Summary of Council decision:

Two issues were investigated, of which one was Upheld and the other was Not upheld.

Ad description

A TV ad, for CK One perfumes, showed a group of young people, who were dancing. Some of the males were topless and some of the females wore hot pants and cropped or bra tops. One scene showed one of the males crouched down, with a female who was touching his shoulders behind him and another female straddling his lap; the male was touching her breasts. Voice-overs stated "CK One, the original shared fragrance", "… and CK One Shock, daring fragrances for him and her."

The ad was cleared by Clearcast with no timing restriction.


1. The ASA received complaints from viewers, who challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, because they believed it was overtly sexual.

2. Most of the complainants also challenged whether the ad was suitable for broadcast at times of day when children could be watching.


1. & 2. Coty UK Ltd (Coty) said the ad, which featured two fragrances, shifted between a group of young people dancing in a graffiti setting and then in a room with bare white walls. They said the group was lightly dressed and dancing provocatively but with their private body parts covered. They said an ad that featured only one of the perfumes and which followed the same creative direction had been aired previously, but it was edited differently. They said the current ad showed a wider frame than the zoomed-in shots of the previous ad and therefore more flesh was now visible, although the outfits were the same. They said the same scene the complainants had raised concerns about also appeared in that ad, albeit for a shorter period of time.

They said the ad was intended to reflect the young and edgy spirit of the products, whose target group was aged 18 to 25, but not to cause offence. They said a previous version of the ad was cleared by Clearcast with an ex-kids restriction and submitted a media schedule, which they said showed the ad was shown in line with that restriction for most of December 2012. They believed the ad did not breach the Code.

Clearcast said the ad had superseded a previous version and was approved without restriction. They said the scene the complainants were concerned about was fleeting and was too quick for them to notice, so they had not recognised the potential issue with the ad. They believed, however, the scenes were largely in line with those previously approved for the products, in particular the previous version of the ad referred to by Coty which included a close up of a couple kissing.


1. Not upheld

The ASA considered the scene the complainants were concerned about, which showed one of the males crouched down, with a female straddling his lap while he touched her breasts and another female touched his shoulders, was overtly sexual. We noted, however, there was no explicit sexual content in the ad and that the scene was very brief. Although we considered the ad was briefly overtly sexual and acknowledged it might therefore be distasteful to some, we considered that, in the context of marketing for perfume and if appropriately scheduled, the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to most viewers.

On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule  4.2 4.2 Advertisements must not cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards.  (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

2. Upheld

We considered the scene the complainants were concerned about was overtly sexual and, although brief, therefore unsuitable for young children. We disagreed that the previous ad Coty referred to visibly included the same scene. We noted the ad complained about had no timing restriction and that it was therefore likely to be seen by children. While we acknowledged Coty's comment that the ad had not been scheduled in or around programmes of particular appeal to children, we were concerned that some complainants reported having seen it during family films. Nevertheless, we considered the overtly sexual nature of the scene in question meant the ad was inappropriately scheduled and an ex-kids restriction should have been applied to prevent the ad from being broadcast in or around children's programming. We concluded that the ad breached the Code.

On this point, the ad breached BCAP Code rules  4.1 4.1 Advertisements must contain nothing that could cause physical, mental, moral or social harm to persons under the age of 18.  (Harm and offence),  5.1 5.1 Advertisements that are suitable for older children but could distress younger children must be sensitively scheduled (see Section 32: Scheduling).
 (Children) and  32.1 32.1 Broadcasters must exercise responsible judgement on the scheduling of advertisements and operate internal systems capable of identifying and avoiding unsuitable juxtapositions between advertising material and programmes, especially those that could distress or offend viewers or listeners.  and  32.3 32.3 Relevant timing restrictions must be applied to advertisements that, through their content, might harm or distress children of particular ages or that are otherwise unsuitable for them.  (Scheduling).


The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form in or around programmes of particular appeal to children.


4.1     4.2     5.1     32.1     32.3    

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