Benetton, one of the most controversial advertisers of recent years, has
again fallen foul of the Advertising Standards Authority.
A branch of the Italian company, Benetton Sportsystem Communication, has
been carpeted for an ‘offensive’ magazine ad for a mountain bike which
featured a picture of a man standing in front of a column of tanks
during China’s Tiananmen Square disturbances in 1990. The man was later
The ASA ordered the ad to be pulled, claiming the picture had no
relevance to the product.
The ban is the latest in a long line of spats between advertising
watchdogs and Benetton. Most recently, the main clothing brand produced
a poster depicting three human hearts under the strapline, ‘United
colours of Benetton.’ The ad, which was banned by the ASA, provoked
calls for UK poster advertising to be pre-vetted.
Meanwhile, M&C Saatchi has received a public ticking-off from the ASA
for making misleading claims in ads for British Airways, Dixons and the
The ruling against the agency and the airline followed a complaint by a
trading standards office about a press ad promoting services between
London and Scotland.
The ASA agreed the ad was misleading because the publicised pounds 34
each-way price was only available as part of a pounds 68 return fare. It
also called for the ad to be changed to avoid the impression that the
quoted fare was available from all destinations when flights from
Inverness cost more.
At the same time, the ASA ordered the agency to take greater care after
a Dixons ad gave the impression that up to 50 per cent could be saved on
a Psion personal organiser during a sale. In fact, the price quoted had
been offered at Dixons stores before the sale.
The Independent fell foul of the ASA over its Classic Film Collection
ads produced by M&C Saatchi. The press campaign was said to be
misleading because only ten videos were made available and they did not
include most of those listed or shown.