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By The Drum Team, Editorial

February 22, 2012 | 2 min read

The Wonderful Pistachios TV ad, featuring a dominatrix cracking open the shell of the nut with her whip, has not been banned by the ASA.

Seven complaints were made about the ad, which had the words ‘Dominatrix do it on command’, before the strapline ‘get crackin’’ appeared on screen with a picture of the product.

The complainants suggested that the ad was offensive and unsuitable to be seen by children because of the dominatrix theme and whether the ad was inappropriately scheduled.

Paramount Farms International, which owns the brand, said that the ad had been given an 'ex-kids' scheduling restriction by Clearcast, but it elected to only air the ad post-9 pm and so that ad should not have been viewed before 9 pm.

The ASA said it understood that almost all of the ads, although not all, had also been scheduled for broadcast after 9 pm, which reduced the likelihood of them being seen by children.

The body said: “We considered that the woman's outfit and the use of the term "dominatrix" did make reference to a sexual practice, but also noted that the woman then used her whip to crack a pistachio nut, and the ad did not include any explicit or sexualised behaviour. We therefore considered that most viewers would understand that the action was intended to be humorous and surreal, and would not find it overtly sexual.

“We concluded that, in light of that, the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.”

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