‘Sado-masochistic’ gym leaflet censured by ASA

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a “sado-masochistic” leaflet for a gym from being distributed to commuters.

The leaflet for Gymbox, which was designed by Gymbox and its agency Explosive, depicts a woman in high heels and a corset holding a lead attached to a collar round the neck of a man on his hands and knees with his trousers down. It has the slogan “Fancy a smack?” The ASA said the leaflet, designed to encourage women to take up boxing at the central London gym, was likely to cause offence and was unsuitable for distribution.

The authority released its annual report this week. It showed that non-broadcast complaints fell slightly to 12,711 in 2004, although the internet became the fourth most complained about non-broadcast media, leapfrogging magazine ads.

Two Channel 4 programme ads made it into the top ten most complained about non-broadcast ads of 2004, although both ads were cleared, while a Trojan Condoms campaign was in the top ten for both broadcast and non-broadcast complaints.

The report was the first since the ASA was given responsibility for broadcast advertising by Ofcom. It is understood that the ASA is considering launching a campaign to explain its new services to consumers.

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