AdTurds Bad Adverts – Badverts

12Jul/1316

Irn-Bru, sextapes, dildos and cumshots

Irn-Bru's advert in which a Mum shows of her tits to her son's mates, to his apparent approval, has been all-cleared by the ASA despite a raft of complaints.

We should not be surprised at this sort of advert. Porn has been crossing over steadily into the mainstream for some time now and the sexualisation of our society continues unabated. Mobile phones didn't exist when I was at school but I can only imagine what gets swapped between teen cellphones these days. And it is now routine to discuss a celebrity sex tape on daytime discussion shows, despite the fact that's what being discussed is likely a pop starlet sucking on a cock and getting bummed in the process.

Consider the porn jargon that has crossed into common parlance. The Money Shot is frequently heard - a reference to a cumshot which, legend has it, was required for a male actor to get paid back in the day. Only the other day I found myself making a reference to being 'balls deep' in a site redesign (I'll let you figure out what that might refer to); then compounding the faux-pas for jabbering something along the lines of "Did I just say balls-deep? Sorry I don't know why I said balls-deep. I'll stop saying balls-deep now." A look of deep concern was the only comment.

Who among us knows what a DP is? A2M? Fluffing? Redtube? I've been startled to hear all of them mentioned by women recently, routinely dropped into conversations about nothing in particular. And I'm not alone, these days, when I smirk at a lady mentioning that's she's booked in for a facial.

For me there are some cultural landmarks that have brought these expressions of sexuality into the maintream, destroying the taboo that once existed around them. Sex And The City kicked it all off nearly 15 years ago, since when we've seen a swift erosion of all sort of notional barriers to what we see on TV. MILFs are clearly being referenced here - something widely alluded to in the likes of The Inbetweeners, perhaps the funniest comedy of the last decade and one that's so remarkably filthy I sometimes can't quite believe it. Use of porn, masturbation, a liking for the kinkier sexual acts are all routinely discussed these days in public - nothing new for bunches of men, or perhaps even bunches of women.

But I've had a number of female friends casually mention to me that they own a dildo (usually a rampant rabbit), have been enjoying reading 50 Shades of Grey, a comically bad book with bad sex that women are apparently masturbating frenziedly to on an almost hourly basis, and frequently mix the two. This does not concern me – men actively enjoy the idea that women masturbate – but I'm not personally into the habit of mentioning that I use one of those vibrating rubber fanny things you see on left-handed websites when the mood takes me. Not that I do, of course (nor a penis pump, viagra, dwarves or Spanish Fly), but I certainly wouldn't drop it into casual conversation if I did.

I find myself constantly surprised by what I see on billboards, on television and within easy reach of young eyes. Nuts and Zoo mags basically feature women with their tits out on the front covers. Ad agencies continue to push the envelope and the crossover success of post-watershed telly via advancing bedtimes and the ease of access via interactive, recorders and the net means that we don't really exist in a watershed age any more. I don't consider myself a prude - far from it - but I continue to be taken aback by what our children are exposed to and how familiar with the lexicon and iconography of sex and porn they are.

Within this hazy miasma of celebrity, sex, pornography, advertising and TV it becomes genuinely impossible to attempt to legislate on issues like this. Our kids grow up in a fleshy soup of hardbodies, sex tapes, exposed breasts and jokes about cum. Everyone knows that Tulisa, a woman who amounts to a modern-day children's TV presenter, can be seen online getting her mouth fucked - what would Valerie Singleton say (probably nothing - mumbling at best under those circumstances, I guess)? Can you imagine Googling a Maggie Philbin sex tape? Watching Janet Ellis making a penis ejaculate over her own chest? Hang on a minute, I drifted off there...

In this context it comes as no surprise that this advert - which I think witty and harmless - was OKayed by the ASA with a response that pretty much amounts to 'Oh, blow it out your arse," to the hundred-odd people who complained.

Children will likely see this advert. So what? If you're a concerned parent who is compelled to write to the ASA about this commercial, I dread to think what you'll make of what they're looking at on their laptops. This advert amounts to the tip of an iceberg so big that the Canutes who complain about stuff like this don't even realise they're sitting on it.

ASA response below:

Although we noted that some complainants had interpreted the action in the ads as portraying an inappropriate relationship between the mum and the son's friends, we did not consider that their interaction was a portrayal of irresponsible behaviour," it said.

"We considered that the action relied on the mum being confident and attractive, but not consciously or overtly behaving in a sexualised or flirtatious way. We also considered that the focus of the ads was the son's embarrassment at the effect his mum's appearance was having on his friends.

"Therefore, and particularly in the context of ads intended to portray a surreal and light-hearted comedic approach, we did not consider that the action or depiction of the female protagonist was sexist or demeaning and concluded that the ads were not in breach of the code."

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