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ASA Ruling on


20 February 2013





Number of complaints:


Complaint Ref:



A circular for an internet dating site featured four images. One image had a couple embracing alongside text stating "GENERAL DATING". Another image featured a woman lying on her front wearing a bra and thong knickers alongside text stating "COUGAR DATING". A third image featured a woman's legs with thong knickers pulled down to around her knees alongside text stating "NO STRINGS DATING". A fourth image featured two men embracing and two women leaning in to kiss each other alongside text stating "GAY DATING".


The complainant challenged whether the circular was irresponsible, because it was untargeted and featured images which were unsuitable to be seen by children.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

Response explained that over 45,000 copies of the circular had been distributed and they had received no complaints about it apart from this one. Following receipt of the complaint, they had shown the circular to various people and had listened to their comments. They said there were no negative comments from anyone and no one was offended by the circular. They said no one thought their children could or would be affected by the circular. They pointed out that the circular clearly stated that the information was for 18 and over and not for minors. They said more graphic images could be seen in lingerie catalogues which were sometimes posted through letterboxes.



The ASA understood the circular had been posted through letterboxes and could therefore be seen by children. We noted that the image above the heading "Cougar dating" was of a woman lying on her front in string underwear and that her bare buttock was visible. We considered that the image, which showed partial nudity, was gratuitous and not suitable to be seen by children.

We noted that the image under the heading "No strings dating" was of a woman's bare legs from the thighs down and with her underwear pulled down to around her knees. We considered that although young children were unlikely to understand the image, older children were likely to understand the image was sexually suggestive, as it implied that the woman was available for sex. We considered it was therefore unsuitable to be seen by children.

For these reasons, we concluded that the circular was irresponsible because it was untargeted and featured images that were unsuitable to be seen by children.

The circular breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 (Social responsibility).


The circular must not appear again in its current form.

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