A Leeds-based fishing retailer has plumbed new depths by running a Facebook ad for its “low-prices” which featured what appeared to be an under-aged girl having just performed oral sex, with her mouth open and wiping the bottom of her lip with a napkin under the text “Prices that are easy to swallow”.
The ad for Erics Angling Centre only received one complaint, which may or may not reveal the standards of behaviour among the fishing community.
Two issues were raised, however, the first challenged whether the ad was offensive and irresponsible because it depicted a model who looked under-age in a sexualised manner. The second challenged whether the ad was irresponsibly shown in an untargeted medium where children could see it.
In an effort to get off the hook, Erics Angling Centre did not even respond to the Advertising Standards Authority enquiries.
Quite how the ad got passed Facebook’s rigorous filters is another matter. The social media company admitted that it only investigated the matter in response to the ASA probe, and discovered that the ad had been removed. Even so, it insisted that if the ad had still been live, it would have violated the firm’s advertising policies relating to sexual content.
In its ruling, the ASA said: “We understood that Erics Angling Centre was an online fishing tackle shop and considered that it would be unacceptable for their ads to be sexual in nature, as there was no relevance for their service to be marketed in such a manner. Therefore, we considered that such imagery in their advertising would be regarded by consumers as being gratuitous.
“We noted that the model had a very youthful appearance, which we considered made her look under the age of 16 years. We considered [the image] would be understood to be a sexual innuendo, suggesting that she had just participated in an act of sexual activity.”
Banning the ad on the grounds of being offensive, irresponsible and socially irresponsible, the watchdog warned the advertiser about future activity, adding that the firm must ensure its ads are appropriately targeted and not gratuitously sexual in nature.
Not that Erics Angling Centre – or Facebook for that matter – seem too worried. At the time of writing there were two further posts of a similar nature. One posted on July 31 depicts a fishing rod under the line “I love it when she bends over”, another posted on July 26 shows a model flashing her bare bottom with the phrase “you’ll never get a bum deal from us”.
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