An ad for a penis extender by wish.com, seen on 26 November 2017, appeared within the apps Peel Smart Remote, 2048 and Crazy Cake Swap. The ad featured an animated image of a penis above a second animated image of an extender strap being applied to the penis.
Three complainants challenged whether the ads had been responsibly targeted because they were likely to be seen by children.
ContextLogic Inc t/a wish.com did not respond to the ASA’s enquiries.
Ketchapp, the publisher of 2048 said that whilst the game had an age rating of four years plus on one app store, the game was not aimed at children. They said that the game was a block puzzle game which required mental calculation and therefore was not directed at children.
Ketchapp said they had no control over the ad and had little influence over ads that were served to individual players. They said that they could not comment on the content of the ad because they did not develop it. They argued that responsibility was with advertisers and ad servers to ensure that their ads were suitable for the apps they appeared in,
Ketachapp said that they had taken a number of actions in response to the complaint to prevent similar ads appearing in their apps. For example, they had increased the age rating for all Ketchapp games to 12 years plus and adapted processes to ensure that the content of the ads were better aligned with the age rating of the app.
Peel, the publisher of Peel Smart Remote acknowledged the complaint but did not provide a substantive response to our enquiries. Zynga, the publisher of Crazy Cake Swap did not respond to our enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by wish.com’s lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a substantive response to our enquiries and told them to do so in the future.
We understood that Peel Smart Remote was an app which allowed users to control their home electronics. The game 2048 allowed users to play puzzle games and Crazy Cake Swap was also a puzzle game which involved animated cakes. We considered that given the content of the apps, they were likely to have a broad appeal to all ages including children and therefore any ads that appeared within the apps, should have been suitable for children.
The ad featured an animated image of a penis with an extender strap being applied which we considered to be inappropriate for children to view. Because the ad had been placed in apps that children could be using, we concluded that the ad had been placed irresponsibly in breach of the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 1.3 Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society. (Responsible advertising).
The ad must not appear again in an untargeted medium. We told wish.com to ensure that ads that were inappropriate for children to see were appropriately targeted. We referred the matter to the CAP Compliance team.