Advertising watchdogs have refused to ban Gossard’s latest raunchy ad -
but pressure is growing on Britain’s poster industry to agree a set of
ground rules to prevent more damaging controversies.
One idea is for a soccer-style red and yellow card system to stop
maverick advertisers from flouting the regulations and gaining free
The suggestion comes a week before the Committee of Advertising Practice
meets to discuss suggestions from a working group set up six months ago
to investigate how the ad industry could tighten up its rules on taste
and decency and protect the self-regulatory system.
The Advertising Standards Authority has become alarmed that the high-
profile poster sector is the only medium without a universally agreed
pre-vetting system. It fears the lack of such a system leaves the
industry vulnerable to attack when contentious posters appear.
But the ASA has thrown out complaints against a Gossard Glossies poster
created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, which features a girl reclining in
her bra and pants.
Bill Lennon, an ASA executive, said the 800 complaints had largely been
fuelled by an article written by the Daily Mail columnist, Lynda Lee-
Potter, and that its ruling was consistent with an earlier refusal to
ban TBWA’s Wonderbra ads.
Meanwhile, Alan Simmons, chairman of the poster specialist, Concord, is
urging the Outdoor Advertising Association to work with the ASA to
establish a committee of poster contractor representatives to administer
a pre-vetting scheme.
Under his plan, advertisers with ASA rulings against them within the
previous year would get a ‘yellow card’ and would have to submit all
copy for prior clearance to the committee. Advertisers failing to clear
the pre-vetting hurdle would get a ‘red card’ and contractors would
refuse to display their posters.