Harvey Nichols wet advert cleared
Wednesday 03 October 2012
An ad for a Harvey Nichols sale has escaped censure despite attracting 105 complaints that it pictured people who had apparently wet themselves with excitement.
The campaign for the upmarket department store featured well-dressed women and a man each with a wet stain in their groin area accompanied by text stating: "The Harvey Nichols sale. Try to contain your excitement."
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 94 complaints that the ad was offensive for implying that the people had wet themselves with excitement while 29 said the ads would cause distress and serious offence to people with bladder problems.
Harvey Nichols said it had attempted to capture excitement about the sale in a light-hearted and humorous way by a visual representation of the well-known phrase "I was so excited, I nearly wet myself."
It suggested that some of the complainants were assuming offence on behalf of others, and provided the ASA with three blog entries from people with bladder problems who found the ads amusing.
Rejecting the complaints, the ASA acknowledged that the concept of "wetting oneself with excitement" was well known and often used in the media and in speech in a light-hearted manner, but noted that images of someone wetting themselves with excitement were "nonetheless unusual".
It said that although the images made clear what was intended by the choice of language, "we nevertheless considered the images and the ads, although likely to be seen as unsubtle and tasteless by many members of the general public, were unlikely to cause them serious or widespread offence".
It added: "We understood that around 14 million people in the UK had bladder problems and involuntary urination was likely to be a particularly sensitive issue for many.
"Nonetheless, we considered the ads would not be seen as making light of people with urinary problems and therefore, even to those who suffered from such problems, were likely to be seen as unsubtle and tasteless but were unlikely to cause them serious offence."
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
Islamic State: British fighters make up a quarter of foreign jihadists
James Foley beheading: Police 'could have narrowed hunt for killer to very small group of people'
- 1 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 3 Kajieme Powell: Missouri police release video footage of second man killed by officers
- 4 Paul Scholes: Manchester United need five experienced players who can turn round a desperate situation
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel you sales role is li...
£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum + 25 days holiday and bonus: Clearwater People Solut...
Highly Competitive Salary + Commission: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL BASED - DEALING ...