Online movie trailer slammed for illicit content

LONDON - An online ad linking through to a trailer for the film I Love You Man featuring a conversation about oral sex has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority.

One person complained that his child had viewed the ad, which had been displayed on the Yahoo! homepage. He felt that the sexual content was offensive and unsuitable for display on universal sites such as Yahoo!.

Paramount Pictures, which was marketing the film, acknowledged the adult theme of the ad, but said Yahoo! had assured them that 90 per cent of visitors to the page were over 18 years old.

The ad had to be clicked on for the trailer to play, and the advertiser believed users would have seen the 15 certificate film rating. The ad had only run for one day and the online content had been given a 12A rating by the British Board of Film Classification.

The ASA noted the ad made several sexual references, both explicit and implicit, of oral sex. They considered some users would be offended by the trailer, which was not protected by age verification or targeting.

Because Yahoo!, which the watchdog regarded a general interest site, had not taken adequate steps to ensure appropriate targeting, the ad was considered in breach of the CAP code. It must not appear again in its current form.