The tongue-in-cheek magazine ad equated difficulties in procuring a mortgage with poor sex life, graphically illustrating the point with suggestive sexual imagery captioned as the ‘Downpayment Doggy', 'the Standing Variable Rate', 'Prime 69' and 'The Base-rate Scissor'.
This approach drew two complaints from readers who asserted that the overtly sexual approach was ‘offensive and irresponsible’ - but these concerns have now been dismissed.
Explaining the decision not to uphold the complaint, the ASA wrote: “The ad appeared in a lifestyle magazine targeted at an adult audience and that it sought to draw attention to Habito’s mortgage services in a novel way by informing readers that the libido of one in ten couples was affected by the mortgage process. While we acknowledged that some would find the artistic illustrations of sexual positions and accompanying descriptions distasteful, they were not explicit and we considered that most readers were likely to view the ad as a humorous play on the results of the survey.
“Consequently, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to those who saw it and was not irresponsible.”
Habito justified its racy financial figures by pointing to a YouGov survey of 2,000 UK adults which found that one in ten couples who cited the negative effect of obtaining a mortgage on their libido.