A post on the Facebook page of Man Savings, a discount menswear company, seen on 18 November 2016, featured a photo of a woman raising her fist and standing over a man, who was covering his face with his hands. Text stated “Stop looking at Adidas trainers. Why can’t you look at porn like a normal husband?”.
The complainant, who believed the ad trivialised domestic violence, challenged whether it was offensive and irresponsible.
Man Savings failed to respond to the ASA’s enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by Man Savings’ 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 response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
We noted that the woman appeared to be threatening to hit the man, and the couple was shown in a realistic domestic setting. While we acknowledged that the post was intended to be humorous, we considered that the combination of the image and the text trivialised the serious and sensitive subject of domestic violence in a way that was irresponsible and likely to cause serious and widespread offence. We therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society.
(Social responsibility) and
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 race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. 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. (Harm and offence).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Man Savings not to use images that were socially irresponsible or likely to cause offence in their advertising. We referred Man Savings to CAP’s Compliance team.