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Gen Z Future of TV ASA

Sexually explicit Planet Woo ad banned by the ASA

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By John Glenday, Reporter

October 26, 2022 | 3 min read

ITV-backed Planet Woo, the ‘feel-good’ shopping and media platform targeting gen Z audiences, has lost its zen after falling foul of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) with a sexually explicit pre-roll ad on YouTube.

Planet Woo

The cheeky Planet Woo YouTube ad has been slapped down by the ASA

The ad for the ‘Life in Love with Layla & Wolf’ web series came to the attention of the regulator due to the inclusion of explicit content, including one shot of a female model on all fours facing away from the camera. Controversial scenes included a partner declaring “fucking amazing” as a couple flicked through a photo album and the depiction of the pair blowing smoke into each others’ mouths.

The cheeky scene was accompanied by superimposed text stating: ‘This platform has asked us not to show this content, watch Wolf & Layla’s story uncensored at planetwoo.itv.com.’

A complainant took issue with the choice of imagery, arguing that it was ‘offensive’ and ‘irresponsibly targeted’ owing to its reliance on sexually explicit material, as well as swearing and smoking.

Planet Woo argued that it had taken steps to ensure under-age viewers would not be exposed to its content by excluding anyone not signed into a Google account, targeting solely those aged 18 and above who had a search history for terms such as ‘sex’ and ‘transgender rights.’

Dismissing this defense, the ASA upheld all counts against the ‘overtly sexual and explicit’ campaign, writing: “We acknowledged that the advertised web series explored themes of sex positivity and openness, and that viewers interested in those themes were unlikely to be offended by the ad. However, because the ad was overtly sexual and explicit we considered it was likely to cause serious and widespread offense to a general audience if it was not very carefully targeted. Viewers who were not familiar with the advertised show and who had not been warned of the adult content of the ad were particularly likely to be offended.”

As a consequence Planet Woo has been instructed to ensure its ads were socially responsible and did not encourage smoking. The media platform has also been asked to avoid featuring swearing and nudity in media likely to include a child audience and to ensure their ads are appropriately targeted.

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