ASA – Death of the Ads?

I am certainly not an every day advertising viewer, but when I do watch programmes that feature commercials, I rather enjoy the good, the bad and the ugly. Having (a long time ago) studied advertising and art direction myself, it is still a bit of a secret passion of mine so I like to remember our crits at Central St Martins taking apart the latest TV and movie ads and separating the ‘death by committee’ ones from the ‘created by a genius’ ones.
I guess we could have introduced another category – Death by ASA (or selected UK complainers).
So, here is a small selection of recent(ish) ASA victims. Does being forced to be ‘pc’ take the spice out of being creative? It certainly adds some strange flavours!
Vauxhall Lifetime Warranty
“The ASA requested that a small number of amendments to the advertising creative should be made to clarify the terms and conditions. In line with this ruling, the Vauxhall Lifetime Warranty Advertising creative was amended in line with ASA recommendations prior to Christmas and this very successful campaign continues to run on all media platforms.”
Well, I wonder how Bill Nighey reacted when he was asked to re-record those lines to conform with ASA guidelines. I can almost hear a smirk in his voice. Probably just me…
Ladbrokes Shark Ad
Another one that got the chop was this Ladbrokes betting ad. You can read about the tragedy of this award-winning ad here.
“We believe the ads are compliant as they are funny, humorous ads and no-one would aspire to the reckless behaviour seen in the ad, because it is so ludicrous. ”
Cactus Kid advert
32 complaints halted the commercials for Oasis fruit drink because they are “offensive” and “irresponsible”. Viewers complained the adverts condoned teenage pregnancy and under-age sex. The BBC article can be read here.
Spot a Ginger in the Dark

Virgin media ad banned by ASA
ASA sees Red of Ginger advert by Virgin Media

I missed these and I can only find the press ad or still – if anyone has the video, please let me know! The Guardian article features a shot from the campaign that was deemed insulting to red haired people.
An Oldie – Mr Kipling “nativity”…
The old BBC article describes the issues surrounding a Mr Kipling ad back in 2005.
More than 800 people objected to the advert for Mr Kipling which Christians claimed mocked the birth of Jesus.
And a Newbie…
Last week, the ASA banned the latest ads from Loreal due to too much photoshop work. This one is certainly not a funny one as such – or a creative one – but more of a political controversy with MP Jo Swinson making a stand for the rest of us wrinkly ageing beings…
Loreal Ad banned
Brushed up a bit too much for the UK public

So here goes a short collection of more or less funny banned adverts. And I didn’t include the most complained about ad in 2010 (the one with the blind footballers and that poor cat) simply because whilst no animals were harmed, it does make me wince…
Would I have complained about any of them? Not really. Do the work for the brands? We’ll never know – but they have certainly got the publicity banned or not…


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