The outdoor industry is facing calls for a new system of vetting posters
to weed out those likely to cause offence, following the glut of
complaints about poster campaigns in the latest Advertising Standards
Authority report (Campaign, last week).
A number of agencies and poster specialists are warning that the poster
contractors must take responsibility for the nature of the ads they
accept, or risk losing revenue and possibly damaging the credibility of
The warnings come as the ASA has ruled that the latest poster campaign
from Benetton, featuring three human hearts, must be removed from poster
sites around the country. The ASA believes that the ad is too offensive
for such a public medium. Benetton’s press work featuring the same image
will not be affected by the ruling.
However, many believe that the poster industry should take steps to
prevent such controversy by screening ads which could potentially cause
offence. Alan Simmons, the chairman of the outdoor specialist, Concord,
has suggested that poster contractors take a close look at new campaigns
from advertisers who have already been given an ASA warning.
‘The Outdoor Advertising Association should consider the automatic pre-
checking of all ads from those advertisers who have received warnings
from the ASA in the past and should ensure that its members do not pass
‘offensive’ material,’ he said.