A direct mail catalogue specialising in Crimplene trousers and mobility scooters has been banned after some recipients’ eyes popped out when they came across its range of porn DVDs and penis pumps.
Liverpool-based mail order company Chums has built its business by targeting pensioners with its range of womens and menswear, bedding, towels and mobility aids since its launch in the Eighties. Over 65% of its customers are men aged over 70.
However, in 2012 it also started to offer a slew of adult products – including the Brandy Love Doll, Muffie and Magic Miss Melissa – to provide customers with what it called “personal care and stress relief”.
Initially offered in a separate publication, the products proved so popular that the company decided to add some of the 80-strong range to its main catalogue. But some recipients were left with a nasty taste in their mouths and rifled off complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority.
In its defence, Chums said it believed it had tapped into a market for those who wanted “personal satisfaction and comfort at a later stage in life”. The firm said it had sold 5,000 units from the range and received minimal negative feedback, however, it maintained it had not intended to harm anyone or deter customers from purchasing regular products.
But, given the explicit nature of the content, the ASA said the catalogue required very careful targeting to ensure that it was distributed responsibly and to avoid causing offence to unsuspecting recipients. Yet the catalogue had been sent to Chums’ entire mailing list, who would receive it without being alerted about its adult content.
Ruling that the mailer was likely to cause serious or widespread offence when addressed to a general audience, the regulator banned the catalogue and warned Chums about its future marketing campaigns.
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