ASA Adjudication on The Pearl Lounge
The Pearl Lounge
16 Dee Street
25 April 2012
Number of complaints:
Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated both of which were Upheld.
A leaflet, distributed around Aberdeen University campus on behalf of The Pearl Lounge, stated "VALENTINES FU*K FEST THURSDAY 16TH FEBRUARY GO HOME WITH A STRANGER! 70P BROKE BOMBS GET YOUR NUMBER AT THE DOOR LEAVE YOUR MESSAGES SEE MORE FU*KING THAN DAVID ATTENBOROUGH COULD HANDLE!".
Aberdeen City Council and a member of the public challenged whether the leaflet was:
1. offensive, because it featured sexually explicit material; and
2. irresponsible, because the text "GO HOME WITH A STRANGER" encouraged potentially unsafe practices.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
The Pearl Lounge said they did not support the message communicated in the leaflet. They also said it was not the promoter's intention to cause harm or offence but to create a tongue in cheek promotion aimed at students. They said the event was cancelled and all promotional material had been withdrawn. They also said they had since worked closely with Aberdeen City Council and student bodies to ensure similar risky promotions did not run again and that all future material for external events was proof read by the venue.
The ASA welcomed the advertiser's assurance that similar promotional material would not be distributed in future. We noted the ad stated "VALENTINES FU*K FEST... SEE MORE FU*KING THAN DAVID ATTENBOROUGH ..." and considered that, because it was clear from the use of asterisks in the words "FU*K" and "FU*KING" that they represented swear words, the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence to some readers.
On this point the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 4.1 (Harm and offence)
We considered that the text "GO HOME WITH A STRANGER", in conjunction with the text "VALENTINES FU*K FEST" and "SEE MORE FU*KING THAN DAVID ATTENBOROUGH …" was likely to been seen as encouraging readers to go home with a stranger to have sex. We considered that, because this was a potentially unsafe practice, the ad was socially irresponsible. We therefore concluded that it breached the Code.
On this point the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.5 (Harm and offence).
The ad must not appear again in its current form.