Ad description

A regional press ad, in the London Metro, for a job as a bouncer stated "Door Dwarfs required for the Hippodrome Casino, London. The Hippodrome is seeking to create a team of Britain's smallest bouncers - Door Dwarfs - for its new entrance in Cranbourne Street, Leicester Square. Duties include door control and customer relations. We welcome applications from those under 4ft 10 inches".


The complainant objected that the ad was offensive to people of restricted growth.


The Hippodrome Casino Ltd said the tradition of employing people with dwarfism began more than 100 years ago at The Hippodrome and that the ad not only reflected that heritage but also offered employment to those who may have had difficulty finding work elsewhere. They said they advertised for "Door Dwarfs" because that was exactly what they required and that the term "dwarf" was not considered offensive by people with dwarfism. They said that the advertised position involved working the doorways, greeting guests and explaining the layout of the building and believed the "Door Dwarf" term best explained what they were looking for.



The ASA understood that some individuals were likely to be offended by the concept of the position being advertised, but noted the CAP Code did not prohibit the advertising of any (legal) employment opportunity providing the ads for those employment opportunities also complied with other elements of the Code. However, we considered the use of alliteration in the term "Door Dwarfs" and the text "The Hippodrome is seeking to create a team of Britain's smallest bouncers" made the position look like a novelty and therefore mocked people of restricted growth by going beyond an informative description of the employment opportunity. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence to people of restricted growth.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule  4.1 4.1 Marketing communications must not contain anything that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care must be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. Compliance will be judged on the context, medium, audience, product and prevailing standards.
Marketing communications may be distasteful without necessarily breaching this rule. Marketers are urged to consider public sensitivities before using potentially offensive material.
The fact that a product is offensive to some people is not grounds for finding a marketing communication in breach of the Code.
 (Harm and offence).


The ad should not appear again in its current form. We told Hippodrome Casino Ltd to take care when advertising employment opportunities.

CAP Code (Edition 12)


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