The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned an ad for chewing gum from Mars Wrigley which depicted a topless man and a woman kissing on a bed over concerns the "sexually suggestive" spot was misplaced.
The ad shows a young couple kissing on a bed. A knock is heard at the door and the girl says "it's my dad" before her boyfriend answers the door in his boxer shorts and introduces himself, offering some Wrigley's Extra gum.
Two people complained to the regulator that the ad, part of the brand's 'Time to Shine' campaign, was "inappropriately placed" during a video-on-demand airing of Lego Masters on Channel 4’s All4.
Mars Wrigley argued that it had already used a shorter edit of the ad in accordance with an ex-kids scheduling restriction. It detailed how after receiving the ASA complaints, it requested that Clearcast apply a scheduling restriction to the revised ad, but Clearcast did not believe that was necessary.
Channel 4 said that as part of its standard procedure, Lego Masters had been assessed with regards to audience indexing in order to ascertain its "likely appeal to children" and young people. A restriction was placed at programme level to prevent restricted ads being served in or around the show. Therefore only non-restricted ads could be served, the broadcaster said, noting that the version of the ad seen by the complainants was.
Clearcast said that they did not believe the ad required a restriction because it did not depict anything "overtly sexual", just a "consenting couple" kissing.
Despite these protests, the ASA upheld the ruling on the basis that it was "sexually suggestive and that some viewers may, therefore, have found it distasteful for general viewing".
The watchdog explained: "We 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 must not be shown again in its current form.