Posts Tagged ‘Advert Censor’

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
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queens solitaire gamesA banner ad for a solitaire game, seen on the lock screen of a phone that was running the AVG Cleaner app in October 2016, featured three women in bikinis posing in a suggestive manner.

A complainant challenged whether the ad had been inappropriately and irresponsibly placed, as it had appeared untargeted on a device used by children.

Queens Solitaire Games, whose product was promoted by the ad, did not respond to the ASA’s enquiries.

AVG Technologies UK Ltd, in whose app the ad appeared, stated that, in order to prevent improper ads from appearing in their apps, their ad providers automatically blocked ads referencing several categories, including sex and sexuality. However, on rare occasions, inappropriate ads could bypass this screening. They said that this usually happened when the advertiser categorised or named the ad in a misleading manner. When made aware of such an incident, they immediately blocked the ad manually on all ad networks and sent it to their ad providers for investigation.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA was concerned by Queens Solitaire Games’ lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.

We considered that the sexualised nature of the images meant that they should not appear in media that might be seen by children. While the app was unlikely to appeal to children, we considered that, if installed on a device used by children, it could easily be seen by them. Furthermore, we noted that the ad had appeared on the screen of a phone while it was locked, increasing the chance of it being seen by children. We considered that Queens Solitaire Games held primary responsibility for ensuring that the content and placement of the ad complied with the CAP Code, and that they should have correctly flagged the content of the ad to the publisher. However, we considered that AVG Technologies was also responsible for ensuring that ads in their apps were targeted appropriately. We acknowledged that they had systems in place to prevent ads with sexual content from appearing in their apps, and welcomed their prompt action to remove inappropriate ads. However, we were concerned that their procedures had not been adequate to prevent the ad from appearing in an inappropriate medium in this case. We therefore concluded that the ad had been placed irresponsibly.

The ad must not appear again in media that might be seen by children. We told Queens Solitaire Games to ensure that ads were appropriately targeted. We referred Queens Solitaire Games to CAP’s Compliance team.

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Nerve DVD Emma RobertsA TV ad for a competition related to the film Nerve , seen on 3 August 2016, featured a voice-over that stated, Welcome to Nerve. Nerve is like truth or dare, minus the truth. To celebrate the release of Nerve, we are giving you the chance to win a cash prize. We just want you to show some nerve. Head to mtv.co.uk/nerve to choose a dare, then share it at @MTVUK with #MTVGOTNERVE to enter. Are you ready to play? . The voice-over was accompanied by scenes from the film, including a man on a skateboard holding onto the back of a moving car, a group of men jumping into the sea from a cliff, a man hanging from a crane, a man on a motorbike speeding through a red light, a woman walking across a ladder horizontally spanning the gap between two buildings, someone falling from a crane, and a man lying between train tracks as a train passed over him.

The ad was given a post-9 pm scheduling restriction by Clearcast, which meant that it should not be shown before 9 pm or in or around programmes made for, or likely to be of particular appeal to, children.

A complainant challenged whether the ad condoned or encouraged dangerous practices.

Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ad featured scenes showing young adults engaged in a succession of highly dangerous activities. Various scenes had the appearance of being filmed on mobile phones, including some which featured overlaid graphics to look like video clips on social media. A couple of scenes were shot as if the viewer were looking up through the screen of a smartphone, including a shot with overlaid social media-type graphics which showed a woman swiping the word ACCEPT . Those scenes established the film’s theme of young people daring each other, via social media, to video themselves undertaking dangerous behaviour and post the video on social media as proof they had completed the challenge. We noted that the theme tapped into an ongoing trend in youth culture of young people challenging each other on social media into potentially dangerous behaviour, such as Neknominate and the Cinnamon Challenge .

We acknowledged the competition did not require participants to engage in any of the behaviour featured in the ad, and that some scenes showed the negative consequences of such behaviour. However, we considered that in the context of youth culture around social media challenges, the ad’s challenge to viewers to show some nerve in accompaniment with the scenes of young people engaging in dangerous behaviour condoned, and was likely to encourage, behaviour that prejudiced health or safety. We acknowledged Clearcast had applied a scheduling restriction to prevent the ad being broadcast before 9 pm, but we considered that because it both condoned dangerous practices and was likely to encourage viewers, particularly teenagers and young adults, to engage in dangerous practices, it should not have been broadcast at any time. We concluded the ad therefore breached the Code.

The ad must not appear again in the form complained about.

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1664 alsations advertA Youtube ad for Kronenbourg, seen on 18 June 2016, featured Eric Cantona playing a fictional character who, with two dogs who wore barrels containing Kronenbourg around their necks, said delivered Kronenbourg to the deserving . In other words, to people who had experienced unfortunate mishaps or who had enjoyed improbable success. The character stated Here in Alsace, live the most intelligent dogs in the world, the Alsace-tians. They deliver Kronenbourg to the deserving . In one scenario, a monk who had been ringing church bells had become entangled in the ropes and the dogs set him free. Afterwards he was given a pint of Kronenbourg. In another scenario, a local postman had fallen off his bike into a snowdrift and was trapped in the snow. The dogs dug him out of the snow and he was then seen sitting on a rock shivering holding a pint of Kronenbourg. In a third scenario, an actor was on stage playing a dramatic suicide scene and Eric Cantona’s character in the audience was seen rolling his eyes and sighing, as though he disliked the actor’s performance. Once the performance was over, the actor received a standing ovation from the rest of the audience and the Alsace-tian dogs delivered his pint of Kronenbourg in recognition of his success. In the final scene, Eric Cantona’s character stated Man’s best friend delivering one of man’s greatest achievements. A taste supreme .

The Youth Alcohol Advertising Council (YAAC) challenged whether the ad implied that alcohol:

  1. could enhance confidence; and

  2. had therapeutic qualities, and was capable of changing mood, physical condition or behaviour.

Heineken pointed out that the scenarios had been resolved by the time the beer was consumed and the scenes ended after the characters had taken a sip of Kronenbourg. They believed that no continued physical or emotional uplift was shown which could be attributed to the effect of the beer, and that it was not implied through the visuals or narrative that Kronenbourg had any therapeutic or restorative properties. They believed the ad implied that the characters were grateful for the unexpected offer of a refreshing and locally popular beer.

ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that the actor did not receive or consume alcohol before or during his performance, and it was only after he had finished his final scene, and had taken a bow, that the Alsace-tian dogs ran onto the stage and delivered a glass of Kronenbourg. We also noted that the audience reacted positively to his performance before the dogs appeared on stage with the beer. We therefore considered that the ad did not imply that it was the Kronenbourg that had given him confidence in the later part of his performance, or that it had enhanced his popularity with the audience, and we concluded that it did not breach the Code.

2. Not upheld

We noted that in both scenarios, the dogs rescued the trapped villagers as soon as they appeared on the scene and that after they had been released, they were given a Kronenbourg. We noted that the monk was seen smiling as he brought the glass to his mouth and closed his eyes as he took a sip of the beer. We noted that the postman was shivering as he brought the glass to his mouth and, after taking a sip, he waved to Eric Cantona as a gesture of gratitude.

We considered that, although the men appeared pleased, the situations portrayed implied that any improvement in their mood was due to their relief at having been rescued from unpleasant situations, coupled with their gratitude at having received an unexpected gift of a free beer. We considered that because the beer was consumed at the very end of the scenes after the rescues had taken place, there was no suggestion that it was the consumption of the beer, rather than the act of being rescued, that had improved their mood. We also considered, for the same reason, that there was no suggestion that the beer had therapeutic properties that had helped the villagers either get out of or recover from their ordeals.

In the case of the postman, we noted he was still shivering after having taken a sip of the beer, although slightly less markedly, but we attributed that to him warming up naturally as a result of no longer being in the mound of snow, rather than having taken a small sip of beer. We considered therefore the ad did not suggest it was the consumption of beer that had improved his physical condition.

For those reasons, we concluded that the ad did not imply that alcohol had therapeutic properties, or was capable of changing mood, physical condition or behaviour.