As predicted, PaddyPower has duly had a wrist-slap from the ASA over its 'guess the tranny' game, after 92 complaints were lodged (collected stuff on PaddyPower adverts here)
Hilariously PaddyPower claimed it meant no offence and rejected the claim that it reinforced negative stereotypes.
As it has pointed out before, PaddyPower asked the Beaumont Group, apparently a leading transgender group in the UK, and apparently received the thumbs-up. The reality was rather more complicated.
The ASA disagreed with virtually everything PaddyPower had to say, judging that the ad:
trivialised a complex and difficult issue and objectified
depicted... negative stereotypes in a way that was also likely to be seriously offensive to trans people;
was likely to cause serious offence;
trivialised a highly complex issue and depicted a number of common negative stereotypes about trans people;
irresponsibly reinforced... negative stereotypes;
condoned and encouraged harmful discriminatory behaviour and treatment;
breached BCAP Code rule 4.2 (Harm and offence);
breached BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social responsibility).
The ad must not be shown in public again, but it's all a bit stable door and bolted horse, really. Advertisers understand this and play the system so that they can run offensive ads and reap subsequent infamy from the resulting news stories.
What does PaddyPower have up its sleeve next, I wonder?
NB. Read the full judgement here
Just imagine that it's your job to acknowledge, research, pontificate upon and judge the complaints of absolutely anyone into your chosen profession. Any complaint whatsoever. Even if it's clearly ridiculous.
That's just what the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has to do every day. How much time and resource and money is eaten up in this process? And how does it move forward the human condition in any way?
It does not, of course it does not. But a world without someone watching over the sort of people who make advertising and marketing material would be a frightening place.
You only have to look at how some advertisers deliberately push the rules to breaking point, comfortable in the knowledge that - by the time someone has bothered to complain and the complaint has been upheld, your message has hit the ether.
I think the ASA a good thing. But the following post - an ASA adjudication on a complaint over a Toyota advert - just how ludicrous advertising can get.
Just read over it and imagine you were the person that complained; the person at the ASA that adjudicated; the person at Toyota who had to prepare this response. And marvel at the lunatic scenario they're all playing out.
ASA Adjudication on Toyota (GB) PLC
Toyota (GB) PLC
Date: 22 February 2012
Media: National press
Number of complaints: 1
Complaint Ref: A11-180183
A national press ad for a car manufacturer featured two images of Toyota vehicles, one below the other. The top image was a Toyota in snowy conditions accompanied with the text, "From the North Pole ..." The bottom image was a Toyota on a road, accompanied with the text, "... to Northampton". Text below stated "... you can rely on a Toyota 4x4 to get you there. As the manufacturer of the only cars to make it to the North Pole, please don't be surprised if you're the only one that makes it out of the driveway this winter. Find your Toyota 4x4 at [website]".
The complainant challenged whether the ad was misleading because they believed that Toyota only made it to the 1996 position of the magnetic North Pole, not to the geographic North Pole.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Toyota (GB) Plc (Toyota) did not believe that the ad was materially misleading. They pointed out that there were four 'North Poles': the Geographic North Pole (also known as True North), the Magnetic North Pole, the Geomagnetic North Pole and the North Pole of Inaccessibility. However they said that the public at large would generally understand the claim as referring to one of the first two.
They said that the challenges presented by trying to reach any of the North Poles by car were broadly similar, namely: very low temperatures, low traction on snow and ice, rough terrain and thin areas of ice. They said the message of the ad was to convey that consumers could rely on a Toyota to get them to their destination in winter because they engineered cars that performed even in extreme conditions. They said, in this context, the material aspect of the claim was that their car had completed a significant journey in such an environment without mechanical failure.
Toyota did not believe that in this context it was useful to consumers to clarify that their claim referred to the 'Magnetic' North Pole as opposed to the 'Geographic' North Pole because they maintained that what a reader would take away from the ad was that they had produced a car that performed in extreme conditions.
We noted that the complainant believed the ad was misleading because the journey that Toyota referred to was to the 1996 position of the Magnetic North Pole, which was closer to land than the fixed location of the Geographic North Pole. However, we agreed with Toyota that what consumers would understand from the ad was that Toyota had engineered a car that could withstand extreme conditions and that this had been proven in a significant journey. We did not consider that a consumer's decision whether or not to purchase a Toyota would be greatly affected by the knowledge that the claim in the ad referred to the Magnetic North Pole as opposed to the Geographic North Pole; therefore we did not consider it necessary to clarify this in the ad. For these reasons we concluded that the ad was not materially misleading or in breach of the Code.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.38 (Other comparisons) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.
If Ryanair ran a pub the landlord would be a loud-mouthed cockney character. It would cost five pounds to get in - and £77 to get back out. As you approached the bar he would growl at you for your bad time-keeping, or ignore you completely.
Your eyes would be drawn to an advert with prices announcing a pound per pint. Upon buying two pints you would be charged £48.99. If you wanted to pay on card that would cost an additional £5. Plus a £5 administration fee. As the landlord served you he would grope your wife's tits, leering as he did so.
If you wanted to sit down in cramped seats that would be another fiver. A bag of scampi fries would cost eight pounds.
If you wanted a piss that would cost another £4. While you were trying to enjoy your pint in peace a sour-faced glass collector would try to sell you magazines, snacks, lottery tickets, perfume, booze, car rental, urinal cakes, pornography and small bits of fluff off the floor for absurdly inflated amounts. Almost constantly.
You would look around - and see fear, anger and discomfort writ large on the face of every punter in there. A mixture of aggression and boredom on the faces of the staff.
You might be tempted to take back your pint - it not being what you expected - but would be mindful of the fact that the landlord punched the last guy in the face.
Upon leaving the pub you might notice that your wife's handbag has gone missing. Upon going back into the pub the landlord would scream at you to leave or simply ignore you until you went away.
Looking back, one last time, at the Ryanair pub, you would notice the board swinging in the wind. But it would not have 'The Ryanair Arms' written on it. It would have 'Fuck You, You Fucking Mugs' written on it.
Ryanair has ploughed a furrow in marketing that is unique. It makes its own customers despise it. It makes the press goggle at the sheer brass neck - and luxuriates in the warm glow of free publicity whenever the media bites greedily at another of its stunts.
It has ensured that its press releases will always be picked up by the media - a task probably thought impossible before Ryanair came along - through the sheer unpleasantness of what it is and what it does.
It's a kind of evil genius, yet it merely replicates behaviour that can be seen all over the internet on any given day. Trolling. Dog whistling - call it what you want. Deliberately causing offence just to get some attention.
And just as it works on the internet - where people can't resist the listless trolling of some berk in his bedroom - the media and the public can't resist being outraged by Ryanair. Which is just what it wants.
At least Ryanair is honest, you might think. But it's not. It's honest about wanting your money. But it's not honest about how it gets it. "Aren't we outrageous?," it says like a pantomime villain. Only a pantomime villain who displays all the public traits of a genuine sociopath.
The ad below has been duly banned by the Advertising Standards Authority, but it's already run across the newspapers. By banning it, the ASA have guaranteed that it will be printed in a hundred more places - and thousands more people will see its key message - one that they probably know to be a swizz - and file it away in their subconsciousness, until the next time they come to book a flight.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has released its latest set of judgements on the nation's naughty ads.
This time Marks and Spencer's is in trouble for a couple of lingerie ads that adorned London buses a couple of months ago
Three complaints were noted, arguing that the ads objectified women and were unsuitable for viewing by children.
The ASA conceded that, since the ads were for lingerie, if was fairly reasonable that they seen as being worn by otherwise naked women and, thus, not objectifying women.
The ASA also conceded that both ads were "only mildly sexual in nature" but the fact that – in one – the women's legs were wide apart, her back arched and one arm above her head with the other touching her thigh" - and that she was wearing stockings meant that it was of an "overtly sexual nature"and therefore "socially irresponsible."
Complaints about the other ad were not upheld, and described as a "woman lying on her side" and "kneeling on a bed" – the former showing a woman with "her legs slightly apart and her hands behind her head."
Not a lot of difference there, for my money, but the latter was okayed and the former banned. It all brings to mind a room of people measuring the angle at which a lingerie models' legs are splayed; the degree of back arching; closeness of her hands to naughty bit and so on – protractors, compasses, rulers and maps of the Mull of Kintyre at the ready.
Those Advertising Standards Authority adjudicators – what will they get up to next?
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) publishes a weekly list of its latest adjudications that provide handy fodder for national and regional newspapers, picking over the bones of whoever's had their hand slapped.
This week BT, Paddy Power and Heineken were all up in front of the bench (Paddy Power was the only one censured for its 'refund losing bets' advert) but there are always a few cases that refer to obviously dodge internet claims and the like.
What's more, the ASA frequently has to get involved in petty turf wars and it's these that particularly amuse me.
The following concerns the Pie'n'Mash Online website and their claim to be the 'cheapest Pie and Mash Company on the internet today' - with portions 'double, yes double!' the size of the 'other Jokers!' who produce 'BLAND PRODUCTS THROUGHOUT'. (As a wonderful bonus, the Pie'n'Mash website also incorporates The Jellied Eel gazette although, bizarrely, its website also claims that 'burnt pies are a speciality'. Sold!)
This claim was, understandably contested by M Manze, who also runs an online pie and mash business. What follows is pure comedy gold; like the High Court has been asked to arbitrate between two school children arguing over whose Dad is the hardest.
An ad on the home page of the Pie'n'Mash Online website, which was seen on 23 May 2011, stated “We are the cheapest Pie and Mash Company on the internet today; Not only the Cheapest but our home delivery meals are DOUBLE! YES DOUBLE the size of the other Jokers! Who don’t even know the original recipe, the true recipe doesn’t produce. BLAND PRODUCTS THROUGHOUT”.
M. Manze, who also sold pie and mash online, challenged whether:
1. the claim "our home delivery meals are DOUBLE! YES DOUBLE the size of the other Jokers!" implied that the advertisers portions were double the size of their competitors and whether this was misleading and could be substantiated;
2. the claim “... the other jokers! Who don’t even know the original recipe ...” implied that the advertisers had been in business and producing pies longer than their competitors and was misleading. M. Manze said the advertisers were a relatively new business unlike them and others in the industry who were well established;
3. the ad denigrated them and their products; and
4. the advertiser did not make clear their geographic address.
Pie'n'Mash Online t/a Eelhouse telephoned to say that they believed their portions were double the size of their competitors and that nothing on the site could be considered denigratory because they did not name their competitors. They did not provide a written response to the complaint.
The ASA had not seen evidence to support the claim that the advertiser’s portions were double the size of their competitors. We therefore considered the claim had not been substantiated and was misleading.
On this point the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.33 (Comparisons).
We noted that the advertiser referred to their competitors as “jokers” who “don’t even know the original recipe”. We considered readers were likely to infer from this that these competitors had less knowledge and experience of pie making than the advertiser and that they had been in business for less time. Because we understood that the complainant had been in business far longer than the advertiser, we concluded that the implied claim had not been substantiated and was misleading.
On this point the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.33 and 3.35 (Comparisons).
We noted that no specific competitor was named in the ad, but we understood that there were very few businesses that sold pie and mash online and that the competitors were therefore readily identifiable.
We noted that the ad said Eelhouse’s competitors were unaware of “the original recipe” but we had not seen evidence to suggest that Eelhouse used a recipe that was recognised as “the original”, or that their recipe had been developed over a longer period than those used by their competitors. We noted that the ad also said their competitor’s recipes produced “BLAND PRODUCTS THROUGHOUT”, but no customer satisfaction results or other evidence was provided to support this claim. Because of this, and because the ad referred to competitors as “jokers”, we concluded that the ad had unfairly discredited and denigrated other businesses and their products.
On this point the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.33 and 3.35 (Comparisons) and 3.42 (Denigration).
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned this Tesco ad for its Butcher’s Choice Sausages that shows pigs generally larking about, snuffling out truffles, enjoying a beer and chillaxing.
There appears to be a moot point as to whether the pigs can be classed as 'outdoor' pigs or not - and while Tesco can probably justify the ad on definitions along I don't really see how it's in the spirit of the rules.
The ASA didn't think Tesco had a case according to the letter or spirit of the law, however, and banned it.
“We understood that the term outdoor bred had an industry-wide, recognised meaning: that pigs were born in fields, where they were kept until weaning, and then they were moved indoors.
“We noted that in all scenes the pigs were shown to be in a spacious and free environment. In particular, we noted that the pigs were shown wandering unrestricted outside and, within the indoor barn scene, the barn door was shown to be open and the pigs’ movement unrestricted.
“In that context, we considered that consumers were likely to interpret the ad to mean that the pigs used to make the Butcher’s Choice sausages were reared in an unrestricted environment and had access to outdoor pasture.”
Naughty, naughty. Then again, what to make of this advert, which suggests that sausages magically appear in fields and don't involve the slaughter of a fairly harmless, reasonably intelligent animal?
"You want to squeeze my buttocks together to make one juicy, giant peach." - Pete Tranter's Sister
"Wear our shoes and you can have a squeezable, bite-able ass like this," is the fairly unsubtle message from these Reebok adverts for EasyTone Curve trainers.
Sadly the Advertising Standards Authority disagreed - having made Anne Widdicombe walk around the shoes for a month (that's not quite true) - and promptly banned the ad as its claims that the shoes help “tone legs and bum” is not proven.
Reebok said that independent studies showed that the trainers tone bums and calves, but the ASA ruled that the sample size of the study was too small to support the absolute claims made in the ads and ordered that the ads could not be repeated in their previous form.
The ASA said: “Because we considered that we had not seen robust, scientific evidence to support the efficacy claims made in the magazine ad or the TV ad, we concluded that the claims had not been substantiated and were misleading.
A spokeswoman for Reebok defended the brand thus: “EasyTone shoes use balance ball-inspired technology. Balance balls are used in gyms around the world and the benefits of this type of training are well documented. Despite these two complaints to the ASA, thousands of consumers have told us they love our shoes and that they work. For us, that’s the most powerful evidence.”
So, presumably, everyone at Reebok got back to investigating the pert, nubile backsides of models in preparation for a new edit. Nice work if you can get it.
Have a look at the adverts below and see if you can estimate the ass-to-trainer ratio. We know which we'd prefer looking at.
NB. This all happened a while ago but the adverts have required extensive and intensive study to produce this post
This advert for the policing pledge has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for being misleading.
As it goes, I think this is a good advert, and thought the ASA's ruling fairly hair-splitting in its judgement - in that I thought the advert fundamentally correct.
The basis premise of the ad is that 80 per cent of the time of neighbourhood police is spent doing work visible to the public - this is actually true, but the ASA thought that people were too stupid to work this out for themselves.
What this does all show is that it's pretty difficult to present government pledges that are sufficiently divorced from political party pledges - where does one end and the other begin.
Anyway, a lot of fuss over very little in my opinion, but that's par for the course in the current politics of outrage pushed by the media.
Personally, I'd like to see another of these adverts, where a couple of cops from the Met stop a black guy for looking funny and then give him a good hiding. Misleading? Well, that would be for the ASA to decide.
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