Durex lube online ad gives complaints the slip

An online video ad for Durex, the Reckitt Benckiser-owned condom brand, has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), after it received complaints about its sexual content.

The video display ad featured the facial expressions of a number of women who appeared to be experiencing sexual pleasure. According to Reckitt Benckiser the ad was created by McCann Manchester, althought the agency has suggested McCann Milan originally created the ad.

The voiceover stated: "Feel more with Durex Play. Lubricants to add pleasure to every touch."

It then prompted viewers to click on the ad to receive a free sample.

One complainant challenged whether the ad, which appeared on TVGuide.co.uk last May, was offensive due to its sexual nature.

Three other complainants questioned whether the placement of the ad was irresponsible, given that it was a general interest site which could be viewed by children.

In its defence, Reckitt Benckiser said the product and brand were of a sexual nature and therefore its advertising must contain some sexual content but it did not consider it to be explicit or likely to cause widespread offence.

TVGuide told the ASA that the ad had been served by an independent network and requested the ad to be blocked from appearing again, after it received complaints.

The ASA ruled that the ad was not overtly graphic, contained no explicit material and therefore was unlikely to cause offence.

It also noted that only a small proportion of TVGuide's visitors were under the age of 18 and that it had therefore been targeted appropriately.

Durex rolled out it a major marketing push at the start of the year with a TV ad and social media campaign to get couples "in-sync".

It is also looking to enhance its global digital presence and is currently searching for a digital agency to devise a global strategy and build a website.

An earlier version of this story stated that the ASA believed Euro RSCG had created the ad - the ASA has now corrected this.

Follow Sarah Shearman on Twitter @Shearmans


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