Posts Tagged ‘Advert Censor’

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german night buck innIt is interesting to note that ASA now uses American spellings in preference to UK English spellings

Two Facebook posts for the Buck Inn, a pub in Darlington:

a. The first post, dated 8 September 2017, stated German Grub Night at The Buck Inn Dont mention ze war!. The post included an image of a poster titled german night with text stating Set 3 Course Meal Including Popular German Dishes 2£19.95pp, Graham Ze Chef, Don’t Mention Ze War!. The poster also showed a black and white image depicting a uniformed Nazi soldier performing a Nazi salute with the right arm, and a swastika on the left sleeve. A smiling, caricature-style, sketched image of the face the chef had been superimposed on to the Nazi soldier. The text font of the headline german night and colour scheme in the poster also resembled the stylisation and colours typical of Nazi imagery.

b. The second post, dated 12 September 2017, showed that the Buck Inn had updated their Facebook profile picture to an image of a newspaper article about the german night poster. The article featured an image of the poster and was titled Pub’s German night ‘Nazi’ poster criticised. The Buck Inn had also liked a number of comments by other individuals on their Facebook page in relation to the posts.

Three complainants challenged whether the ads were offensive.

The Buck Inn said that Dont mention ze war was a quote from Fawlty Towers and the use of this phrase in the ad, in conjunction with a cartoon image of their chef’s head on a German soldier, was intended to be light hearted and humorous. They said that the poster advertised a German cuisine night and that the design of the ad was inspired by the comedy in this particular episode of Fawlty Towers. They also stated they were not promoting the Nazi party in the ad and it was not intended to mock the Second World War in any way.

The Buck Inn also said that the ad was seen on Facebook by over 500,000 people, and the fact that only three complaints were received indicated most people had interpreted the ad in the way they had intended.

With regard to the Buck Inn liking a number of comments by other individuals on their Facebook page, they said they liked every comment by users on their page as they considered that it helped to improve their interaction with consumers on Facebook and that the users would be more likely to see the their future Facebook posts.

ASA Decision: Complaints upheld

The ASA acknowledged the phrase Don’t mention the war was a fairly well known quote from the sitcom Fawlty Towers. However, we considered that the use of an image of a Nazi soldier wearing a swastika and performing a Nazi salute to advertise the pub’s German cuisine night, in a humorous tone, was inappropriate and trivialised the events of the Second World War and actions of the German Nazi party. Furthermore, the ad appeared to link German culture intrinsically with Nazi Germany and the war. We therefore considered that ad (a) was likely to cause serious or widespread offense.

We also considered that the Buck Inn’s activity on Facebook in ad (b) trivialised the reported offense that ad (a) was likely to cause, particularly in the use of the newspaper article as a Facebook profile picture. In particular we considered that the Buck Inn’s liking of various comments by other users on their Facebook page, many of which contained distasteful jokes and puns in reference to the Holocaust, was also likely to cause serious or widespread offense.

The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told the Buck Inn to ensure that they did not cause serious or widespread offence by using Nazi references or imagery in their advertising, or by trivialising the events of the Second World War and actions of the German Nazi party. We also told the Buck Inn to ensure that comments made by other users on their Facebook page, which in themselves were likely to cause serious or widespread offense, were not liked.

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caotain morgan on snapchatA Snapchat lens advertising Captain Morgan, seen in June 2017, included a cartoon icon of a pirate. The lens, which made the user’s face look like Captain Morgan, featured two glasses of a mixed alcoholic drink clinking together on screen, a seagull that flew a scroll on to the screen, which said Live like the Captain, a voice-over that said Captain and the sound of people cheering. The ASA challenged whether the lense was:

  1. of particular appeal to people under 18
  2. directed at people under 18.

Snap Inc said in the UK they only directed alcohol advertising to users who provided a date of birth which showed them to be over 18 and that at the time the lens ran, they could only target lenses by age and geolocation.

ASA Assessment

1. Upheld

CAP Code rule 18.14 18.14 Marketing communications must not be likely to appeal particularly to people under 18, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture. They should not feature or portray real or fictitious characters who are likely to appeal particularly to people under 18 in a way that might encourage the young to drink. People shown drinking or playing a significant role (see rule 18.16) should not be shown behaving in an adolescent or juvenile manner. required that alcohol ads were not likely to appeal particularly to under 18s. We noted that the lens icon which appeared in the Snapchat user’s carousel was of a cartoon pirate and that in order to use the lens the user would need to click the icon. We considered that the icon was a bright, child-like cartoon image which we noted was similar in style to the other icons for non-paid for Snapchat lenses. In that context, we considered that the icon image of a cartoon pirate was of particular appeal to under 18s.

The lens, which appeared when the icon was scrolled onto, presented the user with an augmented reality which manipulated their environment. That included the user’s face appearing like Captain Morgan, a seagull flying across the screen with a scroll which read Live like the Captain and two glasses which clinked in front of the user’s face. Further, the lens was accompanied by a male voice which said Captain? Captain! with further animated high-pitched voices cheering and repeating the word Captain. We noted that the lens did not, however, use particularly bright colours, but it did age and add a beard to the user’s face which we considered was of comedic effect. Taken together with the lens icon, we considered that the specific interactive and augmented elements of the lens, such as the user’s face being made to look like a buccaneer, the clinking glasses, references to Captain and the cheering, were likely to appeal particularly to those under 18.

We therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code.

2. Upheld

The CAP Code required that marketing communications for alcoholic drinks must not be directed at people under 18 through the selection of media or the context in which they appear. No medium should be used to advertise alcoholic drinks if more than 25% of its audience was under 18 years of age.

The lens was delivered directly to users who were logged into accounts with a registered age of 18 or older, and who were in certain locations. Because the ad was targeted at a defined set of users, we did not consider it relevant that less than 25% of the total platform audience was under 18. We therefore considered whether the ad had been directed at people under 18 through the selection of media (i.e. the Snapchat lens).

We understood that at the time the lens ran Snap Inc. were only able to target lenses by a user’s age group and geolocation. We understood that Captain Morgan had chosen for the lens to target users who were registered as being over 18 and in the UK. Snap Inc. shared confidential data with us about their UK audience. From their response, we understood that a significant minority of UK based Snapchat users were registered as being between 13 and 17 years old and that they represented one of the largest groups of their total UK audience. We also noted separately that research undertaken by Ofcom showed that out of a group of 343 of those aged 12–15 years who had reported that they had a social media account, the proportion who said they had a Snapchat account increased from 51% in 2016 to 58% in 2017. We also noted that a large number of the total population of 13- to 17-year olds in the UK had Snapchat accounts. From the above, we considered that Snapchat was popular amongst younger audiences.

We understood that the minimum age for a person to have an account with Snapchat was 13. Research undertaken by Ofcom in 2016 showed that out of a group of 104 of those aged 8–11 years who had social media accounts, 34% had Snapchat profiles. The 2017 Ofcom report stated that in the group of test subjects there were too few social media users aged 3–11years old to report on individual sites in detail. The data in the 2016 report did not give any indication of the age those users claimed to be when they signed up, including whether they were registered as 18 or over and therefore would have been able to access the lens through their account. We considered that the report was indicative that at least some of the audience of children on Snapchat were younger than the minimum age of 13 years old. We considered that this called into question the adequacy of self-reported age as the sole means of targeting alcohol advertising on Snapchat.

We noted that Snap Inc. had reported that it now had the means to target ads to specific audiences using Audience Lenses, including by way of inferring the audience age using interest based factors. However, at the time the lens ran, the only targeting data available to Diageo on Snapchat was unverified supplied ages collected when users signed up and geolocation information. We considered that because the platform was popular with under 18s, that was not sufficient to ensure that marketing communications were not targeted at people under 18. We therefore concluded that through the selection of media, Captain Morgan had not taken sufficient care to ensure that the ad was not directed at people under 18 and therefore the ad breached the Code.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Captain Morgan to ensure their ads were appropriately targeted in the future and that they were not of particular appeal to under 18s.

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fruity king tweetA promoted tweet seen on 8 September 2017 featured an image of female presenters in their swimwear from a daytime television show and the text, You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. #LooseWomen18.

A complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive because it was derogatory towards women.

ProgressPlay obtained a response from the Fruity King brand operator, who stated that the image along with text You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig was not derogatory towards women and that the link to them was meant to refer to the TV show, in which the women in the photo appeared in, as a low quality programme. Therefore, the text referred to the show and not to the women themselves.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

We considered that the image shown in the tweet would be understood by viewers as intending to portray a positive image of women’s bodies. However, we noted that the text You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig was shown above the image. We considered that this was specifically targeted at the women shown in the image and, consequentially, ridiculed what it represented.

Because of that, we considered that the image along with the text You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig was derogatory towards women and therefore concluded was likely to cause widespread offence.

We acknowledged that the ad would not appear again in its current form. We told ProgressPlay Ltd that their future advertising must not be derogatory towards women.

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screwcap fyerA flyer for ScrewCaps UK, a manufacturer of fastener cover caps, was seen on 15 August 2017. The image featured a naked woman photographed from the back, with the shot slightly angled from below, wearing ski boots, gloves and skis, and carrying ski poles. Red text stating COVER UP partially obscured her bottom.

A complainant, who received the flyer with an order which had been made, challenged whether the ad was offensive and degrading to women.

Pro-Dec Products Ltd t/a ScrewCaps UK said they made a niche product which, whilst useful and practical, was not generally seen as aspirational or covetable. Therefore, to make their unsexy product more noticeable, and in keeping with the product’s use in covering other elements, the concept behind their ad was to refer to covering up other things that would not be normally seen.

They said that in the nine years they had been trading in the UK, they had distributed in excess of 20,000 such brochures, using a variety of models in different circumstances around the same theme of covering up. They had received 14 complaints directly, in response to the brochures they had produced. They added that the ad in question had been received by 7,000 people and they estimated, due to the multiplier effect, that 16,000 people would have seen the ad. They had ensured that any customers who had complained directly to them would not receive any further brochures.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

Although the ASA acknowledged that the use of a naked person was intended to create a visual pun linked to the concept of covering up and that some readers might appreciate that the use of such an image was intended to be comical in tone, we considered that the image of a naked woman in ski boots and carrying ski poles bore no relevance to the product being advertised, and that a link between the image of a naked woman on a ski slope and the product — a cover cap — was not one that people would normally make.

Although a slogan appeared over her bottom, we considered it would be clear to people that the woman was fully nude, bar her ski boots and gloves. We noted she had her back slightly arched to emphasize her bottom, and her breast was slightly visible from the side. We considered that her nudity was further highlighted as it appeared in the context of a ski scene, where people would ordinarily be warmly dressed. We therefore considered the female nudity was gratuitous and the pose and styling was provocative. On that basis, we considered the image could be seen to be sexually suggestive and degrading to women.

We acknowledged that ScrewCaps UK operated a business-to-business model and that this was generally the context in which their advertising would be seen. Although we considered it was therefore unlikely that children would see the ad, we considered that the image still had the potential to be seen by many people who were likely to find it offensive.

Because of the nudity and styling, as well as the woman’s pose, we concluded the image was degrading to women and likely to cause serious offence.

The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told ScrewCaps UK not to use similarly sexually suggestive images in their advertising in future.

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boca toothpasteAn ad for BOCA organic toothpastes was seen in the Raconteur supplement which was included in the Times newspaper on 28 July 2017. The ad featured a black and white image of the body of a naked woman, who was wearing only a pair of strappy heels. The woman in the image was shown reclining in a chair and facing a window, with one leg placed on top of a table by the window and the other on the ground. Her buttocks and her groin area were obscured by the arm of the chair. The woman was also shown to be holding a tube of the product.

Two complainants, who believed that the ad objectified women, challenged whether the ad was offensive.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA noted that the image in the ad showed only parts of the model’s body, including the lower parts of her breasts, her stomach, and her bare legs. We noted that her buttocks and groin area had been obscured by the arm of the chair, and her head, the top parts of the arms and torso, including her nipples, were out of the frame and therefore were not visible. We noted BOCA’s comments that the model in the ad was not naked and acknowledged that the ad did not include explicit nudity. However, we considered that the way in which the model was depicted gave the impression that the model was fully nude.

We considered that the pose of the model, particularly given that she was shown as reclining with her parted legs facing an open window, was sexually provocative, giving the ad a voyeuristic feel. Furthermore, because the model’s face was not shown, we considered that the visible parts of her torso, including her lower portion of her breasts, and the lower half of her body became the visual emphasis of the ad, which was likely to draw readers’ attention. We also considered that the nudity and the pose of the model, and the provocative nature of the ad, bore no relevance to the product. Because the ad placed visual emphasis on the model’s body in a sexualised manner and such nudity was unrelated to the product, we considered that the ad objectified the model depicted and invited readers to view her body as a sexual object. For those reason, we considered that the ad objectified women and concluded that it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told BOCA to ensure that future advertising did not cause widespread or serious offence by objectifying women.

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royal mail heist video A paid-for video ad on Twitter and a Video On Demand (VOD) ad for Royal Mail:

a. The video ad on Twitter, seen on 27 July 2017, featured a scene with customers and staff in a bank. A short while later a gang of men in balaclavas with baseball bats entered the bank and shouted, This is a robbery. The staff and customers in the bank were made to get on their knees with their hands held up and were threatened with the baseball bats. One female member of staff was grabbed repeatedly by the shoulder and the wrist and asked her full name and date of birth by one of the assailants. Other customers were asked similar questions about their personal identity, passwords and log-in details, while a member of the gang appeared to type the information on a hand-held electronic tablet. One customer offered a gang member money to which he said, We don’t want your money. Throughout the scene the members of the public, which included a child, were shouted at aggressively by the assailants, appeared scared and some were crying. One gang member asked another, Got it? they replied, Got it all, after which the gang left the bank. On-screen text stated Your identity is now your most valuable possession. Text at the end of the ad stated, LET’S BEAT IDENTITY FRAUD followed by text that stated Visit our ID Fraud Centre for help and advice, accompanied by the Royal Mail logo and the text, The future in safe hands.

b. The VOD ad, seen on ITV Player on 9 August 2017 at approximately 9.00 pm during an episode of Coronation Street, was the same as ad (a).

Seven complainants challenged whether ads (a) and (b) were likely to cause fear and distress without justifiable reason, particularly for those who had been victims of violence, and whether ad (b) was inappropriately placed at a time when children could have been viewing.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA noted that Royal Mail had sought and followed advice regarding the ad’s placement from Clearcast and CAP’s Copy Advice team, and acknowledged that the ad had not been shown on VOD before 9 pm. We concluded therefore, that it was unlikely that children had seen ad (b).

We acknowledged that identity fraud was a growing problem and it was important that steps were taken to inform the general public about how serious it was and how they could protect themselves. While we understood that the scenario of a bank robbery was chosen to emphasise the seriousness of the crime, we noted that this was not among the common scenarios in which identity fraud was perpetrated. As a result, we considered that consumers would not be able to clearly see from the ad how they could protect themselves, for example by avoiding certain actions that could make them potentially vulnerable to identity fraud. We noted the ads’ reference to the Royal Mail’s ID fraud centre, but it did not appear until the very end of the ad, during which time the scenario was presented without explanation or context.

Furthermore, because the setting of the ad was recognisable and showed ordinary people, including a child, being shouted at aggressively by criminals, lying on the floor and trying to hide behind furniture, and looking visibly frightened, the impact was heightened and there was an added sense of threat. Because of this, we considered it to be reminiscent of other crimes or situations that people may have experienced that extends beyond the bank robbery depicted and therefore could trigger negative emotions for those who had been victims of violence. We did not consider that the use of baseball bats made the ad less violent than if knives and guns had been used, as the bats were often shown held in a threatening manner by the criminals or positioned next to customers heads.

We understood Royal Mail and ITV’s view that the ad served to highlight a serious and growing crime and to assist customers to find information to protect themselves. We noted from the results of the test sample of viewers that the ad may have increased ID fraud awareness for those who had seen it. We also noted that Royal Mail had amended the Twitter ad so that a warning appeared accompanying the video and that they did not intend to use the ad again. However, we considered that the overall presentation of the ads, as seen by the complainants, was excessively threatening and distressing to the extent that it overshadowed the message the ad intended to convey. We concluded the ad was likely to cause fear and distress to viewers, in particular to victims of violence, without a justifiable reason.

We told Royal Mail to ensure that in future their ads did not cause fear or distress without justifiable reason.

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fake bite tattooA pop-up banner ad promoting the website http://www.wish.com, which appeared in the in-game app, Simon’s Cat Crunch Time and was seen on 24 July 2017. The ad featured an image of a fake tattoo which looked like a bite mark on a woman’s chest.

The complainant challenged whether the ad had been targeted responsibly, because they believed it could cause harm to children who saw it.

wish.com did not respond to our enquiries.

The publisher of the app Strawdog Studios, said they had not intended to display the ad to their users and explained that it had been served through a third-party Application Programming Interface (API). Their set up with the API was intended to filter out ads like the one complained about. They explained that because of the large volume of ads they served, it occasionally happened that an ad was not caught by their filter and in that situation they would remove the specific provider manually. They also did this when people complained to them directly, although they had not received any direct customer complaints about the ad. They said they were not going to serve any further ads from wish.com.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ASA was concerned by wish.com’s lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code rule 1.7 1.7 Any unreasonable delay in responding to the ASA’s enquiries will normally be considered a breach of the Code. (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.

The ASA understood that Simon’s Cat Crunch Time was an in-game app that featured a cartoon cat. The aim of the game was for the player to help the cat find his treats. We considered the app was likely to have strong appeal to children and therefore children were likely to have seen the ad. We noted that it was not clear from the ad that the product shown was a fake tattoo and we considered that the image, of a bite mark on a woman’s chest which was red and bloody, might cause distress to children who saw it. Because of that, we considered the ad had not been targeted responsibly and therefore breached the Code.

The ad must not appear again in an untargeted medium. We told wish.com to ensure that ads were appropriately targeted.