ASA rules in favour of Robbie Williams in Mars bar row

Pop star Robbie Williams has clashed with Mars UK over a millennium competition promoting the Mars bar which offered VIP tickets to see the singer in concert.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint by Williams’ solicitors Harbottle and Lewis over a national press ad for the contest.

The ASA found that although the competition ran until December 31, it was only possible to see Williams in concert until September 17.

However, complaints that Williams’ picture had been used without permission and that the ad could have jeopardised negotiations he was having with a rival confectionery company, were not upheld.

Williams also features elsewhere in the ASA’s monthly report, in a complaint about a newspaper insert devised by Explosive for Heat magazine advertising a “Celebrity Sex” supplement. The insert asks “Who was Robbie with last night?”. The insert was carried in The Guardian, The Times, The Independent and The Radio Times.

The ASA has asked EMAP Metro to take more care when placing ads of a sexual nature, which could be seen by children, following ten complaints from the public.

However, it ruled that the reference to Williams was not offensive because it was ambiguous enough to be interpreted in different ways.


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