A paid for Google ad, for come_crafted, an online retailer, for a wireless mini camera. The ad featured the image of a small camera being held between a thumb and forefinger. A blue triangle projected from the camera to a mobile phone, indicating that the phone was displaying the image being filmed by the camera. The phone had a picture of a woman sat in a bedroom wearing underwear. Text in the ad stated, “Wireless Mini Camera Portable Small HD Cam… £14.29 www.ebay.co.uk”.
The complainant, who believed the ad suggested the product could be used to watch women without their consent, challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and offensive.
come_crafted did not respond to the ASA's enquires.
eBay confirmed that the listing that the ad went through to, and that featured a similar image, had been taken down by them.
The ASA was concerned by come_crafted’s lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.7 1.7 Any unreasonable delay in responding to the ASA's enquiries will normally be considered a breach of the Code. (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to respond promptly to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
The CAP Code stated that marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility and must not contain anything that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
The ASA noted that the presence of a mobile phone in the ad, directly above the camera and connected by a blue triangle, indicated that any footage taken on the camera could be uploaded to a person’s device. Therefore, the imagery of the woman, in her underwear and in a bedroom setting, implied she was being filmed using the camera.
The camera itself was marketed as portable and compact and the image of the product between the thumb and forefinger demonstrated how small the item was. The impression from the ad was that the product could be placed anywhere and was inconspicuous.
The ad, by highlighting how the camera was small, portable and discreet, implied it could take footage surreptitiously. The ad therefore was likely to be interpreted by consumers as promoting the product as a way to film secretly, including scenes of women, in private and intimate locations and potentially without their knowledge. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and likely to cause serious offence.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society.
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: age; disability; gender; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation. 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. and 4.4 4.4 Marketing communications must contain nothing that is likely to condone or encourage violence or anti-social behaviour. (Harm and offence).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told come_crafted to ensure future ads were socially responsible and did not cause serious offence. We referred the matter to CAP’s Compliance team.