Tampon advert banned following 84 complaints to ASAI

Tampon advert banned following 84 complaints to ASAI
A screenshot of Tampax's 'Tampons and Tea' advert.

An advert featuring a fictional chat show between a female host and a young interviewee called Tampons and Tea has been deemed offensive after a number of complaints to the advertising watchdog were upheld.

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) upheld complaints against the Proctor & Gamble ad for Tampax, saying the ad had caused offence despite it being factually correct.

The television advert, set in a studio-type setting typical for a chat show, featured a female host and a young girl sitting in a chair waiting to be interviewed.

It contained a chat between the host about ill-fitting tampons, an on-screen demonstration of how to insert a tampon correctly, and the host saying: "You gotta get ‘em up there, girls."

Some people felt the segment was demeaning to women and not suitable for children, but these complaints were not upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ASAI complaints committee said the advertisement, although light-hearted in nature, provided factual information in a manner that was neither explicit nor graphic. They did not consider that the advertisement had caused grave offence. 

They noted, however, "the level of complaint that had been received and the concerns expressed by complainants about the advertising and considered that it had caused widespread offence".

The advert received 84 complaints in total, but complaints that it was demeaning to women or engaged in sexual innuendo were not upheld.

A drinks company has also been found in breach of advertising standards following a social media post containing too much sexual innuendo.

LeCoq Cocktails had an influencer post an ad on Instagram for its new drink, which some people felt used suggestive sexual content.

A complaint against telecoms firm Three Ireland regarding an advert promoting a smartphone offer that featured three smartphones — the Huawei P30, the iPhone Xr, and the Samsung S10 — was upheld.

The complainant viewed the advertisement and, as an existing customer, wanted to upgrade their phone and avail of the offer. The complainant was advised that the offer was not available to existing customers.

The ASAI complaints committee said they considered that the language used in the television advertisement was unlikely to have been clear enough and was insufficiently familiar to consumers generally to indicate that the product was available to only one category of customer.

There were five more complaints upheld against various firms in the ASAI's latest bulletin, including one against Dunnes Stores over its '€10 off every €50' promotion.

"The latest complaints bulletin from the ASAI illustrates our ability to handle complaints across a large number of mediums," said CEO Orla Twomey.

The main role of advertising self-regulatory organisations (SROs), such as the ASAI, is to ensure that ads and other marketing communications are legal, truthful, decent and honest, prepared with a sense of social responsibility to the consumer and society and with proper respect for the principles of fair competition.

"The ASAI is committed to protecting society in relation to advertising across all mediums. Self-regulatory ad standards provide an additional layer of consumer protection which complements legislative controls and offers an easily accessible means of resolving disputes."

Meanwhile, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) considered and rejected 12 complaints in meetings held in May and June 2020, it said in its latest complaints publication.

A radio listener took issue with a segment on Ryan Tubridy's show, which heard an interview with a woman who made a documentary called Leaving Limbo.

The documentary was about the experience of the interviewee and another woman in preparing for the Leaving Certificate while in direct provision.

The listener complained that the presenter, standing in for Mr Tubridy, on several occasions referred to the interviewee as a "woman of colour", in reference to her African background.

The BAI said the woman being interviewed had no issue with the description, and dismissed the complaint.

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