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Saucy radio ads too suggestive for watchdog

THE acronym 'MILF' has been declared an offensive term by an advertising watchdog and will be taken off the radio airwaves.

The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) yesterday upheld a number of complaints against mobile giant Telefonica, the parent company of O2, over a suggestive advert campaign.

The campaign was for 48 -- a new mobile network aimed at younger people. It included a radio ad with "undesirable innuendo which went further than being distasteful".

In the radio advert a boy declared: "I will think with my pants, heart and head. In that order. At least once I'll spend the weekend spanking some MILF" (Mother I'd Like to F***).

A TV ad for the same product was also found to be offensive because it gave a strong suggestion of sexual activity, featuring a girl's boyfriend going off with another woman.

And outdoor ads featuring images such as a girl lying on top of a topless man were also found to be exploitative and unrelated to the product.

But that particular image was not found to be unsuitable when it appeared in an online ad on sites such as Yahoo, Facebook and campus.ie because, in that case, it was targeted specifically at people aged 18-22.

However, the ASAI upheld complaints against online ads for a product which showed a girl's shirt opening if you moved the mouse over it and another which showed one model unzipping another girl's top.

These ads were deemed "sexually exploitative for an unrelated marketing purpose".

The advertisers had argued that the advertising campaign reflected the lifestyles of people aged 18-22, including first jobs, college assignments and the opposite sex.

However, the ASAI found that the campaign focused only on sexuality, and could cause unnecessary social pressure on the age group concerned and younger people who saw it.

It reminded media members, which include TV and radio stations, newspapers and magazines and many online sites, that they should not accept ads found to be in breach of the advertising code.


ASAI chief executive Frank Goodman said that although it had the power to impose fines, it did not usually take this approach as most advertisers and media pulled campaigns if they were found to breach advertising standards.

An ad featuring a caricature of the sacred heart of Jesus winking and giving the thumbs up to a "No Ho" hangover defence product and urging consumers to get stocked up for Easter was found by the ASAI to be gravely offensive during a major Christian holiday.

Irish Independent