ASA Adjudication on Mr Unique
132–136 Turners Hill
23 May 2012
Number of complaints:
Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated both of which were Not upheld.
A regional press ad, for Mr Unique tyre and exhaust centres, was seen in the Harlow Star and the Hoddesden and Broxbourne Mercury. The ad stated "We're Back" and featured an image of a woman wearing denim hot pants and a cropped top. She was shown leaning on a car with a wrench in one hand and the other placed on her hip.
The ASA received two complaints from members of the public.
1. Both complainants challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, because they believed it was sexist.
2. One of the complainants also challenged whether the ad was suitable to be distributed in an untargeted medium.
Investigated under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).
CAP Code (Edition 12)
1. & 2. Mr Unique said the ad was in a retro style which they had been using in their advertising for many years. They said that the image was related to their business and that the woman holding the wrench was shown working on a vehicle in a workshop. They said they regretted if the ad had offended any members of the public, because that was not their intention, and that they had had positive feedback about the ad from both male and female customers.
Herts & Essex Newspapers (HEN) said that they believed the ad was suitable for publication because it was similar to previous ads for Mr Unique, and they did not have any records of previous complaints in respect of Mr Unique's advertising.
1. & 2. Not upheld
The ASA noted that the woman was wearing denim hot pants and a cropped top. We also noted that she had her hand on her hip. We considered that the overall effect of the image, including the woman's facial expression, was only mildly sexual. We noted that the ad did not contain any innuendo and concluded that, because it was no more than mildly sexual, the ad was suitably targeted. We also considered that children were less likely to view the ad than if it had appeared in an untargeted medium. We concluded that, although some might find it distasteful, the ad was not overtly sexual and was not demeaning to women. We therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence in the medium in which it appeared.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Social Responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.