Time to fire the ASA

After reading an article that listed  the Top 10 most controversial ads, I’m even more convinced in my belief that the Advertising Standards Authority ranks amongst the most useless of organisations, and is chaired by a bunch of old women with nothing better to do, and no grasp of reality.

The top complaint (774 complaints) was about anti-smoking ad, of which we are told: “Many of those who complained said the adverts were offensive, frightening and distressing. The largest group of complaints related to the poster ads and the effect they could have on children.”

That sounds to me like the very reasons for creating and showing the ads, it was (or would have done) what it was supposed to do if the old women at the ASA hadn’t been around to interfere, and they proved they have no grasp of reality, when they upheld the complaint instead of laughing it out of the room.

There’s a time for “glove’s on” and there’s a time for “glove’s off”, and this was clearly  a time for “off”!

2. TRIDENT GUM – 519 COMPLAINTS

Upheld on basis of unintentionally offending a significant minority.

3. RUSTLERS – 219 COMPLAINTS

Partly Upheld as it was shown during a children’s film.

4. MFI – 217 COMPLAINTS

Upheld for showing actual domestic violence.

5. QUORN – 181 COMPLAINTS

Not upheld.

6. COCA COLA GREAT BRITAIN – 180 COMPLAINTS

Not upheld.

7. BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION – 122 COMPLAINTS

Not upheld.

8. JOHN WYETH & BROTHER LTD – SMA NUTRITION – 109 COMPLAINTS

Not upheld.

9. PEOPLE FOR THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS (PETA) – 68 COMPLAINTS

Not upheld.

10. NEWS GROUP NEWSPAPERS LTD – THE SUN – 56 COMPLAINTS

Not upheld.

I’m not wasting time repeating the finding, you can read the original article for that, but look at the spread of numbers: 774 for the top item, down to 56 for number 10.

Given the population of the UK, isn’t it ridiculous that the old women at the ASA can influence ads, with only a literal handful of complaints? And just who are the complainers, individuals with nothing better to do than watch adverts (hell, there’s so many now I feel I’m having to work hard to avoid them) or is it groups with agenda’s, and reasons to make these complaints and have the ads pulled?

As I intimated at the start, the ASA’s little more than a joke, with no real purpose and doing nothing to maintain any sort of standards in advertising.

Witness the dreadful USwitch advert that typecast a black Gospel choir with a a bunch of black people miming (badly) to the words – I can’t believe that rubbish hadn’t generated more complaints than the above.

Then there’s the mobile phone and texting adverts that areclearly little more then procurement services for prostitution or sexual services. Near naked teenage girls filmed in extreme close-up with husky voice-overs encouraging the viewer to text and chat and meet etc etc, or to receive videos. If you are an insomniac, then you get bombarded with this  trash all night. Item 10 above, the Sun ad, is laughable by comparison.

As for standards, if the ASA was really maintaining any sort of standards within the industry then they’d do something about the sponsor tags that are repeated incessantly between the programme breaks and the actual adverts. On long programmes or films, these are little short of brainwashing, being repeated 12 or more times in a single hour when a particularly popular programme is broadcast.

The ASA should do a proper job, or shut its doors and stop being paid to do very little of any value.

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