ASA berates Benetton over ‘hearts’ posters

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld complaints against the new poster campaign for Benetton, and condemned it for causing “widespread and serious offence”.

The poster shows three hearts, possibly human, with the words “black, white, yellow” written underneath them. The ASA has received around 50 complaints about the ads, and will ask Benetton to take the posters down.

The authority also criticised Benetton for running the campaign without consulting the ASA copy advice team.

However, the ASA says the ads will be able to run in style and youth magazines “with a young and broad-minded readership”.

An ASA spokesman comments: “We consider the poster cam paign unacceptable. We are concerned that advertisers are not matching their messages with the mediums they use.”

The posters have already been banned from London Underground stations by London Transport managers who believed commuters would be shocked by the creative treatment.

In a separate development, Labour Party consumer affairs spokesman Nigel Griffiths says he has written to the ASA criticising Carlsberg-Tetley’s Lemonhead alcoholic lemon drink.

Griffiths has attacked the use of the name, which is the same as that of a rock group.

He says: “I’ve complained that the name mirrors that of the Lemonheads. I am concerned that marketing of alco-pops is using techniques that contradict the ASA code on marketing alcohol to under-age drinkers.”

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