A TV ad for condoms featured an animated black and white cartoon of a male and a female, whose images became colourful and real and less animated as they kissed and as the woman touched the man's chest and the man touched the woman's back. The voice-over stated, "Real Feel. The first natural feeling condom from Durex". On-screen text stated "Love sex. Durex".
Seven complainants, who saw the ad during 'You've been Framed!" on 13 May at 7.45 pm, objected that the ad had been inappropriately scheduled during a programme that was likely to have a significant appeal to children.
ITV Broadcasting Ltd said that it continually monitored the programme schedule, including that of You've been Framed!, on a monthly/weekly basis in line with their established and documented procedures. They said that none of the child indexes (based on average figures for the month preceding the ad complained about) were at or above 120 and that if it had been, they would have restricted the programme following their post-billing weekly analysis meeting. They also provided the raw data of viewers over an 8-week analysis of You've Been Framed and said that there was volatility of viewing data within the context of relatively small audiences. They said this was exacerbated by the fact that relatively small rises in the absolute numbers of child viewers resulted in step-up in the index.
RB UK Commercial Ltd said that the ad had been approved by Clearcast with scheduling restrictions meaning that the ad was required to be transmitted after 7.30 pm. They said this restriction included the lesser ex-kids scheduling restriction. They said that they relied on the broadcaster to schedule the ads in accordance with the restrictions given by Clearcast.
Clearcast said that the tone of the ad required more than the ex-kids restriction dictated by the BCAP code for advertising condoms and that they considered a 7.30 pm timing restriction was also appropriate. They believed that the partial animated style of this campaign helped reduce the impact of the visuals and that the tone was moderate in comparison to other Durex campaigns that they had cleared with post 9 pm and 11 pm timing restrictions. They said that although the couple were undressing, they retained their underwear and apart from the very brief shot of the women on top of the man the ad largely depicted the couple kissing. On this basis they felt that a 7.30 pm timing restriction would be appropriate scheduling for this advert.
Whilst the ad was not explicit, the ASA noted the images did imply a sexual relationship and therefore considered that, in additional to the existing BCAP restriction that condom ads are not permitted to be broadcast around programmes that are likely to be particularly attractive to those under 10 years of age,, the ex-kids and the post 7.30 pm restriction that had been given by Clearcast was appropriate.
When considering whether the ex-kids and post 7.30 pm Clearcast scheduling restrictions had been appropriately applied, we examined the viewing figures for You’ve Been Framed in the four weeks prior to the broadcast complained about. We noted that the index for children (aged 4−15 years) demonstrated a mean average index of 99, which was comfortably below the 120 index threshold. Furthermore, we noted only 10% (two out of 20 broadcasts) exceeded the 120 index for that measure. We therefore considered that although data showed that on a few occasions the 120 index was exceeded, in the month-long period prior to broadcast on 13 May, the percentage of children watching was relatively low and within an appropriate threshold. We therefore considered that the ad had not been scheduled for broadcast during a programme that would have a significant appeal to children overall.
When considering the specific restriction on condom advertising, we noted the BCAP Code required that ads for condoms should not to be advertised in, or adjacent to, programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal particularly to children under 10 years. Based on the four weeks prior to the broadcast complained about, the mean average index for the 4−9 children's category was 110, which was comfortably below the 120 index threshold. However, of the 20 occasions where You’ve Been Framed was broadcast during that month-long period, the 4−-9 index exceeded 120 on 45% (9 of 20) of the occasions on which the programme was broadcast at 7.30 pm. We therefore considered that with regard to the 4−9 children's category, the four-week data on which the scheduling decision was made demonstrated that in a significant number of instances, the index had exceeded the 120 index threshold and therefore concluded that the scheduling Code rule specific to condoms had been breached.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 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 - under 18) but did not find it in breach.
The ad breached BCAP Code rule 32.6 32.6 These products may not be advertised in or adjacent to programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal particularly to children below the age of 10: (Scheduling - condoms).
We told ITV Broadcasting Ltd to take care when scheduling condom ads around You’ve Been Framed!.