Summary of Council decision:

Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.

Ad description

Two posters for the PURE Dating App, seen in March 2024:

a. The poster depicted four images of cartoon style heads, next to text that stated, “IT’S A GOOD DAY TO GET SOME HEAD” and “ON PURE DATING APP” followed by a QR code.

b. The poster depicted a cartoon head of a princess, next to text that stated, “DON’T PLAY WITH MY EMOTION, PLAY WITH MY” followed by a cartoon image of a clamshell. Further text stated “ON PURE DATING APP” followed by a QR code.


The complainants, who understood the ads contained implied sexual references and were displayed near two schools, challenged whether they were:

1. offensive; and

2. inappropriate for display in an untargeted medium where they could be seen by children.


1. Online Classifieds AG t/a PURE dating believed the complainants’ interpretation of the ads complaints was exaggerated and unfounded. The ads used playful, yet ambiguous language and imagery, including cartoon-style graphics and indirect references, which allowed consumers to interpret them according to their own perceptions and perspectives. They said the text was crafted with humour and innuendo in mind and aimed to engage consumers’ imaginations in a playful manner, while ensuring no explicit content or direct references were used.

2. PURE dating explained that the locations had been chosen by the billboard owners, BUILDHOLLYWOOD Ltd. They said the campaign was intended for display in designated spaces where the audience would expect to encounter this sort of content. The ads were not meant for general public areas frequented by children. They were not informed of the specific location of the posters or made aware of their proximity to schools and had they been aware, those locations would not have been approved. Notwithstanding that, they said the humorous language in the ads had been deliberately crafted to be misunderstood by children, ensuring that only the intended adult audience would grasp the underlying references.

BUILDHOLLYWOOD Ltd said that due to the amusing tone of the design, they had believed the ads were acceptable for general display. However, they now understood that the ads had been placed close to schools which might not have been acceptable. They said they were reviewing their internal systems to ensure similar ads were placed appropriately in future, such as ensuring some posters were not placed close to schools. They had not received any complaints about the ads.


1. & 2. UpheldAd

(a) contained an image of four cartoon-style heads alongside text stating, “It’s a good day to get some head on Pure Dating app”. The ASA considered that, in that context, people would be likely to interpret “GET SOME HEAD” as slang for oral sex and would understand that the ad was suggesting oral sex could be obtained by accessing the Pure dating app. We considered such a reference was overtly sexual.Ad

(b) contained an image of the head of a cartoon princess next to text stating, “DON’T PLAY WITH MY EMOTION, PLAY WITH MY” followed by a cartoon image of a clamshell. We understood that “clam” was commonly used as slang for female genitalia. We therefore considered that, in the context of an ad for a dating app, consumers were likely to understand the text to be sexual innuendo alluding to playing with female genitalia and that the ad was suggesting it could be sourced on the Pure Dating app.

We recognised that there would be some people who were not familiar with the slang meaning of “clam” or had not recognised the cartoon to be a clamshell. However, in the context of an ad for a dating app, we considered they would nonetheless assume the cartoon picture was a reference to a body part and was sexual in nature.

We therefore considered the reference was overtly sexual.The ads were displayed in outdoor poster sites in London in an untargeted medium and where the ads were likely to be seen by large numbers of people, including under 18s. We understood that ad (a) was less than 100 metres from the nearest school. We considered that while younger children were likely to be unaware of what the wording and images meant, older children were likely to have greater awareness of the sexual references in the ads.

We considered that, because the references in the ads were overtly sexual and were displayed in an untargeted medium where they had the potential to be seen by a large number of people, including children, they were likely to cause widespread offence and were irresponsible. We concluded that the ads therefore breached the Code.

The ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).


The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Online Classifieds AG t/a Pure dating to ensure that future advertising in outdoor media did not contain overtly sexual themes and to avoid causing widespread offence.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

1.3     4.1     22.8    

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