Ad watchdogs have cleared a pair of Smirnoff vodka ads of charges
of racism and linking alcohol with sex.
The ads - one of which shows a naked woman whose pubic hair is covered
by a map of India, the other featuring naked visitors to an art gallery
- provoked complaints about nudity and claims that the campaign was
offensive to Indians.
But the Advertising Standards Authority, which advised Lowe Howard-Spink
on the content of the ads before they appeared, this week ruled that
their light-hearted approach and tight targeting meant they were
unlikely to cause widespread offence.
The ad featuring the map of India appeared in FHM. FHM admitted that the
ad had attracted complaints and, with hindsight, it should not have
accepted it. Yet IDV UK, Smirnoff’s distributor, said it had
deliberately chosen a Caucasian model so as not to cause offence and
claimed the visual pun was ’discreet and tasteful’.