Ad description

A website which sold gifts and cards,, featured a mug product with the words "World's Greatest Dad' on it. The mug also included an image of Josef Fritzl.


The complainant challenged whether the image of Josef Fritzl alongside the text "World's Greatest Dad" was offensive.


Zazzle Inc did not response to the ASA's enquiries.



The ASA was concerned by Zazzle Inc's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule  1.7 1.7 Any unreasonable delay in responding to the ASA's enquiries will normally be considered a breach of the Code.  (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to respond promptly to our enquiries and told them to do so in the future.

We noted the product was navigated to via the humour section of the personalised product website, but noted the product was not otherwise targeted. We considered that the juxtaposition of the image of Josef Fritzl next to the words "World's Greatest Dad" made light of the widely reported incidents of sexual and physical abuse of his daughter and therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious and widespread offence.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule  4.1 4.1 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 should not appear again in its current form.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

1.7     4.1    

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