ASA bans Tesco and Adidas ads for ‘swearing’ and nudity

The British public’s prudish streak is out in force this week. The Advertising Standards Authority has banned an Adidas ad for showing women’s breasts, and a Tesco ad for (almost) using swear words.

Adidas caused some commotion earlier in the year with a print and social media ad that featured 43 different images of breasts. The #SupportIsEverything campaign promoted its women’s sports bras by celebrating the many shapes and sizes of women it was built to accommodate.

Only 24 people complained and Twitter said it wasn’t in breach of their terms and conditions. But for the ASA, the very fact of nudity in print – particularly as the breasts, not the bra, were the focus of the ads – was enough to ban the campaign for causing offence.

Tesco’s crime was to approximate swearwords in a press and OOH campaign by BBH. Lines like “They’re taking the pistachio” and “for fettuccine’s sake” were too much for the 60 complainants, and the ASA agreed in part. The ads were banned from billboards for being harmful and offensive, but deemed suitable for Daily Mail and Express readers.

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall is a journalist and editorial consultant and is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.