ASA Adjudication on Kilimanjaro Live Ltd
Kilimanjaro Live Ltd
29 Great Guildford Street
The Agency Group Ltd
361-373 City Road
16 March 2011
Magazine, National press
Number of complaints:
Sold Out Advertising
An ad for music gigs, in the Guide section of the Guardian, was headlined with the name of the band "HOLYFUCK". The ad also featured a picture of the band, tour dates and booking information.
The complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive and inappropriate for use in a supplement that was likely to be seen by children.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Kilimanjaro Live Ltd (Kilimanjaro), also responding on behalf of the Agency Group Ltd (the Agency Group), said Holy Fuck were a Canadian band and that Kilimanjaro had been the bands live promoter in the UK for about 12 months. They said all artwork logos and materials were supplied by the bands agent, the Agency Group, and were approved by the band themselves.
Kilimanjaro said the Guide was specifically chosen as it was an industry standard weekly going-out guide that was a hugely successful form of advertising for them. They believed the Guide was an acceptable place to advertise a band with that name because it was an adult oriented entertainment guide aimed at teens and older. They said it was common for editorial in the Guide to contain the word fuck uncensored.
Kilimanjaro said they accepted that the name of the band created potential issues but believed the bands music lent itself to the use of such a controversial word in their name and argued that they had a justifiable right to use the word in the way in which they did. They said a number of other bands had similar swearwords in their names. Kilimanjaro said the band were not a controversial act and their name had been used on many gig posters, flyers and tour ads in the time that Kilimanjaro had been working with them without any complaints except the one received by the ASA.
Kilimanjaro said, notwithstanding that, they realised that there was a risk that the ad could cause a problem and apologised for any offence that had been caused to the complainant. They said it was not their intention to cause serious or widespread offence and would therefore review their policy towards future use of the word fuck in the names of the bands that they promoted.
The Guardian said they carefully scrutinised all advertising copy prior to publication and had decided to accept the ad. They argued that the Guide was clearly targeted at a young adult audience who were very unlikely to be shocked by the language in the ad and pointed out that swearwords could also sometimes be found in the Guides editorial content. They believed it was impossible for the band to promote themselves without using their full name.
The ASA noted that the word "HOLYFUCK" was the name of the advertised band and we also noted that the Guide was targeted at older teens and adults. However, we considered that, because it was placed in an entertainment listings supplement to a national newspaper, the ad was likely to be seen by a wide variety of readers including children. We considered, in that context, that the name "HOLYFUCK" was likely to cause serious or widespread offence to some readers.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).
The ad must not appear again in its current form.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)