ASA rebukes TBWA for going ‘one humungous fcuk’ too far

Fashion retail chain French Connection has had its knuckles rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for the second time over the use of its trademark “fcuk” in an advertising campaign.

Press ads for the company’s new Oxford Street store, created by TBWA/London and headed “World’s biggest fcuk”, flouted an ASA ruling made two years ago which ordered the retailer not to use “fcuk” in ads if it could be interpreted as an expletive.

The ASA, which in 1998 banned the slogans “fcuk advertising” and “fcuk fashion”, said the ads – featuring the phrases “tomorrow see the arrival of the fcuk of your dreams” and “fcuk Oxford Street. One humungous fcuk” – were likely to cause “serious or widespread offence.”

– A complaint about press ads for Forbes magazine, made by Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO on behalf of the Economist magazine, was also upheld in this month’s ASA report.

The agency said the ads, created by Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners, which implied that more Forbes readers than Economist readers were in senior management or travelled first class on long-haul flights, were derogatory because they did not make clear that the Economist has more readers than its rival.

The monthly report also revealed that the ASA upheld a complaint by the Countryside Alliance Campaign about an ad from The League Against Cruel Sports.

The ASA agreed that a leaflet, claiming that coursing had contributed to a decline in the hare population, had exaggerated the number of hares killed at coursing events.

The ASA is going digital and ditching its monthly report. As of January 17, the outcome of the ASA’s investigations will be posted weekly on its redesigned website. A hard-copy report, containing topical editorial and a list of cases published on the website, will be issued every two months.

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