ASA Adjudication on Sunday Sport (2011) Ltd
Sunday Sport (2011) Ltd
City View House
11 July 2012
Number of complaints:
Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated and both were Not Upheld.
A TV ad, for the Sunday Sport and Midweek Sport newspapers, on 19 November 2011, started with a female voice-over stating, "The following advertisement is sponsored by Keep Britain Boring" and a Union Jack and the text "KEEP BRITAIN BORING" featured on-screen. A male voice-over continued, "It has been brought to our attention that the all-colour Sunday Sport and the Midweek Sport are available at all good newsagents. Apparently they are packed full of stunning babes, shocking exclusives, the funniest stories and, of course, great football coverage. Outrageous! Gorgeous glamour girls jumping out from every page, jaw-dropping photos and staggering stories to make you laugh. How dare they! Keep Britain boring! I certainly won't be buying the Sunday Sport tomorrow or the Midweek Sport on Wednesday."
The ad featured images of front covers of the Sunday Sport and the Midweek Sport newspapers. One front cover featured the headline "TV SOAP BABES' TOPLESS HOLIDAY SNAPS!". Another featured the headline "GIRLS, GIRLS AND MORE GIRLS". Another front cover featured an image of a woman wearing underwear and stockings bending forward with her arms crossed under her chest and the headline "IT'S AN ALL OUT PHWOAR ZONE!".
The ad also featured several brief images of women wearing only underwear or bikinis. The first image featured a woman in her underwear with her bra straps falling off her shoulders and her arms folded across her mid-riff. The second image featured a woman in black satin underwear and suspender belt posing with her arms behind her head. The third image featured three women, all wearing underwear; one standing sideways on, one kneeling down with one hand behind her head and the other sitting with her legs wide apart, one hand running through her hair and the other hand pulling down the top of her knickers. The fourth image featured a woman in a string bikini with wet hair standing sideways on. The fifth image featured a woman in lace underwear, standing with her legs apart and one hand placed at the top of her knickers. The sixth image featured a woman in her underwear kneeling on a bed with her legs apart and both hands hooked around the top of her knickers. The seventh image featured a woman in her underwear with one bra strap falling off her shoulder, her hand placed on her face with one finger in her open mouth.
The ad was cleared by Clearcast with a timing restriction such that it should not be broadcast in or adjacent to programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal particularly to persons below the age of 16 years.
Three complainants challenged whether the ad:
1. was offensive; and
2. was inappropriate for broadcast during the day when children would be watching.
1. & 2. Sunday Sport (2011) Ltd (Sunday Sport) said the ad was cleared by Clearcast with a restriction such that the ad could not be transmitted in the breaks immediately before, during or immediately after children's programmes. They said the media schedule adhered to the restriction. They confirmed that the ad appeared on Sky Sports News only on 19 November 2011. The media brief was to deliver to Men 16–34 (Primary Audience) and Men (Secondary Audience). Sunday Sport believed Sky Sports News was the ideal channel to deliver to this audience and provided a copy of the station's profile. Sunday Sport believed the ad reflected the content of the newspaper and was appropriate to the target audience. They did not believe the ad was offensive or was inappropriately scheduled.
Clearcast noted that the ad contained some sexual images but considered that they fell within the recognised character of glamour. They also considered that the images (seven in total) were photographic stills and appeared fleetingly on-screen during two short sequences measuring two and three seconds in duration. They said that given the fast cutting style of the ad, the brief duration of the seven images (less than one second per image) and their contribution to the ad as a whole (less than 25%), it was judged that the ad should not be transmitted around programmes of interest to children and therefore the ad was cleared with an "ex-kids" restriction.
1. Not upheld
The ASA understood that the complainants had seen the ad on Sky Sports News during the programme "Gillette Soccer Saturday" on Saturday 19 November 2011 at around 3pm and we understood it had not been broadcast on any other channel. We understood that it had been targeted at a predominantly male audience and noted that the channel's audience profile indicated that 74% of its viewers were men and eight out of ten viewers were aged between 16 and 54. We noted Sunday Sport's comment that the ad reflected the content of its newspaper. We also noted that whilst some of the images shown featured women in sexualised poses, we considered that their impact was reduced due to the brief duration of the images and the fast cutting style of the ad. We therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule 4.2 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.
2. Not upheld
We considered that the ad was mildly sexual in content and that some parents would consider it inappropriate for broadcast at times when children might be watching TV unaccompanied. We noted that the ad had been given an "ex-kids" restriction by Clearcast which we considered appropriate. We understood from audience index figures that a small proportion of viewers watching Gillette Soccer Saturday on the day in question were children under 16 years of age and therefore the ad had been broadcast in accordance with the restriction. We noted that the seven images of women in their underwear or bikinis were fleeting and stayed on-screen for less than one second each and made up a small part of the ad. We therefore concluded that the scheduling restriction applied was sufficient and the ad was not inappropriate for broadcast during the day at other times when children might be watching TV in family viewing time.
On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule 32.3 (Scheduling) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.