ASA Ruling on CSL
23 March 2011
Number of complaints:
A TV ad for sofas featured three female models sitting, lying and walking around a range of sofas, posing for photographs and dancing and singing to the Duran Duran song ‘Girls on Film’. The women were shown wearing glamorous outfits and when the final sofa was featured, they were shown posing and dancing in their lingerie.
1. 260 viewers objected that the depiction of women in their underwear was gratuitous and offensive; and
2. 118 of those viewers also objected that the ad was inappropriate for broadcast at times when children could be watching.
1. CSL did not respond to this point.
Clearcast said that although the women in their underwear may not have been particularly relevant to the content of the ad, they did not consider it portrayed women in a demeaning fashion and the ad was not of an overtly sexual nature.
2. CSL did not respond to this point.
Clearcast said they considered the ad may not be suitable for young children and had added a presentation code which advised broadcasters to view it before considering whether it was acceptable for transmission in programmes appealing to children under nine years old. They had not, however, given it a scheduling restriction.
1. Not upheld
We noted the ad featured three women wearing glamorous clothing including luxurious coats, cocktail dresses and lingerie. We also noted the theme of the ad and the song "Girls on Film", was based around a fashion shoot and that the models were posing for a woman holding a camera and walking toward the screen as if on a catwalk. We also noted the ad also showed the women dancing in a group. We considered that although the concept of the fashion shoot and the women in their underwear could be seen as incongruous with the product being advertised, the images were not overtly provocative or sexualised. Although some viewers might have found the images distasteful and gratuitous, we considered that the depiction of the women was neither demeaning nor degrading. We 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 noted Clearcast had advised broadcasters to view the ad before making the decision to broadcast it around programmes appealing to children who were under nine years of age. We also noted some complainants reported that the ad had been broadcast during a family film. However, we considered that the women were not presented in an overtly sexual way and that the overall presentation of the ad was unlikely to be seen to depict women in a demeaning light. Whilst we understood some viewers were concerned that the ad was unsuitable to be seen by young children because it showed women walking and dancing in their underwear, we considered there was nothing within the ad that would cause harm or distress to children. We concluded that the ad was not unsuitable to be seen by young children.
On this point we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social responsibility), 4.1 (Harm and offence), 32.1 and 32.3 (Scheduling) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.