ASA bans ad for shower gel after nude complaints

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a TV ad for Natural Source shower gel after viewers complained that the nude model used in the ad appeared to be under 16-years-old and was shown in a sexually provocative manner.

The ad, created by BDH TBWA, opens with a side-on view of a naked girl sitting under a lemon tree. It then focuses on her face as she says/ “Ten real lemons help make one zesty bottle of Original Source shower gel.” The ASA had 29 complaints from viewers that the ad was offensive and inappropriate.

PZ Cussons, which owns Natural Source, and the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC) have both defended the ad. Cussons says it deliberately chose a slim model because it thought people would complain if she was too voluptuous, and adds that her body was mostly concealed.

The company argues that the question of her age was subjective and that her demeanour was confident, not vulnerable. The BACC says the model was ethereal, androgynous and asexual.

Cussons has edited the ad to remove the side-on shot of the nude girl after consumers complained directly to the company. But the ASA considered that some viewers were likely to think the model was a child and consider the ad as a whole to have sexual overtones which were offensive and inappropriate.

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