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Advertising Standards Authority Universal Music

Poster ad for Steel Panther album ‘Balls Out’ banned for overtly sexual nature


By The Drum Team, Editorial

January 25, 2012 | 3 min read

A poster ad for rock band Steel Panther’s album ‘Balls Out’, feature a semi-naked woman, has been banned by the ASA for being overtly sexual and unsuitable for public display where it might be seen by children.

The poster, seen in October, showed an image of a woman leaning back with her eyes closed. She was shown wearing a skimpy halter-neck outfit which covered her nipples but left her stomach and the bottom of her breasts uncovered. Her right hand was placed by her crotch and she was holding a string with two silver balls attached, which dangled between her legs.

Imkaan, a charity devoted to raising awareness and offering support to women from ethnic backgrounds who were victims of abuse and violence, and four members of the public contacted the ASA over the ad.

Universal Island Records said the poster was designed to have a retro 80s look which was not done seriously and poked fun at the ridiculousness of the attitude to women, outfits and music in that era. It added that the poster was meant to be ludicrously over the top and not meant to undermine women.

It said it would take greater care in the future to take into account whether children were likely to see the posters and whether they would be unsuitable.

The ASA said: “We noted that the pose of the woman showed her with her legs apart, her hand between her legs and her breasts partially exposed and considered that her facial expression was suggestive of an orgasm and sexual activity. In addition to this, we considered that the album title "Balls Out" was sexually suggestive particularly when viewed in the context of the poster, where the woman was seen dangling two silver balls between her legs in a way that we considered was suggestive of male genitalia.

“We noted Universal Island Records' argument that the poster was meant to be viewed humorously and not to be taken seriously as it was meant to represent the over-the-top image of the band featured in the poster. However, we considered that most people would not view the poster in this way and even if they had viewed it in that context, the poster was overtly sexual when taken as a whole. Given its placement in a range of public locations, we concluded that it was likely to cause serious and widespread offence, was unsuitable to be seen by children and therefore was not appropriate for outdoor advertising.

“The poster breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).”

Advertising Standards Authority Universal Music

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