The Importance of Context

Every year or two some cable network (I think FX) hosts a show called Banned in America: The World’s Sexiest Ads (but are they really banned if they are presented on this show?). Yes, the ads are filled with innuendo and scantily clad women (and the occasional man), and are certainly more risque than most American ads, but no more so than most cable shows. Fool me once.

So it’s kind of surprising to read that, in response to eight – count ’em – eight complaints in the UK, home of the topless “Page 3 Girls” in the daily London Sun newspaper, the Advertising Standards Authority banned a TV ad for Kazam mobile phones:

“The ASA noted that much of the ad focused entirely on the actor in her underwear, including scenes that featured several close-up shots that lingered over her breasts, buttocks and lips, which we considered were sexually suggestive. Additionally, this was heightened by the suggestive nature of the music and voice-over and further reinforced because the focus on the woman bore no relevance to the advertised product. We therefore considered that the overall style of the ad served to objectify women. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence to some viewers on the basis that it objectified women.”

I bet no one would have blinked if the ad had been for the jeans.

On a side note, Shazam does not recognize the song.


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