AN advert showing David Beckham in a tight-fitting pair of pants has been cleared by ad bosses after three viewers said his 'package' was offensive.
The poster ad, for fashion chain H&M, received three complaints from viewers who said that the ad - showing dad-of-four Becks in a pair of 'trunk briefs' - was offensive.
Two of the three complainants also said the ad was 'irresponsible' as it 'contained material that they said was unsuitable for children to see'.
LA Galaxy player Beckham, who earns £26m-a-year and it the world's second highest paid footballer behind Barcelona's Lionel Messi, posed in a series of images for the fashion chain in the ads shown in January this year.
The ad showed tattooed Becks in a string of poses, including wearing a pair of trunks showing off his 'Goldenballs',
The former Manchester Uniter and England captain was infamously called 'Goldenballs' by wife Victoria on Parkinson during an interview in 2001 - a name that has stuck ever since.
When he posed for an Armani ad in white pants in 2007, viewers were shocked by his 'lunchbox' - the same as in the H&M campaign.
Bosses at H&M, however, said the ad for 'Bodywear' by Becks focused on 'quality, fit, function, comfort and design' and that the ad was designed to highlight 'the function and fit of the garment'.
They said it was not intended to be 'offensive', adding that they targeted the campaign to an 18-39-year-old 'adult audience' and the sites where the poster was on view was made with that in mind.
They said the billposter ads were placed on 'main arterial routes, to target vehicular traffic' - and that they ads were 'away from schools', apart from one poster which was just 100m from a school, but was included as it 'indexed so highly against their target audience'.
H&M said that is understood the posters were viewed by a 'much wider audience than those they intended', but said that because they had not intended for the ad to be offensive they had 'not thought it would have been a problem'.
Advertising chiefs at the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) cleared the ad, stating that there was 'no explicit nudity in the image' and that the ad was 'for an underwear range'.
It stated: "We considered that the nature of the product meant viewers of the ad were less likely to regard the ad as gratuitous or offensive, and considered that the poses and facial expressions of David Beckham were mildly sexual at most.
"While we acknowledged that some viewers might consider the images distasteful, we concluded the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence."
It added: "We acknowledged that the ad might be viewed by some as mildly sexual in nature, because David Beckham was featured in only a pair of tight trunk briefs.
"However, because the ad was for an underwear range, was not overtly sexual and did not feature explicit nudity, we considered the ad was not unsuitable for children to see, and concluded it was not socially irresponsible."
The ASA stated that it had investigated the ad under harm and offence and social responsibility guidelines, but did not find it in breach.