

Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Bear Group Ltd t/a Daily Star Wins to ensure their ads did not cause serious or widespread offence through the depiction of or objectification of women. We also told them to ensure their ads did not suggest that gambling could enhance personal qualities, or link gambling to seduction or enhanced attractiveness.

Read more me_asa.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

asa 2017 The Annual Report 2016 reveals how our work has changed and how ASA adapted to a fast changing advertising landscape where nearly half of the work now involves regulating online ‘advertiser-owned’ ads , material that just five years ago wasn’t covered by the rules.  2016 marked the five year anniversary of the ASA and CAP extending the advertising rules to cover companies’ and other organisations’ own ad claims on their own websites and social media spaces, for example on You Tube, Facebook and Twitter.  The Annual Report reveals the impact of that change.  In the last five years:

  • The ASA has resolved 41,383 complaints about 36,872 online ‘advertiser-owned’ ads
  • Those ads accounted for 1 in 3 complained about to the ASA
  • 88% of complaints about online ‘advertiser-owned’ ads were about misleadingness, compared to 73% for complaints across all media.

The report highlights the regulatory challenges the changing advertising landscape poses, with the lines between offline and online and between paid-for, ‘owned’ and ‘earned’ advertising becoming increasingly blurred.  And the report shows how technological change has influenced the ASA’s strategy to have more impact and be more proactive.  

Key figures for 2016 included: 

  • The ASA resolved 28,521 complaints about 16,999 ads
  • 4,824 ads were changed or withdrawn as a result of ASA and CAP action (a record year and a 5% increase on 2015)
  • CAP delivered 281,061 pieces of training and advice to industry to help companies and organisations get their ads right (another record year and a 10% increase on 2015)
  • The ASA and CAP delivered strong enforcement, with 8 websites taken down, one successful prosecution of an alternative therapy provider following referral to our legal backstop, Trading Standards, and two arrests pending prosecution
Read more me_asa.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

karma shotra A video ad on the online drinks retailer 31Dover.com’s website and on Youtube, seen in February 2017, opened on a blurred background and title text The Karma Shotra appeared. Bar paraphernalia including glasses, bottles and a variety of alcohol products were then shown with doodle drawings such as arms and faces overlaid on them. These characters were shown smiling and touching each other in a sexual manner. Subtitles appeared throughout such as The Cork Screw and The Rim Job , each followed by the characters engaging in sexual activity.

Two complainants, who believed the ad strongly linked alcohol to seduction, sexual activity and sexual success, objected that the ad was socially irresponsible and breached the Code.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA considered that the video as featured on the advertiser’s own website and on their YouTube channel was an ad which fell within the remit of the CAP Code. The video featured alcohol products and referred throughout to the website URL where products could be purchased and was therefore clearly directly connected with the supply or transfer of goods and services provided by 31Dover.com.

We considered that the ad strongly linked alcohol to sexual activity. The ad plainly features sexual innuendo, sexual references and sexual activity in association with the promotion of alcohol products and 31Dover.com. We did not consider that because there was no human and alcohol interaction and there were no specific alcohol products or brands featured that this impression would have been eclipsed. Because the ad linked alcohol with sexual activity, we concluded it was socially irresponsible and breached the code.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 18.1 18.1 Marketing communications must be socially responsible and must contain nothing that is likely to lead people to adopt styles of drinking that are unwise. For example, they should not encourage excessive drinking. Care should be taken not to exploit the young, the immature or those who are mentally or socially vulnerable. and 18.5 18.5 Marketing communications must neither link alcohol with seduction, sexual activity or sexual success nor imply that alcohol can enhance attractiveness. (Alcohol).

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told 31Dover.com to prepare future advertising in a socially responsible way and not to link alcohol to sexual activity in their future marketing communications.