Mars Wrigley 'sexually suggestive' ad banned

Keiligh Baker's picture

A chewing gum advert has been banned after the 'sexually suggestive' clip aired during a break on a children's TV show.

A Video on Demand (VOD) ad for Wrigley’s Extra chewing gum, seen on Channel Four On Demand during Lego Masters on 10 and 12 November 2018, featured a young couple in a bedroom kissing on a bed.

There was a knock on the door and the girl said “It’s my dad”. The girl got dressed and the boy chewed gum while still in his boxer shorts. He opened the door to the girl’s parents and introduced himself.

Two complainants challenged whether the ad was inappropriately placed during a programme likely to appeal to children under 16.

Clearcast said that they did not believe the ad required a restriction because it did not depict anything overtly sexual.

The scene showed a consenting couple kissing on a bed, supposedly in a university dorm bedroom and they were interrupted, but not doing anything sexual and it went no further than them kissing. The father in the end readily shook his daughters’ boyfriend’s hand and smiled. Clearcast said they did not believe that children under age 16 would be offended, shocked or exposed to anything harmful.

The ASA decided that while the ad did not contain any sexually explicit content, it was sexually suggestive and that some viewers may therefore have found it distasteful for general viewing.

The ASA also considered that younger children would be less able to understand the scenario than older children, and that the sexual nature of the ad made it unsuitable for them.

The ad appeared during the programme Lego Masters which the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) data showed was likely to be of particular appeal to children. The ASA considered the ad should not have been placed around VOD programming that was likely to be viewed by young children.

The ASA  concluded that the ad had been irresponsibly placed and breached the Code and told Mars Wrigley Confectionery UK Ltd and Channel 4 to ensure that in future they responsibly placed ads around VOD programming likely to have particular appeal to children.