Martini beauty parade ruled `hurtful'

Watchdog tells drinks maker to replace `divisive' advertisements after objections over potential harm to disfigured children

MARIANNE MACDONALD

Media Correspondent

The drinks maker Martini was told today that its advertisements featuring ugly people who had supposedly had to have cosmetic surgery to make them beautiful enough to drink the alcohol were offensive to disfigured children.

The ruling from the Independent Television Commission followed 70 complaints from viewers, including a plastic surgeon, who argued that the two advertisements on the theme of "beautiful people" were offensive.

The first showed a young man embarrassed to drink Martini because he felt he was too ugly. But after undergoing cosmetic surgery, he could confidently order the drink.

The second featured a quiz show, Get a New Face, in which the winners were given cosmetic surgery "so they look good enough to drink the beautiful drink".

Both commercials ended with the slogan: "With Martini, we can make Britain a more beautiful place."

But the complainants - who also included a neurophysiologist and two charities - objected to the emphasis on corrective surgery as hurtful to people with facial disfigurements.

Some expressed particular concern about the effect on facially disfigured children, and a number said that it was divisive to imply that only beautiful people could drink Martini.

The advertising agency involved, Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury, said that the advert was intended to satirise vanity and to ridicule people who strived for physical perfection by the use of surgery.

No one in the commercials was disfigured and the quiz show contestants were of normal people of average appearance.

In its ruling the ITC said that, while recognising many viewers might dislike the advert, it would be "excessive" to conclude that the humour went beyond acceptable standards.

However, the heavy emphasis on cosmetic surgery was upsetting some sections of the audience. It was particularly concerned about "possible impact on facially disfigured children who would not necessarily have the maturity to interpret the material in the relatively sophisticated way intended".

It has forbidden Martini to run the adverts before the 9pm watershed and has "urged" the drinks maker to replace the campaign as soon as possible with more sensitive material.

In the same set of rulings the ITC also instructed Teletext to stop advertising premium-rate telephone lines which offered advice on choosing winning lottery numbers.

The telephone services either suggested "lucky" or "unlucky" numbers or claimed a mathematical basis for increasing the chances of a win.

The ITC ruled that no number was statistically more likely to come up than another. It did not accept Teletext's argument that putting the suggestions in an astrological context made them acceptable.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sport
Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
footballAll the action from today's games
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas