French Connection’s corporate identity “fcuk”, already emblazoned across tens of thousands of T-shirts and in shop windows, faces the chop from its advertising because it can be misread.
The Advertising Standards Authority, which this month upheld complaints about the retailer’s ad campaign for the second time, has banned the slogan so long as it continues to cause offence.
An ASA spokesman says: “They can use “fcuk” as long as it won’t be misread as fuck.
“The ASA has no intention of preventing a company from using its registered trademark, but it has every intention of preventing people from being offended when they read it.”
French Connection has registered its identity (described as an acronym of French Connection UK) as a trademark, which the company argues must make it acceptable. So far 85,000 T-shirts have been sold bearing the letters.
The company’s latest advertising campaign, devised by GGT creative director Trevor Beattie, ran in Marie Claire and on posters. The magazine ad showed a model’s head and the headline “fcuk advertising” with a trademark icon and the strapline “fcuk is a trademark of French Connection UK”.
The poster ad featured a picture of a model with the word “fcuk” to her left, with the letters separated by dots, and the word “advertising” to her right.
The ASA ruled that both ads could still be read as “fuck advertising”, and that it brought advertising into disrepute.
French Connection is planning new poster ads for the spring, but a spokeswoman refuses to reveal whether the ads will feature the “fcuk” slogan.