Controls of advertising and the media

In this report I will explain the impact that advertising has on consumers. I will also analysis and present findings of statistical analysis on an advertising campaign. The campaign that I have chosen to research is the famous Yves Saint Laurent Opium Advert featuring Sophie Dahl. I will also identify the statutory bodies and controls that influence and control advertising. Including the purposes of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), along with the Independent Television Commission (ITC). I will also describe the principles of Self Regulation (SR) and explain its application in the advertising industry. The complaints procedure for the statutory bodies will also be highlighted in this report.

Objections to a poster, for a perfume, that featured a pale naked woman set against a dark blue background. She was lying on her back with her knees raised, her head reclined and her mouth open; her left hand covered her left breast; the right breast was exposed. The complainant objected that the image was offensive, degrading to women and unsuitable in a public place. The Advertisers of the poster: The advertisers of the poster said that the image was designed as a work of art, to reflect the spirit of Opium, their best-selling fragrance; they believed the image was sensual and aesthetic. They explained that image had appeared in magazine issues between October 2000 and January 2001 but recognised that the poster could have had an impact different from that of their press advertisements. The advertisers said that their intention had not been to offend the public.

Decision by the ASA: The complaints were upheld. The Authority said that the advertisement was sexually suggestive and likely to cause serious or widespread offence. It told the advertisers to withdraw it immediately. The Publics reactions to the advert: The controversial billboard advert showing a naked female model (Sophie Dahl) in a suggestive pose was banned in the UK in December 2000. The Yves Saint Laurent Opium advert, received 730 complaints saying it was degrading and offensive to women, making it one of the most complained about adverts. Christopher Graham, director general of the British Standards Authority (BASA), said that the poster was sexually suggestive and unsuitable for a public place

Statistical analysis and findings were conducted by www.new.bbc.co.uk in Talking Point, below is a selection of some of the public's responses to whether the advert should have been banned or not. As you will see there are very mixed reactions from both males and females below: Certainly not! The ad consists of an image of a beautiful woman. It is no more suggestive than a reclining nude painted by well-respected artists. Jackie Hyden, UK The most common reason given by those who are happy to see the poster taken down seems to be fear that they will have to explain this poster to their children!

Brian Binney, UK Has anyone smelt Opium? My grandmother wears it. Therefore it should be targeted towards her generation. Put a naked old woman with a blue rinse on the next ad. False advertising is the real issue. Sabrina Ahmed, UK Surprise, surprise most of the comments praising the ad are from men. Would you be so happy if this was your daughter, wife or sister? This ad is not about the human body, its about some marketing executive (probably a man) trying to earn as much as possible for his client (probably another man). It saddens me, the lengths some people and organisations will go to so they can increase their sales and profits.

Martyn Fribbens, UK The only offensive thing I can see about this ad is that it makes me wish I had a body as good as Sophie's. If I had a good body I'd be proud to show it off as well! Tanya Smithson, UK It's a win-win situation for the marketers and advertisers. Even if the ASA doesn't intervene, the very nature of the ad provokes discussion among its audience; if the ASA does intervene, the media still discuss the controversial ad. The marketers' objective of stimulating the interest of the consuming public in the product or service they are promoting is achieved.

Mohansigh, India It seems relatively easy to find someone who will be offended by almost anything. Over-concern for such "feeling" is destroying whatever illusion we retain to free expression. George Milton, USA There used to be watershed for watching programmes with unsuitable content whilst younger children are around. Nowadays, it is bad enough the watershed is abused on TV, but at least there is an off button. Here, you can be driving down the road with your kids, and they are subjected to posters of sexual innuendoes everywhere. There is, unfortunately no off button in the streets. What are responsible parents supposed to do these days – blindfold our kids, or discuss sex openly with our 5 and 8 year olds. It is a sad reflection of society that adults cannot take responsibility for keeping their over-sexed minds off the billboards and keep it in the bedroom where it belongs!

Phil, UK A quick poll of women in my office did not reveal one who was offended by the poster. It seems sad that whilst many complain of the portrayal of size 8 'waifs' in the media, when YSL have the courage to use a more 'normally' shaped person, there is an outrage. I have three children and do not have any problem with this image. Alun Jenkins, UK Yeah its great but maybe it's time we saw some naked men in a few ads to kind of even out the balance a bit… Penny, UK It seems a lot of girls are offended by it and all the boys think its fantastic. I don't find the picture offensive but it's interesting that there are far more 'sexy' pictures of women in advertising than men. Why?

Therasa Jazowy, Australia It's about time the ASA acted upon its own code of practice, well done ASA. There is a big difference between art and pornography and if the advertisers can't see the difference, then they should seek advice. Are products so poor that advertisers have to use sexuality to promote them? Asif Suleman, UK There is nothing wrong with nakedness at all, but there is a time and a place for everything. Haven't the advertisers realised that in multi-cultural Britain today some may find this poster very offensive? What is wrong with a woman's fully clothed figure leaving the rest to the imagination?