A provocative print ad for Marc Jacobs perfume featuring seventeen-year-old actress Dakota Fanning has been banned following complaints that it sexualised children. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK has outlawed a number of adverts in the past year, variously deemed likely to scare children, encourage underage drinking, promote irresponsible driving and for making misleading claims.
Here are the top five banned ads from 2011 that have ruffled more feathers than a chicken farmer.
CREDIT: Marc Jacobs ‘Oh, Lola!’ ad (2011)
The banned magazine campaign featured Dakota Fanning wearing a short skirt and holding a bottle of Marc Jacobs perfume in what the advertising regulator deemed a ‘sexually provocative’ position between her legs. Talk about bad product placement.
CREDIT: Brink poster (2011)
A poster for the video game Brink showed a man with his face painted black and white and he appeared to be screaming. The ad appeared in ‘an untargeted medium’, on telephone boxes and bus shelters, and a number of complainants reported that their young children had been frightened. I don’t know about children but he certainly frightens me.
Encouraging Underage Drinking
- [yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nefyeGMfkN0′]
A black and white television ad for Kopparberg cider showed people walking into an underground nightclub, and inside dancing to music in slow motion amid flashing lights. Text projected on the wall of the club stated ‘Find the crowd who think every night is Friday night’. The regulator deemed that ‘a hidden venue where people were dancing to live music was likely to be seen as particularly attractive by viewers under eighteen’. Every night is Friday night? Sounds exhausting.
Promoting Irresponsible Driving
CREDIT: Yahoo login screen (2011)
An ad on a Yahoo login screen was headed ‘Faster is Funner’ and pictured two women in a convertible sports car, the passing scenery blurred. The regulator concluded that ‘the combination of the headline and the image portrayed speed in a way that might encourage motorists to drive irresponsibly’. Fair point, but I generally don’t take driving tips from a search engine (I do, however, from 1. Wacky Races. 2. Jeremy Clarkson. 3. Vin Diesel).
Two TV ads for a Motorola mobile phone showed the phone being dropped in a nightclub and splashed at a pool party. The regulator stated that because they had ‘not seen evidence that dropping the (phone) from the height shown in the ads would not damage the phone, (they) concluded that the ads misleadingly exaggerated the performance of the product’. I started writing this article on my laptop. Then I got curious about the height you could drop it from… The answer: not very high.
A common theme with these banned ads is the importance of timing and placement – the Brink poster in a gaming magazine works like gangbusters, and the Dakota Fanning image in a year’s time raises not a solitary eyebrow – as well as other subtle variations (is an overground club more acceptable than an underground one?). Then of course there are adverts that will go down like a lead balloon whenever and wherever they appear.
By Mark Wright (Assistant Editor)