Two national press ads for Luv2Chat, seen in the Sunday Sport on 14 June 2016, promoted adult chat lines:
a. The first ad appeared on an inside page of the paper and featured several images of naked and partially naked women in sexualised poses with their breasts visible. The images were accompanied by phrases such as "They're Huge! Shoot Your Load on my Massive Tits!!” and "Filthy Old Pensioner! Give Quick 30 Second Relief".
b. The second ad appeared on the back page of the paper and featured several images of women, who appeared to be removing their clothing, with their breasts partially visible. The images were accompanied by phrases such as "XXX Sex Stories" and "Filthy Sex Chat with Hot TGirls!".
Not Buying It!, who were concerned that the ads could be seen by children, challenged whether the ads had been irresponsibly placed.
Worldwide Digital Media said that to prohibit the ads from being placed in the newspaper, would be highly selective and restrictive, and would amount to censorship on the UK’s free press.
The Sunday Sport said they regularly ran similar ads in their newspaper, but had never received a complaint directly about their content, and were not aware of any previous complaints to the ASA about children viewing such ads. They believed that their customers would all be aware of the regular sexual content within the newspaper, and therefore believed that the newspaper was a suitable media to display the ads. They said there was nothing within the ads that could reasonably be perceived to target children.
Upheld in relation to ad (b) only.
The ASA noted that the ads contained sexually explicit imagery and text, and therefore required careful placement to ensure that they were not viewed by children. We understood that the Sunday Sport was a paid-for newspaper targeted at adult males, which regularly contained similar ads for adult services alongside editorial content which was comparably sexually explicit. Because the newspaper was not targeted at children, we considered that it was unlikely that ad (a) would be seen by them, and therefore concluded that the ad had not been irresponsibly placed on the inside of the Sunday Sport.
However, because ad (b) appeared on the back page of the publication, we considered that, if the paper was left in public places or around the house, the ad could be seen by children. We also understood that the Sunday Sport was usually displayed in retail stores alongside other newspapers in a readily visible position (as opposed to appearing on the top shelf), and therefore the back page was more likely to be seen inadvertently by children. As such, we were concerned that there was a risk that children would be able to view ad (b), and concluded that the decision to place it on the back page of the Sunday Sport was irresponsible.
Ad (b) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 1.3 Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society. (Social responsibility). We investigated ad (a) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 1.3 Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society. (Social responsibility), but did not find it in breach.
Ad (b) must not appear again on the back page of the Sunday Sport. We told Worldwide Digital Media not to place sexually explicit ads on the back page of publications where they could be seen by children.