Mars-owned brand Wrigley’s Extra has found itself in a sticky mess after being rapped for placing a “distasteful” and “sexually suggestive” ad in a video-on-demand airing of Lego Masters on Channel 4’s All4.
The ad, devised by AMV BBDO, shows a young couple kissing on a bed when there is a knock at the door and the girl says “it’s my dad”. Her boyfriend, who is topless, then answers the door in just his boxer shorts and introduces himself, offering some Wrigley’s Extra gum.
The Advertising Standards Authority received two complaints which challenged whether the ad was inappropriately placed during a programme likely to appeal to children under 16.
In response, Mars argued that once it had received notification of the complaints, it requested that Clearcast apply a scheduling restriction to the revised ad, but Clearcast did not believe that was necessary as all it showed was a consenting couple kissing on a bed.
It said it did not believe that children under age 16 would be offended, shocked or exposed to anything harmful.
However, while the ASA considered that the ad did not contain any sexually explicit content, it ruled that the spot was sexually suggestive and that some viewers may therefore have found it distasteful for general viewing.
The watchdog added: “We also considered that younger children would be less able to understand the scenario than older children, and that the sexual nature of the ad made it unsuitable for them.
“We considered the ad should not have been placed around VOD programming that was likely to be viewed by young children. We therefore concluded that the ad had been irresponsibly placed and breached the Code.”
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