ASA gives Gossard ads green light despite public outcry over ‘sexism’

The Advertising Standards Authority has refused to ban a poster ad for Gossard’s see-through underwear range despite an overwhelming number of complaints.

A total of 33 people – an exceptionally high number – objected to the ad for the “Glossies” range through Abbott Mead Vickers. BBDO, which showed a young woman wearing a translucent black bra and carried the headline: “If I want something rough on my chest I’ll find a man.”

The complainants claimed the ad was sexist and offensive, but after the advertiser had argued it was an amusing treatment portraying the model as confident and in control, the ASA ruled that the ad was “unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence”.

Its ruling is in line with an earlier decision not to ban a Gossard poster featuring a reclining model dressed in bra and pants, or the Wonderbra poster campaign.

This month’s ASA report also includes criticism of Mercury Communications, which masqueraded as its rival BT with a mailing through Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel using BT-style lettering on the envelope. Mercury was rapped for capitalising on the goodwill attached to the BT name, and was also criticised for running a press advertisement which claimed it offered cheaper telephone prices to Australia and New Zealand than BT – a claim which the ASA ruled was misleading.

Complaints against two car manufacturers were upheld for running advertising which encouraged irresponsible driving at excessive speed.

Citroë UK was told to pull two print ads through EURO RSCG Wnek Gosper for the Saxo VTS, one of which had a piece of toilet tissue attached to the page and the line: “Giving you a positively sphincter twitching 0-60 in 7.2 secs. We are not talking bog standard car here.”

A press and poster advertisement for the Nissan Primera GT through TBWA Simons Palmer also had to be amended to avoid implying parallels between a racing car and on-road driving.

The ASA upheld a complaint about a press advertisement for

Val de Loire wines through Interfocus, which showed a couple drinking wine and sitting in a rowing boat on a river. Under the terms of the British Codes of Advertising and Sales Promotion, advertisers should not associate drinking with a water-related activity.

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