ITV and thelondonpaper ‘bitch’ ads spark wave of compaints

Thelondonpaper, the News International-owned afternoon freesheet, and ITV have triggered a wave of complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority after running a wrap-around advert that repeatedly used the word bitch.

The advert, which promoted ITV2 show WAGS Boutique, was designed to look like the front and back of a normal edition of the freesheet. The first page was headlined ‘Bitch’ in large type, with a series of dummy stories beneath, all of which consisted of the word ‘bitch’ repeated to fill the space.

The following pages of the wrap-around carried information about the show, in which teams of footballers’ wives compete with each other to run boutiques on London’s Marshall Street, just off Carnaby Street. The campaign was created by ITV’s advertising agency, M&C Saatchi.

An ASA spokesman confirms that the advertising regulator has received a number of complaints from members of the public about the wrap-around, but says that no decision has yet been taken on whether to investigate.

In the past, use of ‘swear words’ in ads has triggered numerous complaints. In 2002, the Pot Noodle “Slag of all snacks” ad was banned after the Independent Television Commission, which was responsible for broadcast advertising at the time, received 310 complaints over the use of the word ‘slag’, making it the most complained about TV ad that year.

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