Summary of Council decision:
Three issues were investigated, of which two were Upheld and one Not upheld.
A TV ad for a mobile app, "Nude Scanner 3D", shown during six episodes of Hollyoaks. The ad showed a clothed woman holding an umbrella. A hand appeared which held a mobile phone. The phone then 'scanned' the woman which revealed her naked with her breasts and crotch blurred out. The naked image then rotated, showing the woman from the waist up. The voice-over stated, "The 3D nude scanner is available for your mobile. Prank your friends to think you can see what any of them look like without clothes on. Just send scan to xx xxx to get the fun app now. Or also go to xxxxxxx.co.uk and join Jamster action for £4.50 per week." On-screen text stated "For entertainment purposes only ... 16+, Bill payer's permission".
The ad was cleared by Clearcast with an ex-kids restriction.
Twenty-six viewers complained about the ad:
1. Twenty-one viewers challenged whether the ad was appropriately scheduled because it was shown at times when it could be seen by children, including young teenagers.
2. Seven viewers, some of whom stated that the ad was demeaning to women, challenged whether the ad would cause serious or widespread offence.
3. Seven viewers challenged whether the ad could encourage anti-social behaviour.
1. ‒ 3. Jesta Digital GmbH t/a Jamster said that after they had received complaints they ceased broadcasting the ad. They said the ad was cleared by Clearcast with an ex-kids restriction, which prevented it from being broadcast within children's programmes. Furthermore, they considered the programmes during which the ad was viewed had not targeted children.
Clearcast said great consideration was taken when approving the ad to ensure appropriate scheduling away from children, accurate visuals and overall acceptability. They said the advertiser confirmed that the user would not view fully nude images and there would be two options, a pixelated model and an underwear model. Clearcast said the ad contained a voice-over that said it could be used for "pranking" friends. They said this was also accompanied with on-screen text "For entertainment purposes only ...". They said those over the age of 16 would have understood from the voice-over and visuals that it was a joke application and that nobody would actually be scanned. They said the visuals were no more risqué than underwear ads or music video trailers. They said there was nothing in the ad that condoned or promoted an unwanted scan, or that the focus of the scan was demeaning or that it ridiculed women.
1. & 2. Upheld
The ASA welcomed Jamster's assurance that the ad had been removed from broadcast. We noted the ad featured a naked woman, with her breasts and crotch pixilated, who rotated in order to show her front and back. We acknowledged that the models featured on the app would not be shown fully naked, that the voice-over contained one reference to "pranking" and that on-screen text stated "for entertainment purposes only". However, we considered that viewers may have assumed that the image would be fully nude because the ad had not made that clear. We also noted the visual of the woman was held on-screen for the majority of the ad and that she appeared in a playful and provocative pose. Because the ad focused on the product's apparent ability to enable the user to view naked images of women using the camera on their phone, and had a prolonged focus on the female model, we considered it was unsuitable for a child audience and was likely to be viewed as demeaning to women and, therefore, offensive.
We acknowledged the ex-kids restriction that was applied to the ad which meant that it should not be shown during programmes that were likely to be of particular appeal to children. We obtained the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB) figures and noted that the proportion of children who had watched Hollyoaks during the times when the ad was viewed by the complainants was, on two occasions, above the threshold at which a TV programme was said to have particular appeal to audiences who were under 16 years of age. Furthermore, on those broadcasts and on one other broadcast, the threshold of children between the ages of 10 and 15 who had viewed Hollyoaks was also above that threshold. We considered that whilst younger children may not understand the references to a 'nude scanner', that was unlikely to be the case for older children and we considered them to be the group most likely to have been interested in downloading the app.
Because the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, we concluded it should not have been broadcast at any time, including during programmes of particular appeal to children.
On these points, 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. and 4.2 4.2 Advertisements must not cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards. (Harm and offence) 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. (Scheduling of television and radio advertisements) 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. (Under-16s).
3. Not upheld
We noted the ad had not contained language or on-screen text that encouraged the app to be downloaded to make fun or humiliate others. Whilst we considered the ad to be demeaning to women and unsuitable for children, and acknowledged that some viewers might find the product distasteful, we concluded that the ad itself was unlikely to condone or encourage bullying or anti-social behaviour.
On this point we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 1.2 1.2 Advertisements must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to the audience and to society. (Responsible advertising) 4.9 4.9 Advertisements must not condone or encourage violence, crime, disorder or anti-social behaviour. (Harm and offence) and 5.4 5.4 Advertisements must not condone or encourage bullying. (Children) but did not find it in breach.
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Jesta Digital GmbH to ensure their future advertising was not demeaning to women and contained nothing that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.