ASA Non-broadcast Adjudication: The Creative Circle
The Creative Circle
22 Poland Street<BR>London
26 May 2004
Objection to an advertisement, in Campaign magazine, for tickets to an advertising awards ceremony. The advertisement showed a photo of an unbuttoned dress shirt with stains on the front and captions describing them. A lipstick stain at the bottom of the shirt was captioned "ZOE. CREATIVE SECRETARY". The complainant objected that the suggestion of oral sex was offensive and demeaned women, especially those who worked in advertising.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
The advertisers said they had not intended to cause offence to women in general or to those in advertising; they said the advertisement was intended to encourage people to attend their awards night. They said they would not use the advertisement again. The publishers said their audience was sophisticated, professional and limited to those working in the media and advertising. The publishers believed the advertisement was eye-catching and humorous and would not offend their audience. The Authority considered that the implication from the lipstick stain at the bottom of the shirt captioned "ZOE. CREATIVE SECRETARY" was that the secretary had performed oral sex on the person who owned the shirt. It considered that readers of the magazine were likely to think that that implication demeaned women in the advertising industry. The Authority concluded that the advertisement was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and told the advertisers not to repeat it.