Posters for the French Connection fashion chain featuring the line
’fcuk fashion’ have been banned because of their obscene innuendo.
The Advertising Standards Authority has ordered the ad to be withdrawn
and told the company not to use the initials again as they might be seen
to be a play on the word ’fuck’.
The controversy arose over the GGT-produced poster, showing a model in
the bottom right-hand corner and the headline ’fcuk fashion’ in the top
left. The rest of the poster was blank.
The poster was part of a pounds 3 million effort to give French
Connection more personality and made its debut in April on a 150
foot-long billboad at London’s South Kensington Underground station.
The poster was produced by Trevor Beattie, GGT’s creative director, and
its then executive creative director, Jay Pond-Jones. At the time
Beattie admitted that the ad was ’a bit edgy’ but said it was aimed at
people with ’attitude’ who didn’t take themselves too seriously.
Complaints to the ASA condemned the ad as obscene and a ’shameful
attempt to attract attention’.
The advertiser argued that fashion brands often use initials instead of
their name and that ’fcuk’ had appeared on shop windows, point-of-sale
material and t-shirts.
But the ASA dismissed the company’s justification of the poster, saying
that consumers would not generally know that ’fcuk’ was a reference to
French Connection UK. It claimed the ad was likely to cause serious and
widespread offence because it would be misunderstood.