A advertising campaign for Durex has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority following a complaint that the posters were ‘offensive’ and ‘unsuitable for general display’.
The campaign, by McCann Erickson Communication House in Manchester for SSL International (SSL) was a sequence of four posters for Durex Play products with features the brand’s logo and a photograph of some of its packaging for Massage Mousse, Orgasmic Gel for Women, Vibrations and Massage Melts.
Each poster also featured a statement in white text against a pink background such as ‘Are you ready to scream?’, ‘Let’s hear you scream’, ‘Make some noise for the boys’ and ‘Do you like it loud?’.
The campaign ran for one month as part of Durex’ sponsorship of the Take That concert tour and was placed at each venue the group where the group were performing.
SSL explained that the adverts were designed to have each double meaning and that they would be understood by those of an age appropriate to use its products. They also highlighted that the ads carried no direct product claims or explanation of their nature and that all were highly available through mainstream sales channels.
The client also explained that the campaign was highly targeted to women 20-34 before referring to less targeted poster ads for similar products which they believed had created a standard of decency for these types of products which has no caused widespread offence.
In the end, the ASA chose not to uphold the complaint as it acknowledged that the ads for Durex were likely to be deemed distasteful by some and also recognised the need to protect children from material that could harm them – but decided that this campaign contain to graphic references to sex or sexually explicit imagery and that the play on words, n context with the concerts, were acceptable.
It was also felt that the double meaning was unlikely to be understood by a younger audience and cause children any harm and that no further action was required.