ASA rejects complaints about BOL ad

A poster showing a naked couple who appear to enjoy reading books over having sex has been given the all-clear by advertising watchdogs - despite attracting the most complaints for any ad in almost two years.

A poster showing a naked couple who appear to enjoy reading books

over having sex has been given the all-clear by advertising watchdogs -

despite attracting the most complaints for any ad in almost two

years.



The M&C Saatchi ad for BOL.com, the online books retailer, attracted 315

objections to the Advertising Standards Authority that it was

pornographic and unsuitable to be seen by children.



But in a ruling announced this week, the ASA said that because the

couple were clearly reading books and not engaged in sexual activity,

the ad was not offensive.



Nevertheless, the ad goes down as the most controversial since an ad for

the Irn-Bru soft drink, which provoked 589 complaints in August

1998.



That ad featured a cow and was captioned: ’When I’m a burger, I want to

be washed down with Irn Bru.’



The ASA has also cleared the History Channel of offensive advertising

with a poster featuring the Auschwitz gas ovens and asking: ’So history

is bunk is it?’



It ruled that the poster, the work of the former Publicis creative

director, Barry Smith, and the art director, Gary Denholm, was

acceptable to promote an educational channel.



Meanwhile, Barnardo’s, which has recently created a furore over an ad

showing a baby about to inject heroin, has been cleared by the ASA of

charges of irresponsibility for a previous Bartle Bogle Hegarty ad in

which a child appears to be about to kill himself by stepping off a

building.



The ASA rejected complaints that the ad might influence other children

to copy the child depicted. The organisation is also investigating 22

claims that the baby ad, which a number of newspapers refused to carry,

is offensive.



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