A paid-for Twitter ad, from “King’s Throne: Game of Conquest” @playKingsThrone for the King’s Throne: Royal Delights app, seen on 29 July 2022, featured an animation of two women wearing lingerie standing next to missing letter quizzes. One quiz displayed the letters “D_CK”, with the letters “O”, “U”, “I” and “E” underneath, and a hand hovering over the letters to select one. In another the quiz displayed the letters “_I_S” and the options “TITS”, “RIVS”, “TIPS” and “LIPS” appeared underneath with a hand hovering over to select an answer.
The complainant, who believed the ad stereotyped, objectified and demeaned women, challenged whether it was irresponsible, offensive and promoted harmful gender stereotypes.
GOAT Company Ltd said that the ad was stopped after a few days and would not be used again in future.
Twitter said that the account was not able to run any ads at the present time, due to violation of their policies.
The ad depicted an animation of two women next to missing quiz letters. They were both shown in lingerie and posed in a sexual way. The first women had one hand over her breasts and the other on her crotch. The second woman was shown in one of the shots with her finger over lips.
The nature of the quiz itself was also sexual. One displayed the letters “D_CK”, with the letters “O”, “U”, “I” and “E” underneath, and a hand hovering over the letters to select one. We considered that those who saw the ad would see this as a reference to the word “DICK”. In another the quiz displayed the letters “_I_S” and the options “TITS”, “RIVS”, “TIPS” and “LIPS” appeared underneath with a hand hovering over to select an answer. We considered that those who saw the ad would understand the ad as emphasising “TITS” and “LIPS” as the ‘answers’.
We considered that the ad portrayed the two women as stereotypical sexual objects for the purposes of titillating those who saw it. The references to “conquest” and “Royal Delights” in the names of the games further emphasised that.
We concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, included a gender stereotype in a way that was likely to cause harm and was socially irresponsible.
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 4.9 4.9 Marketing communications must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence.
See Advertising Guidance: “Depicting gender stereotypes likely to cause harm or serious or widespread offence?” (Harm and offence).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told GOAT Company Ltd to ensure that their ads were socially responsible and did not cause serious or widespread offence, including by featuring a harmful gender stereotype by objectifying women.