‘Harmful’ transgender Pot Noodle ad cleared

A Pot Noodle ad featuring a male actor with visible stubble parading as a WAG in a series of dresses, a swimsuit and a tutu has been cleared despite concerns it could encourage discrimination towards transgender people.

The spot spoofed clichéd perfume advertising with star character “Brian”, who was also shown with his legs wide apart on two occasions, explaining how he had married a footballer and created his own fragrance, inspired by the Piri Piri Pot Noodle Flavour.

The ad sparked complaints from viewers claiming it was “harmful” and “condoned and encouraged” discriminatory behaviour towards transgender people.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the spot, in context, made it clear Brian was a “self-identifying man” who sought an easy life achievable through the lifestyle of becoming a WAG.

As a result, the ad watchdog said viewers were likely to interpret the portrayal as “a light-hearted mockery of WAG culture rather than transsexual people” and it was unlikely to cause offence nor did it condone harmful behaviour.

Pot Noodle is no stranger to controversy in its advertising. In August a different spot for its Piri Piri flavour was banned by the regulator, which deemed it “crass and degrading”.

Last year the ASA banned an ad by Paddy Power, which drew 100 complaints, with gay newspaper Pink News saying the spot “dehumanised trans people”.

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