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ASA Ruling on Tom Ford Beauty

Tom Ford Beauty

767 Fifth Avenue
New York
NY 10153

Date:

19 December 2007

Media:

Magazine

Sector:

Health and beauty

Number of complaints:

2

Complaint Ref:

41000

Ad

An ad, for Tom Ford men's fragrance, that appeared in GQ and Wallpaper magazines, showed part of a woman's naked body in close-up. A bottle of perfume was positioned between her legs, covering her genitals. Text stated "TOM FORD FOR MEN THE FIRST FRAGRANCE FOR MEN FROM TOM FORD".

Issue

Two complainants thought the ad's image was offensive, because it was sexually explicit.

CAP Code (Edition 11)

Response

Tom Ford Beauty said the ad was placed in the inside pages of only two magazines: GQ and Wallpaper.  Those magazines were selected because they were aimed at sophisticated, style conscious, adult and mainly male consumers, who were the target audience for the product.  They said the ad did not appear in any other print or broadcast media.

They explained that most GQ readers were aged between 25 and 34 years and 83% of them were male.  They also said the average age of Wallpaper readers was 34 years and 60% of the readership was male.  They stated that the combined circulation of the two magazines was 151,776 in the UK and Republic of Ireland and pointed out that the ASA had received complaints from two readers, which they argued was a very small proportion of the number of people who had seen the ad.

Tom Ford Beauty argued that the highly stylised creative treatment gave the ad an artistic quality, not a salacious one.  They said the style of the ad was consistent with that of other advertising and editorial content in GQ and Wallpaper magazines.  They believed readers of those magazines were unlikely to find the ad offensive, because they were used to similar edgy, bold images.  They thought the ads image was not excessively sexualised, because it was closely cropped and showed no private sexual body parts, sexual activity or interaction.

GQ said they found the image thought provoking but not indecent.  They said they had received no complaints.

Wallpaper felt the inclusion of the ad in the magazine was justified, because it would appeal to their readers strong design aesthetic.  They said they had received only one complaint.

Assessment

Not upheld

The ASA noted the ad had appeared in only two magazines: GQ, a men's lifestyle magazine, and Wallpaper, a fashion, art, architecture and interior design magazine.  We considered that, although the ads image could be seen as provocative, it was in keeping with the style and content of the magazines it appeared in and because of the specific context it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to readers of those magazines.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code clause 5.1 (Decency) but did not find it in breach.

Action

No further action required.

Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)

How to comply with the rules

For advice and training on the Advertising Codes please visit the CAP website.

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