ASA Adjudication on Kepak Convenience Foods Ltd
Kepak Convenience Foods Ltd
Unit 3, Block 10
Blanchardstown Corporate Park
26 September 2012
VOD, In-game (apps), Internet (on own site), Internet (OM 3rd party)
Food and drink
Number of complaints:
BJL Group Ltd
Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated in relation to four ads. Both issues were Upheld in relation to some of the ads, and Not Upheld in relation to others.
Four ads, for Rustlers convenience food, appeared on a range of different platforms; one ad appeared on Video On Demand (VOD) services, during an iPad game app, on the MailOnline website and on YouTube, another appeared on the MailOnline website and a local news website, and the other two ads appeared on www.rustlersonline.com.
a. The VOD ad was shown on 4oD and ITV Player, including during a programme about people living with facial disfigurements, 'The Good Wife', 'Secret Eaters', 'Desperate Housewives', 'Agatha Christie's Marple' and 'The Vampire Diaries'. The ad featured a woman, wearing a short butcher's apron, stockings, suspenders and high heels, in a butcher's shop. A sign on the wall behind her stated "FIT AS A BUTCHER'S DAUGHTER". The woman said in a sultry voice, "Hi there. I've something really satisfying to show you, so join me in my butcher's shop. Dad's left me in charge, which means we've got the place to ourselves. Just you, me and plenty of well-hung meat." The woman then pointed at on-screen text which stated "Click for more" and said, "You know you want to." Clicking on the text took viewers to the advertiser's website, www.rustlersonline.com.
b. The ad during the iPad game app, which appeared before a game of solitaire, was the same as ad (a).
c. The YouTube ad, which appeared before videos, including gaming-related videos, was also the same as ad (a).
d. The ad on the MailOnline website, which appeared at the top right-hand corner of an article, was also the same as ad (a).
e. The ad on the MailOnline and the local news website, www.thisissouthwales.co.uk, appeared next to an article. Text, written on a blackboard, stated "Rustlers BOYS ARE ALWAYS COMPLIMENTING ME ON MY NICE RACK". The last two words were much larger than the preceding text. The woman from ad (a) danced into view with her back to the viewer, wiggling her bottom. She was wearing black knickers with the butcher's apron, stockings and suspenders. She stopped, glanced suggestively over her shoulder towards the viewer, and winked. The text on the board changed to state "FIT AS A BUTCHER'S DAUGHTER CLICK FOR MORE". The woman bent her knees and pointed at the viewer, kicked her leg back and walked off camera.
f. The first ad on www.rustlersonline.com featured the same woman in the butcher's shop, again speaking in a sultry voice, and emphasising certain words which could be taken as innuendo. She said, "Oh yes, you know how the script goes, don't you boys? Your starving mates keep coming over, so here's some ideas for mouth watering, tasty treats to give them. Rustlers subs, Rustlers burgers on my lovely baps, or Rustlers wraps are sure to go down a storm and tackle their hunger. Containing no hydrogenated fat, we can trace your meat back to its farm of origin." She was shown stroking a large salami sausage. She continued, "It's flame-grilled and coated in my creamy mayo salsa or barbeque sauce, guaranteed to satisfy your drooling mouth. They're quick and easy to cook and if you offer a touch of liquid refreshment too, the shout from your mates will be 'I want some more'." A sign was shown which stated "FIT AS A BUTCHER'S DAUGHTER Rustlers". The ad also included an interactive element; when website users hit numbers on their keyboard, the ad skipped to certain points throughout the ad.
g. The second ad on www.rustlersonline.com also featured the same woman in the same setting, speaking in the same way and again emphasising certain words. She said, "I want your full attention boys, because I'm going to tell you about what goes in to the great Rustlers range. We began in Ireland as a family butchers with a deep passion for making quality meat products for those who want good food, fast. We take pride in all that we do, because before I put something in my mouth I want to know where it's been." The woman was shown stroking a sausage. She continued, "So we always know where your meat has been farmed and reared, and from the barbeque sauce we put over succulent ribs to our creamy mayonnaise, everything we touch is handled with care. Our baps are fluffy and delicious. I pop my buns in the toaster so they don't go too soft in the microwave. Maybe you should try that too." A sign was shown which stated "FIT AS A BUTCHER'S DAUGHTER Rustlers". The ad included the same interactive element as ad (f).
The ASA received 18 complaints.
1. All the complainants challenged whether the ads were offensive, because they were sexist to women and presented them as merely sex objects.
2. Four complainants challenged whether ads (a) and (b) were appropriate to be seen by children.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
1. & 2. Kepak Convenience Foods Ltd (Kepak) said the 'Fit as a Butcher's Daughter' campaign (the campaign) was designed to be light-hearted and cheeky, with direct appeal to their target audience of 16- to 24-year-old males. They understood the tone and content of the campaign would not appeal to everyone but because it was always comical and suggestive rather than explicit, they did not believe it was offensive.
Kepak said they had created an unreal situation to ensure that viewers were instantly aware that is was not meant to a true reflection of everyday life. Through both script and action the woman was in control and comically attracted viewers in a mocking tone. They believed the woman was a very strong character and represented a woman in control rather than a woman who was being exploited. They believed the dialogue was delivered deliberately with double entendre, all the action was 'hammed up', and it was never sexually explicit or extreme and was more comical and suggestive than sexually provocative.
Kepak said their strategy was to create buzz and awareness amongst 16- to 24-year-old males and they had not actively targeted children. They said they had put safeguards in place to ensure, where possible, they only reached their target audience, and their use of digital media provided more sophisticated ways of targeting than traditional media.
Kepak said they had asked Clearcast, the clearance centre for TV ads, for advice on the VOD ad and their view was that, if it had been assessed for broadcast on TV, it would not have been acceptable for all viewers. Kepak said, as a result, 4oD had made users actively confirm they were of a suitable age before the on-demand TV programme started. In addition, both Channel 4 and ITV had ensured the ad was not streamed before 9pm to further restrict potential inappropriate viewing. Channel 4 and ITV confirmed they had placed restrictions on the ad as a result of Clearcast's advice: Channel 4 said they had only served the ad on VOD to programmes which were typically broadcast on TV after 9pm, and had also taken steps to ensure that the ad was only served to VOD users between the hours of 9pm and 5am. ITV said the ad was specifically targeted to a male audience and excluded from any programmes or website content which was defined as having a high index of child viewers in its equivalent broadcast content, and also from sections of the website where they considered it might cause offence, such as content for families or children. Neither Channel 4 nor ITV received any complaints about the ad themselves.
With regard to the ad on YouTube, Kepak said it was targeted to video content which was relevant to the interests of 16- to 24-year-old males, including videos related to gaming. Google (owners of YouTube) said their policies, which must be met by all advertisers, included that ads must be "Family Safe" or appropriately targeted, and must comply with YouTube ad policies and applicable laws and regulations including the CAP Code. They said that, following receipt of the complaint, they had conducted a review and determined that the ad should not have been approved as "Family Safe". They said the ad campaign on YouTube had already ended but they had, nonetheless, 'disapproved' the ads so they could not be shown again in future.
With regard to the ad's appearance during the iPad game and the news websites, Kepak said those appearances were the result of targeting by their network advertising partner, who had been instructed to only target 16- to 24-year-old males. Kepak acknowledged that, given that such networks generally classified internet users into certain demographic segments through their online behaviour (as identified via cookies stored on the device used to access the internet), it was possible that some consumers outside the target audience may have seen the ad on shared home PCs.
Associated Newspapers, responding in relation to ads (d) and (e), said that all ads appearing on the MailOnline went through an approval procedure which unfortunately failed in this instance. They said they were working towards improving that procedure, and the ads would not appear again on the MailOnline.
Northcliffe Media, which owned wwwthisissouthwales.co.uk (ad (e)), also stated that they had procedures in place to flag and block ads with certain attributes, and that in this case the ad had slipped through those procedures. They said they were working with those partner companies which placed ads on Northcliffe Media websites to ensure such an error did not occur again.
Kepak said they were willing to introduce an age-gate for content on their website which related to the campaign.
1. Not upheld in relation to ads (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e)
The ASA noted the woman in the ads was wearing revealing clothing, that in ads (a) to (d) she used mild innuendo to encourage viewers to follow the link to the advertiser's website, and that in ad (e) mild innuendo appeared on the blackboard beside her. We acknowledged that some viewers might find the ads distasteful, in part because there was only a tentative link between the product and the use of a woman wearing revealing clothing and using innuendo. However, we considered that the woman's clothing, the language used, and the dance in ad (e), were not sexually provocative or explicit, and the ads did not present women merely as sex objects. We concluded ads (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
Upheld in relation to ads (f) and (g)
We acknowledged the ads were similar in theme and appearance to ads (a) to (e). However, we considered that some of the innuendo in ads (f) and (g) was significantly stronger, particularly because it was emphasised by some of the woman's actions, it was sexually provocative, and it was the focus of the ad rather than the information she gave about the product. We considered the overall effect of the ads was that the woman was presented as a sex object. We concluded the ads were likely to cause widespread offence as a result.
Notwithstanding that, we noted the interactive element of the ads could be used by website users to jump to certain words or phrases in the woman's speech which, although likely to be considered as innuendo when the ad was viewed in full, became sexually explicit when combined in different orders by the user. We considered the interactivity therefore accentuated the presentation of the woman as merely a sex object. We concluded the interactive element to the ads was likely to cause both serious and widespread offence.
We acknowledged Kepak had said they were willing to include an age-gate on the website but we considered that because the ads were likely to cause serious and widespread offence this would not be sufficient to ensure they complied with the CAP Code.
On this point, we investigated ads (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 4.1 (Harm and offence), but did not find them in breach.
On this point, ads (f) and (g) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).
2. Not upheld in relation to ad (a)
We understood the complainants' concerns and agreed that the ad was not appropriate to be seen by children, because it contained sexual innuendo and the woman was wearing sexually suggestive clothing. However, we noted that none of the complainants had stated that they were aware of children who had seen the ad on VOD, and we considered that both Channel 4 and ITV had taken appropriate steps to prevent the ad from being viewed by children. We concluded that the VOD ad was not socially irresponsible.
Upheld in relation to ad (b)
For the reasons stated above, we considered the ad was not appropriate to be seen by children. We noted the audience to whom the ad had been targeted but were concerned it was likely that the ad had been served to consumers outside the target audience; for example, we understood that the complainants who had seen the ad during the iPad game and on news websites, which were media targeted by Kepak's network advertising partner, were all female. We also understood that where targeting was based on online behaviour or even demographic data provided by an internet user, ads could only be targeted to individual devices or logins on those devices, rather than to specific consumers. We considered it was therefore likely that children, who often used devices owned by their parents, such as iPads, to play games or access the Internet, could have viewed the ad. We considered the advertiser should have taken greater care to ensure the ad could not be viewed by children, and concluded the targeting of the ad during the iPad game was not responsible advertising.
On this point, we investigated ad (a) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 (Responsible advertising), but did not find it in breach.
On this point, ad (b) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 (Responsible advertising).
Ad (b) must not appear again in its current form. Ads (f) and (g) must no longer appear. We told Kepak to ensure that ad (b), and similar ads, were appropriately targeted so they would not be viewed by children. We also told them to ensure their ads did not cause serious and/or widespread offence.