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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 30 September, 2014

“Spanking”, “MILF” and hangover Jesus too much for the Advertising Standards Authority

Ads for the 48 mobile network and a hangover cure have been shot down by the ASAI.

Still from the 48 Go Conquer TV advert
Still from the 48 Go Conquer TV advert
Image: YouTube

A SELECTION OF TV, Radio, internet and outdoor ads for the 48 mobile network have been found to be suggestive and offensive by the Advertising Standards Authority.

In particular the use of the acronym MILF (Mothers I’d Like to F***) has been found to be “sexually exploitative”.

A radio ad for 48 featured a male voice-over stating that he would:

Think with my pants, heart and head . In that order. At least once, I’ll spend the weekend spanking some MILF. I’ll tell girls whatever lies they want to hear as long as we both get what we want…

There were complaints that the language used was explicit, overtly sexual, offensive, damaging to young adults and encouraged promiscuity. There were also complaints that the language was unrelated to the product being sold.

The advertisers said that the phrases used were “taken from slang used by participants” in their research groups and that the terms “spanking and MILF” were not considered to be offensive, but were part of everyday language used by their target market.

The ASAI didn’t agree though, calling the abbreviation MILF “sexually exploitative” and said that it had “caused offence due to the undesirable innuendo which went further than being distasteful”.

A TV ad which featured a party scene and depicted a young woman’s relationship was said to “encourage excessive drinking and promiscuity” by complainants. `

The ASAI agreed, stating that the was a strong suggestion of sexual activity in the advertisement and that the ad had caused widespread offence.



Outdoor ads featuring a girl lying on top of a topless young man, a girl with her hand under another girl’s top and a girl pulling her top off and revealing her bra were found to be exploitative and unrelated to the product on offer.

An internet advertisement which encouraged viewers to use their cursor to reveal a young model opening her shirt, and another which depicted on girl unzipping another girls’ top were found to have contravened sections of the advertising code.

Hangover defence

An ad in a local free newspaper in Cork for the hangover defence NoHoTM which featured a caricature of Jesus winking and giving a thumbs up resulted in four complaints to the ASAI.

The ad featured the tagline:

Avoid the dreaded post lent hangover. Visit Cork NoHo Store and get stocked up for Easter – DO NOT REGRET YOU DIDN’T.

The complainants said it was “inappropriate to use the image at a major event in the Christian Calendar such as Good Friday at Easter”.

The advertisers apologised for any distress caused and said that the image was the result of miscommunication between the company and an agent in Cork. The ASAI concluded that the imagery “appeared to have cause grave offence to Catholic and Christians at a pivotal Christian holiday and on that basis [the Complaints Committee] upheld the complaint”.

Aoife Casey and Richard Kavanagh stand outside the new NOHO Pop Up store on South Anne Street in Dublin in November 2011. Photo:Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.

Other complaints which were upheld included…

  • A press and radio ad for Seven Seas which claimed that a “50-year-old had the joint age of a person aged 64″. Complainants questioned the validity of the claim. The Complaints Committee acknowledged that the the advertisers had used a robust sample size in their survey, but that the “use of the advertising claim in relation to the research without qualification was misleading“.
  • A complaint about a phrase used in a TV ad for Hair Restoration Blackrock stated that claiming that hair is “vital to our self image” was misleading. This complaint was upheld by the ASAI.
  • A Groupon/MyCityDeal internet advertisement offering saving on seafood restaurants was complained about because the user found no such offer after following the link. The complaint was upheld on the basis that the ad was likely to mislead.

And those that weren’t upheld included…

  • A complaint about a Kerry Foods/Denny TV advert for ham was not upheld. Complainants said that processed ham could not be considered natural and that the ad depicted a schoolchild placing a sandwich on a ‘natural table’ in a classroom, which also held leaves, acorns and seashells. The ASAI said that the ad proclaimed that the ham contained “100% natural ingrediants” and was not “100% natural”.
  • A complaint about “aggressive and physical imagery” depicted in a Diageo TV advertisement for Guinness featuring soldiers portraying rugby players was not upheld. The Complaints Committee found that there was no depiction of the consumption of alcohol in the advertisement and that the as did not imply that alcohol had improved the physical performance of the characters.


Read: PR firm sorry for calling Miriam a M.I.L.F.>

You can read the recent complaints bulletin from the ASAI here>

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