Accurist "Put some weight on" ad condemned as irresponsible

LONDON - Accurist, the watch manufacturer, has been condemned as "irresponsible" by the Advertising Standards Authority for its "Put some weight on" campaign featuring an emaciated model.

Eighty-three complaints were made to the ASA about the TBWA Simons Palmer national press and poster campaign--showing a watch on the model's skinny upper arm--which was accused of mocking people with eating disorders and portraying being underweight as advisable.

Now the ASA has ruled that the campaign was offensive--and has issued a general warning to advertisers about the use of so-called "superwaifs" at a time when eating disorders were a matter of high public concern.

In its monthly report, the ASA insists it does not want to ban the use of slim models. But it urges advertisers "to be sensitive to the broader messages they are sending out when they use social issues to sell".

Last month Accurist launched a toned-down version of the ad, using the same strapline but swapping the model for a showroom dummy's hand which has broken off because of the weight of the watch.

Meanwhile, Reckitt & Colman has been given the all-clear by the ASA over its controversial poster campaign for Lemsip Powercaps which was accused of playing on people's fears about job insecurity and ignoring medical opinion.

GGT produced the posters, one of which asked "What sort of person goes to work with the flu? The one after your job". The other was headlined "12 hours flu relief. Stop snivelling and get back to work".

The ASA has also thrown out complaints by a tequila producer that a poser campaign for Alka Seltzer XS featuring a sick-looking worm at the bottom of a tequila bottle and carrying the line "When you've had one too many" was a threat to its business.

Jose Cuervo International claimed the Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO poster featured a bottle label which could be mistaken for Jose Cuervo Gold, and implied that tequila was more potent than other alcoholic drinks and that worms were put in the drink.

But Rizla, the cigarette paper maker, has been warned about its future advertising after complaints that a poster encouraged young people to smoke cannabis.

The ad, by CKBT, featured the word "Drawing" above a drawing of a Rizla pack. In one corner was the message "Rizla +. It's what you make of it."

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.