The advert launched earlier this year to promote a Radioshack offer for customers to download an exclusive remix of the summer single when they purchased the Beats Pill speaker. The 30-second TV spot paid homage to the infamous video, which was criticised by some protesters for being sexist earlier this year, by featuring Thicke alongside three models playing with the speaker.
It sparked 97 complainants from viewers concerned that the ad objectified women, featured models who were irresponsibly thin and was broadcast at a time when children would be watching the “overtly sexual” imagery.
Beats defended the advert claiming the media inventory for it had been bought with its target 16 to 34 year-old shopper in mind. It added that any “mild and light-hearted” innuendo around the phallus-shaped speaker would not have been picked up children.
The ASA concluded the TV spot was was intended to be “playful and comic” and did not show any “sustained” or “overt” provocative behaviour. It did, however, rule the inclusion of a number of sexually suggestive scenes throughout the ad meant it must not be broadcast again before 7.30pm.
It is not the first time Beats’ marketing has come under scrutiny. Last year, the headphone maker fell foul of London 2012 brand police after it ambushed the event by handing out headphones to competing athletes who went on to wear them on TV.