ASA Ruling on MTV Networks Europe
MTV Networks Europe
17-29 Hawley Crescent
9 January 2013
Number of complaints:
A TV ad for the MTV series The Valleys featured young people at a house party. Scenes included a woman bouncing on the sofa so you could see her pants, a man flexing his pecs, a women flexing her breasts in a low cut top, two women kissing, men and women kissing and a woman pulling up a man's top and touching his stomach.
The voice-over said, "The harder they party, the harder they fall. Will they make it in Cardiff, or will they just end up back in the valleys? Brand new reality, coming soon to MTV".
The ad was cleared by Clearcast with an ex-kids restriction, which meant it should not be shown in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children.
Four complainants objected that, due to its sexual content, the ad was inappropriately scheduled before 9pm when children might see it.
Clearcast said that when assessing the ad they had considered previous decisions on ads for similar reality TV shows and for products which used innuendo or partial nudity in their treatment. They felt the ad did not go any further in terms of real or implied sexual content and considered an ex-kids restriction was sufficient.
They considered that the visuals shown were of a comic, slapstick nature rather than serious sexual content. They said the characters from the show were shown messing around in the context of a party, which they felt was made clear by the giggling and one person photographing a kissing couple as though it would be the subject for gossip the next day. They also felt that the ending, which showed the couples being blasted from the room into a field full of sheep, underlined the idea that the group were having fun away from home rather than engaging in seductive or overtly sexual behaviour. They felt the voice-over emphasised this by referring to "partying" rather than anything sexual. They did not feel that a stronger restriction would have been warranted in this case.
The complainants had seen the ad between 8pm and 9pm during Eddie Stobart: Trucks & Trailers and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and believed that, due to its sexual content, the ad was not appropriate to be shown before 9pm. The ASA understood that the ad also been broadcast before 7.30pm. The ad did not contain any explicit nudity, but did include a number of shots that focused on breasts and a number of suggestive scenes such as a woman moving her hand down a man's torso, and two women being photographed on a mobile phone while kissing. Many of the interactions between individuals at the party were depicted with a sexual element and we considered that the overall tone of the ad was sexual. We therefore considered that the ad was not suitable for broadcast when younger children might be watching. We concluded that the ad was not suitable for broadcast before 7.30pm and that the scheduling restriction applied was not sufficient.
The ad breached BCAP Code rule 32.3 (Scheduling of television and radio advertisements).
The ad must not appear again in its current form before 7.30pm.