ASA Adjudication on Nottingham Ready Mix Ltd
Nottingham Ready Mix Ltd
27 July 2011
Industrial and engineering
Number of complaints:
Ratcliffe Fernley Media
An ad, on the back of a local bus in March 2011, for a company supplying concrete, featured a picture of a woman wearing a short, low-cut black dress lying on her front. Behind the woman was an image of a cement mixer and a man laying cement using a pump. Text stated "Why barrow it ... pump it! ... YOU THINK SHE LOOKS GOOD...CHECK OUR NEW CONCRETE PUMP!!"
The complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because he believed it was sexist and demeaning to women.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Ratcliffe Fernley Media, who replied on behalf of Nottingham Ready Mix Ltd, said that, whilst they were taking the complaint seriously, they felt strongly that the ad had not caused serious or widespread offence noting that only one complaint had been made despite the ad having been on display for over ten weeks. They pointed out that the bus company had not raised any concerns with them about the ad, which they sometimes do if they think an ad may be unsuitable for public display. They noted that the female model's pose was not overtly sexual and that no cleavage could be seen due to the position of her upper body. They explained that their client's campaign was run to advertise their new concrete pump, hence the slogan "Why barrow it? ... pump it!". They pointed out that "barrow" and "pump" were technical terms used by builders with regard to concreting areas.
The ASA acknowledged that the slogan "Why barrow it? ... pump it!", and the position of the device behind the woman, could have been interpreted by some members of the public as having sexual connotations. However, we considered that most members of the public were unlikely to make such an inference. We noted that text above the image of the woman "YOU THINK SHE LOOKS GOOD ... CHECK OUR NEW CONCRETE PUMP!" likened the attractiveness of the woman to the attractiveness of the product, but we did not consider that that, in itself, was likely to cause serious or widespread offence. We considered that the woman, who was wearing a low-cut short black dress, was unlikely to be seen as indecently clothed and noted her position meant that she was not showing any cleavage. We also noted that she was not posed in a sexually provocative way. We concluded that whilst some members of the public might have considered the ad distasteful or noted that the image of the woman bore no relation to the product being advertised, the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence in an untargeted medium.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.