ASA Adjudication on Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare (UK) Ltd
Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare (UK) Ltd
23 May 2012
Health and beauty
Number of complaints:
Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated both of which were Not upheld
An internet display ad for Durex Play lubricant gels, which was seen on www.tvguide.co.uk, featured the facial expressions of a number of women who appeared to be experiencing sexual pleasure, whilst an operatic aria played. A voice-over stated "Feel more with Durex Play. Lubricants to add pleasure to every touch. Get your free sample on Facebook." The ad offered the functionality to click through to further details of the free sample offer.
1. One complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive due to its sexual nature.
2. Three complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsibly placed, because they considered that it was unsuitable to be displayed on a general interest TV listings website, which could be viewed by children.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Reckitt Benckiser said that, whilst the product and the brand were of a sexual nature and the advertising must therefore have some sexual content, they did not believe that the sexual content was explicit or likely to cause serious or widespread offence. They said that they had invested part of their media budget in purchasing over 10 million online ads to be shown over a period of two months. They said that a target audience of 25- to 34-year-old men and women in relationships was set and that suppliers were made aware of the adult nature and relevancy of their products. They said they continuously worked with their suppliers to ensure that the websites their ads appeared on matched their target audience. They believed that the ad was socially responsible in itself, and was targeted at a specific audience.
TVGuide.co.uk said that the ad was provided by an independent network that serves ads through their website. They told us that, following the complaints, they had requested that the ad be blocked from appearing again. They told us that 4.6% of their users were under 18 years old.
1. Not upheld
The ASA acknowledged the complainant's concern, and appreciated that advertisers and publishers needed to be aware of the sensitive nature of ads for this type of product. However, we considered that the ad was not overtly graphic, contained no explicit material and we concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence, provided it was targeted appropriately.
On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.
2. Not upheld
We acknowledged the complainants' concern that children using the website might have been exposed to the ad. We noted, however, that only a small proportion of TVGuide.co.uk's users were under the age of 18, and we therefore concluded that it had been targeted appropriately and was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to users of TVGuide.co.uk.
On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.