The commercial, devised by Mother, appeared on TV and YouTube and showed a male actor with visible stubble wearing various outfits.
The character was shown in a tracksuit, two different dresses, a swim suit and tutu outfit. In the latter two outfits, the character was shown with his legs wide apart.
He said: “Ever since I was little I’ve always dreamed of living an easy life. So, I married a footballer. I’ve been a WAG for 2 years now. I’m a real lady of leisure. I’ve even got my own fragrance. The scent’s inspired by my greatest love, it’s hot like a fever, spicy like chilli, divine like chicken. Piri Piri by Brian.”
But two complainants took issue with the campaign, claiming it was both offensive and condoned discriminatory behaviour towards trannsexuals – sparking an Advertising Standards Authority probe.
In response to the ASA inquiry, Pot Noodle owner Unilever said the ad was simply a humorous and cheeky twist on the world of Wags, an opinion backed by ad clearing house Clearcast.
Dismissing the complaints, the ASA said: “We considered viewers were likely to interpret the portrayal as a light-hearted mockery of Wag culture rather than transsexual people. Whilst we acknowledged that some may find the ad distasteful, we considered it was not likely to cause serious or widespread offence, or condone and encourage harmful and discriminatory behaviour and treatment towards transsexual people.”
The ruling is in stark contrast to an ASA investigation into an online tongue-in-cheek campaign for the brand which was deemed crass and degrading just four weeks ago. The campaign, also devised by Mother, carried the strapline “peel the top off a hottie”. It featured a female model in a bikini next to a picture of a Pot Noodle with the text “Phwarr is it me or is it getting hot in here? Hot off. Which one gets you hotter?”.
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