Sadly, the ASA is often more of an ASS (sorry, it just had to be said!). We have been lobbying them for 3 years over the fact that they think ads for porn and prostitution in newspapers are perfectly acceptable.
Find out more here
(generic complaints form, just click the links that are most appropriate)
Transport for London (TfL) have its own advertising codes above and beyond those of the ASA. These explicitly disallow ads for porn, prostitution, strip clubs, ‘promoting poor body image’, sexual images of adults or images that might offend even ‘by way of implication’. So if you see a sexist ad anywhere on the London Transport network contact TfL as your first port of call.
Sadly despite these codes, London transport is still resplendent with sexist and even racist billboard ads. So let us know by email, twitter or facebook and Tweet TfL too (they say they monitor tweets to them).
We have met with TfL bosses – and have more meetings in the pipeline.
Find out more here
Other Avenues of Complaint
Often complaining to the advertiser or a related party – or even the bill board hoarder, can be very productive. Social media now makes it so easy to spread the word that it becomes increasingly possible to shame companies into showing at least an iota of ‘social responsibility’.
A twitter storm (led by untameable shrews and a strong contingent from Mumsnet) generated press coverage and a wealth of complaints over these ‘jokey’ beer mats (Pornhub-style images coupled with text asking female students if they ‘spat or swallowed’). These were being handed out in welcome packs to female students at Sussex University (because apparently 18 year old girls don’t know how to brush their teeth). After it was pointed out that it was deeply inappropriate for teenage girls to be taking a first step into independent living with messages like these, the University has said it will ‘rethink’ using this supplier in future.
Jez saw these ads for an ‘escort agency’ in the men’s loo of his local pub. He complained to the pub – which withdrew it from all its chains. He also complained to the billboard hoarder, Admedia – they withdrew the campaign NATIONWIDE!