Topless Melinda criticised in advertising report

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The Independent Online
Page three model Melinda Messenger and Tony Blair make a joint appearance today - not in the Sun, but in advertisements criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Ms Messenger was used last year by a small Gloucester double glazing company in a press and poster campaign. The ad featured Ms Messenger peering through a window in her underwear. Once it was spotted she was whisked to London by the Sun, which had been looking for a model it could turn into a "Sam Fox for the Nineties".

However, in its most recent monthly report, the ASA upheld four complaints from the public about the Glevum Window Systems ad, and deemed its sexual innuendo "offensive and unnecessary".

The company, which paid pounds 120 for the photograph, claims that the pictures were so popular they were being stolen from bus shelters. In a blow to the sophisticates of the advertising industry it also maintains that the photograph increased sales of its windows by 25 per cent.

Meanwhile, Tony Blair appeared in the ASA's second most complained about ad of 1996 - the Conservatives' "demon eyes" campaign. The ASA criticised it not for its apparent attribution of satanic qualities to the Labour leader, but because he was portrayed without his permission. The ad attracted 167 complaints.

The most complained about advertisement of all last year was a poster for a Gossard bra that featured a woman reclining on hay in her underwear above the slogan: "Who says woman can't get pleasure from something soft." It received 312 complaints after Lynda Lee Potter in the Daily Mail drew it to the attention of her readers.

Overall, complaints about advertising were down in 1996.