Two radio ads about rape prevention heard on Radio Clyde and West FM:
a. In one ad a male voice-over stated, "Sometimes I think there's a culture of ‘oh yeah, I'm gonna go out and get smashed and then all the girls will be smashed as well and it'll be easier to pick someone up’. And I think that if it was introduced that even that idea on its own is wrong, then that might help. Peer pressure can be used to good effect." A second male voice-over stated, "It's up to you to know the law about rape. For more information see wecanstopit.co.uk. Sex without consent is rape. We can stop it. Police Scotland, keeping people safe."
b. A second ad with a different male voice-over stated, "You have to kind of remember that this isn't just a girl issue, it's a guy issue. Just 'cause someone says yes once, doesn't mean they're gonna say yes all the time. You need to make sure that you are totally clear that the other person does consent to sex. I mean if they're not then you're breaking the law and this is rape." A second male voice-over stated, "It's up to you to know the law about rape. For more information see wecanstopit.co.uk. Sex without consent is rape. We can stop it. Police Scotland, keeping people safe."
Two complainants, who reported hearing the ads during the school run and other times when children could have been listening, challenged whether the ads had been appropriately scheduled, because they believed it was irresponsible to make references to sex and rape at times when they could be heard by children.
Bauer Media stated that they created the ads in a highly responsible manner which did not sensationalise the serious topic of rape, which had shown an increase in Scotland, and that they considered themselves a responsible broadcaster with a moral duty to inform their listeners about the topic. Bauer Media stated their belief that, rather than causing harm to children, the style in which the ads were written might encourage questions from younger people. While they acknowledged that some people may find answering these questions uncomfortable, they could nonetheless be answered in a responsible way by an adult. They considered that offence was more likely to be taken by an adult.
Bauer Media also stated that the average age of listeners to the stations on which the ads were heard were 42 and 45, and that the programming content was not targeted at children. They provided data demonstrating that 88% and 98% of the radio stations' Breakfast audience and 89% and 92% of the Drivetime audience were over 18.
Bauer Media stated their belief that there was nothing in the ads which could cause harm or distress to a child under 16, and that the ads had not been prepared in a way designed to frighten children. They considered it just as likely that a child would ask what "smashed" meant as they would to ask about "rape". They provided data showing that the percentage of under-16s in the audience for both stations was 1% and 8% for Breakfast, and 8% and 11% for Drivetime, and that these numbers were not significant.
Bauer Media stated that the stations in question broadcast school-run related content between 08:00 and 09:00, but that these were aired in the middle of editorial sections. They stated that there would always be at least one record, one sponsorship or promotional trail and other editorial between the school run feature and any ad breaks, which they considered provided suitable separation. They also stated that under-16s listened to one station for an average of 38 minutes during the breakfast slot, and the other for 10, and that only a small proportion of this small number of listeners would have had a chance of hearing the ad.
The ASA noted that the ad referred clearly to rape and the need for consent before sex and acknowledged that, although the presentation of the ad was factual and not graphic or explicit, parents may be uncomfortable with these issues being raised while travelling with their children. However, we noted that the audience figures provided by Bauer Media demonstrated that the proportion of under-16s listening during Breakfast and Drivetime slots was as low as 1% and only as high as 11%. Although we understood that both stations had school-themed content during the breakfast slot, we noted that they still had very low proportions of children in the audience and that the elements of the editorial sections which were likely to appeal specifically to children were separated from the ad breaks by a number of other features. In light of the information provided, we considered that the broadcaster had not targeted the ads toward children or scheduled them at times when children were particularly likely to be listening to the stations in question. We therefore concluded that the ads had not been irresponsibly or inappropriately scheduled.
We investigated the ads under BCAP Code rules 1.2 1.2 Advertisements must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to the audience and to society. (Social Responsibility), 4.1 4.1 Advertisements must contain nothing that could cause physical, mental, moral or social harm to persons under the age of 18. (Harm and Offence) 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 of Television and Radio Advertisements), but did not find them in breach.
Not further action required.