Posts Tagged ‘Advert Censor’

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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.

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paddy power bet on blackA press ad by Paddy Power bookmakers, seen in the 23 August 2017 edition of the Evening Standard and the 24 August 2017 edition of the Metro, featured the headline claim ALWAYS BET ON BLACK alongside an image of Floyd Mayweather. Further text stated WE’VE PAID OUT EARLY ON A MAYWEATHER VICTORY BECAUSE WE CHECKED, AND ONLY ONE OF THEM IS A BOXER.

Nine complainants, who considered that the headline contained an obvious reference to Floyd Mayweather’s race, challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

Power Leisure Bookmakers Ltd t/a Paddy Power said the ad was not intended to cause offence on the grounds of race. They said the headline was a gambling related pun as the fight was taking place in Las Vegas and betting on black was a roulette reference. They acknowledged that the headline referred to Floyd Mayweather’s race, but said it was not used in a derogatory, distasteful or offensive manner and the overall tone of the ad was light-hearted and humorous. They said the early pay out was not based on Floyd Mayweather’s race but on his experience as a professional boxer compared with Conor McGregor who had never boxed professionally.

Paddy Power said the campaign was approved by Floyd Mayweather who found the line funny, rather than offensive or derogatory. The phrase always bet on black was embroidered on the underwear Floyd Mayweather’s wore at the official weigh-in for the match in Las Vegas. Floyd Mayweather also posted an image of himself wearing the underwear on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #alwaysbetonblack, which was not part of the sponsorship deal.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The CAP Code required marketers to ensure that ads did not contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, and for particular care to be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race. The ad appeared in the sports section of two free untargeted newspapers, and was therefore likely to have been seen by a wide-range of people. It featured the prominent headline Always Bet on Black, alongside an image of the boxer Floyd Mayweather, who was a black male. We considered that readers would interpret the headline to be a pun on Floyd Mayweather’s race and betting on roulette. We understood that the headline was also intended to be a reference to a 1992 film quote. There was, however, nothing further in the ad which indicated that the headline was a film quote, and we considered that many readers would be unfamiliar with the quote.

We acknowledged that the headline claim did not make a negative statement about Floyd Mayweather’s race and had endorsed him to win the match. We also acknowledged that Floyd Mayweather had authorised the claim. However, we considered that readers would nevertheless be offended by the invitation to always bet on the outcome of a boxing match based on a boxer’s race, and the message that the boxing match was a fight between two different races. For those reasons, we concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence on the grounds of race.

We told Paddy Power to ensure they avoided causing serious offence on the grounds of race.

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bankss beer jesus advertA tweet from the Bank’s Beer twitter account, dated 12 April 2017, stated Easter is on it’s [sic] way #easter #beer #tellitlikeitis #Wolverhampton. The tweet contained an image which featured a graffiti painting on a wall of Jesus sitting on a bench with a halo above his head. The image showed Jesus wearing a rabbit costume with the head taken off and placed on the bench. Below the bench was a basket filled with Easter eggs. Next to the bench was a pint glass branded with text which stated BANK’S TELL IT LIKE IT IS.

A complainant, who believed the image of Jesus in a rabbit costume trivialised Christianity, challenged whether the ad was offensive.

ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld

The ASA noted that the tweet was posted during the Easter period and contained an image of Jesus wearing a rabbit costume. We acknowledged that the depiction of Jesus, and particularly the timing of the tweet, could be interpreted as distasteful by some people of a Christian faith. However, we considered that most people would not find the portrayal of Jesus to be mocking or derogatory. Because we considered that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence, we concluded that it had not breached the Code.

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 Two TV ads and a cinema ad for online music service Spotify were seen between 28 April and 13 May 2017.

  • a. One TV ad showed a family at a dinner table. While the son was singing along to a song, the mother said (to camera) What he doesn’t know is that he was made to this song. In this room. On this table.

  • b. The second TV ad showed a teenage girl outside a closed bedroom door. Music could be heard from within. The girl said Yep. Bieber’s ‘Love Yourself’. I think we all know what’s going on in there.

  • c. The cinema ad was identical to ad (a).

The ASA received 81 complaints, raising one or more of the following issues:

  1. 164 complainants, most of whom saw the ad during Britain’s Got Talent and Take Me Out on Saturday 29 April 2017, challenged whether ad (a) was offensive and unsuitable to be broadcast duringspotify family adert video programmes watched by children, because of the sexual reference it contained.

  2. 18 complainants, who saw the ad during Britain’s Got Talent on Saturday 6 May 2017, challenged whether ad (b) was offensive and unsuitable to be broadcast during a programme watched by children, because they believed it implied the person in the bedroom was masturbating.

  3. Two complainants, who saw ad (c) in the cinema before the film Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 April 2017, challenged whether the ad was offensive and unsuitable to be shown before a film whose audience was likely to include children.

The Cinema Advertising Association (CAA) said they considered the suggestive humour of the ad required only a minor restriction as its full meaning would not be understood by younger viewers who were not already aware of what it referred to. They considered it was appropriate to keep sexually risque humour away from very young children but noted that the minors in the audience of a 12A film were likely to be older and have some knowledge of the facts of life. They accepted that that could give rise to a minor degree of embarrassment between some parents and their children, but that that did not signify that the ad had caused serious or widespread offence.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. and 2. Not upheld

The ASA acknowledged that both ads contained implied sexual references. We considered, however, that the references were not explicit and were unlikely to be understood by young children. We noted that Clearcast had given the ads a scheduling restriction to prevent them being broadcast in or adjacent to programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal to children. The audience data bore out that, while the programmes had general appeal, they did not have particular appeal to children. We therefore concluded that the ads were not offensive or unsuitable to be broadcast in breaks in those programmes at those times.

3. Not upheld

We acknowledged that the ad contained an implied sexual reference. We considered, however, that the reference was not explicit and was unlikely to be understood by young children. We acknowledged that the film would have children in the audience, but we noted that those children were likely to be older or accompanied. Given the mild nature of the sexual reference, we therefore concluded that the ad was not offensive or unsuitable to be shown in that context.

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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.

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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.