Posts Tagged ‘ASA’

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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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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.

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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.