Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
A poster, seen on various telephone boxes in East London, stated "New Club Oops..! Bar & Club ... Corporate Gentleman's Entertainment Attitude & Class Does Matter...!". The ad featured an image in negative of a woman from the waist down who, with the exception of high heels and a visible underwear waistband, appeared to be naked.
1. Four complainants challenged whether the poster was offensive, sexist and degrading to women.
2. Two complainants challenged whether the poster was unsuitable for public display where it could be seen by children. One complainant stated the poster had been placed within 100 m of a primary school.
1. & 2. Club Spice Ltd t/a Club Oops (Club Oops) said the campaign had finished and therefore they thought all the posters had been removed. They said they would ask their media owner, InFocus Media, to ensure all of the posters had been taken down. They didn't believe that the ad was offensive but were sorry that some individuals had been offended.
InFocus Media said they would remove any remaining posters and not display the ad again on any of their phone kiosks. They said when distributing the ad, they did not believe that the images or copy on the poster would cause offence. They highlighted that in the past they had displayed similar posters for Club Oops and other gentlemen's clubs in London, and had never received a complaint. They also said they were unaware of previous complaints regarding advertising for Club Oops.
1. & 2. Upheld
The ASA acknowledged that Club Oops's recent advertising campaign had come to an end and that InFocus Media had agreed to remove the remaining few posters which still appeared. We noted that the image just showed the lower half of a woman, from the waist down, naked except for some high heels and an underwear waistband. Whilst the image showed the woman wearing underwear, we noted that her buttocks were clearly visible, and considered that the image was provocative and sexually suggestive. In addition, we considered that a number of consumers were likely to believe that the image of just the lower half of a woman was unduly explicit and degrading to women. We considered the image was overtly sexual in nature and was likely to cause serious and widespread offence. We therefore concluded that it was unsuitable for public display, especially where it could be seen by children.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society.
(Social responsibility) and
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 must not appear again in its current form.