ASA Adjudication on Bang Channels Ltd
Bang Channels Ltd t/a
Tease Me 2
47 Kentish Town Road
10 November 2010
Number of complaints:
A TV ad, for a premium rate telephone service, featured mock documentary footage titled "The Bare Tits Project", in a parody of the film, the Blair Witch Project. On-screen text stated "In 2009 4 students went out to make a naughty documentary in Epping Forest ... They never returned but the footage was found a year later ...".
The ad showed three women, who were frequently topless, in a woodland setting. Text on-screen throughout the ad stated “TXT HOT TO 69912 £1.50 per text” and “CALL NOW! 0982 923 XXXX”. The women invited viewers to get in touch ... “if you want to talk to some really naughty girls, call the number on the screen now”.
Scrolling on-screen text on a loop stated “SMS CHAT costs £1.50 per message received, this is charged using reverse billed messages. You will be sent a WAP link, your phone must be WAP enabled, your standard data rates will apply. Subsequent chat messages received cost "1.50 per message. Pictures cost £3 each and are billed by 2 x reverse billed messages ... This is an adult service and is NOT a dating service, this service is a virtual service and you will not meet with or speak to the girls on screen ... You must be 18+ and have the bill payers permission. Picture services provided by Tease Me TV. Phone Lines Provided by CFL Ltd, both in association with Tease Me TV, PO Box 51788, London NW1 W9AN. Customer service number: 0208 144 7453. All calls recorded as per PhonepayPlus regulations. Calls are with off-screen girls."
1. A viewer, who saw the ad at 6.40am on Tease Me 2, challenged whether the nudity in the ad was offensive, particularly given the time of day at which it was broadcast.
2. The ASA challenged whether the premium rate service was of a sexually explicit nature and therefore whether it should have been broadcast only on an encrypted element of an adult entertainment channel.
BCAP TV Code
1. Tease Me 2 said the ad was broadcast unintentionally due to an operator error and was not scheduled to air outside of the watershed. They accepted that nudity outside of the watershed could sometimes cause offence to some viewers but nevertheless pointed out that the ad was broadcast on a clearly signposted adult entertainment channel in the Adult Section of the Sky Electronic Programme Guide (EPG). Tease Me 2 therefore disagreed that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence or that the depiction of nudity contravened any generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards.
2. Tease Me 2 said the ad was a 15-minute teleshopping broadcast which was clearly distinguishable from editorial content and bore a banner stating that it was a commercial presentation. Their in-house compliance team passed the promotion for broadcast on the understanding that the rules for the promotion of premium rate services (PRS) had changed after the Third Consultation on Participation Television. They said the ad was discontinued after it became clear that the changes to the rules, although announced by Ofcom, did not come into effect until September 2010 and had not been broadcast since.
1. & 2. Upheld
The ASA noted the ad had been broadcast, in May 2010, before the watershed in error and that it appeared in the Adult Section of the EPG. We considered that the imagery and premium rate contact number suggested that the service promoted was of a sexual nature. We considered that some viewers were likely to be offended by it but that the offence was unlikely to be serious or widespread if appropriately scheduled. We nevertheless noted the viewer had seen the ad in the morning and furthermore, the channel was unencrypted. For those reasons, we considered that the content of the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and, because it was a premium rate text service of a sexual nature, should have been restricted to encrypted elements of adult entertainment channels.
On both points, the ad breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 6.1 (Offence) and 11.1.2 (Premium rate telephone services).
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form, unless it is shown on encrypted elements of adult entertainment channels.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Broadcast)