ASA Ruling on Kazam Online Ltd
Kazam Online Ltd t/a
Beaver Industrial Estate
25 February 2015
Computers and telecommunications
Number of complaints:
Ogilvy & Mather
A TV ad for the Kazam mobile phone. The ad opened with the shot of the back of a woman wearing just her underwear, she was shown walking around a house. The ad cut to a scene where she ran her finger down her cleavage, bit her lip then moved her hand over her hip and thigh. She picked up and put on a pair of jeans and the camera showed her buttoning them up. The ad then cut to a close-up of her bottom. She then picked up a shirt which she ironed and a close-up showed the iron moving over the pocket. After she put the shirt on a mobile phone was heard ringing. She searched her jeans pockets before finding it in the shirt pocket. A voice-over stated "Introducing the world's slimmest phone."
Eight complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive because it was overtly sexual and objectified women, and because the content bore no relationship to the advertised product.
Kazam Online Ltd said their ad played on the idea that the phone was so slim that it could easily be forgotten as it was left in a shirt pocket. They said it played on a well-known scenario − that is, ironing a shirt, in your underwear, before going out. Because the phone was slim, the actor did not notice it was being ironed.
Kazam Online said they were very careful to ensure that the ad was aired during programmes that were appropriate to the tongue-in-cheek nature of the ad and that they had voluntarily decided to avoid programmes that may be seen by young children.
Clearcast said that the scenes were slightly sexual, but believed they were not gratuitous or likely to cause offence. Because they considered some scenes may not be appropriate for a young audience, the ad was given an ex-kids restriction that prevented it from being broadcast around programmes likely to be viewed by children. They said that women or men in their underwear or in slightly suggestive scenes were common in UK advertising. They said the ad portrayed the phone as slim and discreet, that it was 'barely there' and that it therefore went undetected as she ironed the shirt. Furthermore, the actor was dressing, not undressing.
The ASA noted that much of the ad focused entirely on the actor in her underwear, including scenes that featured several close-up shots that lingered over her breasts, buttocks and lips, which we considered were sexually suggestive. Additionally, this was heightened by the suggestive nature of the music and voice-over and further reinforced because the focus on the woman bore no relevance to the advertised product. We therefore considered that the overall style of the ad served to objectify women. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence to some viewers on the basis that it objectified women.
The ad breached BCAP Code rule 4.2 (Harm and offence).
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told Kazam Online Ltd to ensure future ads did not cause offence by objectifying women.