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ASA Adjudication on Coty UK Ltd

Coty UK Ltd

St George's House
5 St George's Road
Wimbledon
London
SW19 4DR

Date:

17 November 2010

Media:

Television

Sector:

Health and beauty

Number of complaints:

14

Agency:

Lairds and Partners

Complaint Ref:

136170

Ad

A TV ad for perfume showed the singer Beyoncé lying naked in the middle of a room. In the next scene she was shown wearing a revealing red satin dress and walking towards the camera, touching her neck and moving her hand across her chest. She ran her left hand along a wall, leaving a trail of fire as she touched it. She was then shown leaning against a window, moving her hand down her neck and caressing her breast. She began dancing seductively, and the ad showed images of her chest, back and thighs. The ad closed with Beyoncé walking away from the camera, her footprints melting the floor. She turned and said “Catch the fever”. A male voice-over stated “Beyoncé Heat. The first fragrance, by Beyoncé”.

Issue

1. Some viewers challenged whether the ad was offensive.

2. Some viewers challenged whether the ad was suitable to be broadcast when children might be watching.

BCAP TV Code

BCAP TV Scheduling Code

Response

1. Coty UK Ltd (Coty) said that the ad was intended to reflect the singer Beyoncé's personal 'sexy chic' style. They claimed the ad was not overtly graphic or explicitly sexual and at no point was Beyoncé naked. They said the ad was stylised and in keeping with other ads in the genre.

Clearcast said the ad contained no nudity and was not sexually explicit. They believed that the ad was artistically shot and typical of the genre.

2. Coty said the ad was aimed at a vast selection of music programmes to target a young adult audience. They believed it was consistent with, if not less graphic than, many music videos and therefore would be consistent with the expectations of viewers of those sorts of programmes. They stated that, in line with Clearcast's restrictions, the ad was not shown immediately before, during, or immediately after childrens programmes.

Clearcast said the ad was given an ex-kids restriction meaning that it could not be shown in or around programmes aimed specifically at young children. They believed this restriction was appropriate for the level of sensuality in the ad and that the ad was acceptable with an ex-kids restriction.

Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that there was no explicit sexual content and that the singer Beyoncé was not fully naked in the ad. Although we noted the ad was sexually suggestive and might therefore be distasteful to some, we considered that, in the context of marketing for perfume, the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to most viewers.

On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rule 6.1 (Offence) but did not find it in breach.

2. Upheld

We noted several complainants had told us their children had seen the ad broadcast during the middle of the day around family programmes. We also noted that Clearcast had given the ad an ex-kids scheduling restriction, meaning it could not be broadcast in or around childrens programming. Although we considered that the ad was unlikely to be harmful to adults or older children, we considered that Beyoncé's body movements and the camera's prolonged focus on shots of her dress slipping away to partially expose her breasts created a sexually provocative ad that was unsuitable to be seen by young children. We considered that the ad should not have been shown before 19.30 due to the sexually provocative nature of the imagery.

On this point the ad breached the CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 7.4.1 (Mental harm), 7.4.7 (Use of scheduling restrictions) and CAP (Broadcast) Rules on the Scheduling of TV Advertisements rule 4.2.3 (Treatments unsuitable for children).

Action

The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form before 19.30.

Adjudication of the ASA Council (Broadcast)

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