A video advertisement from Telefonica-owned UK MVNO giffgaff was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, according to a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority.
The video clip was promoted via giffgaff’s Twitter account, which was also available via an embedded feed on the giffgaff website. As well as showing a link to the video clip, the tweet said “The situations in our new videos are, well, awkward. #NSFW #alltheboss”.
When the link was clicked, a video clip played. During the first two seconds, there was an on-screen message that read “WARNING: You cannot unsee this”.
The ASA described a video that showed a man returning home from a run and walking in on a couple having sex in a laundry room. A message at the end of the video said “At home with your parents you’re not the boss ... At giffgaff we’re all the boss”.
A member of the public complained that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence because the content was sexually graphic.
In its response, giffgaff said the ad was intended to show in a humorous way that, although some of their customers may not feel like the boss while living at home with their parents, they could be the boss with the giffgaff network because they are able to have a say in how it’s run. They pointed out that there was no nudity and highlighted the warning at the start of the video.
However, the ASA upheld the complaint. It said “the situation depicted was of a strongly sexual nature that would be likely to cause offence in an untargeted medium”. It also said the ad was untargeted and came from a Twitter feed that would have general appeal to consumers. In addition, the warning was inadequate to alert viewers to the content of the video.
Because the video featured strongly sexual content in an untargeted medium, the ASA concluded that it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and ruled that it must not appear again in its current form.