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back to article Watchdog mauls billboard sex ads

The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that billboard ads punting an Advanced Medical Institute (AMI) nasal spray and featuring the words "Want longer lasting sex?" are "unsuitable for public display". The ASA earlier this month ordered the adverts to be removed from 200 sites following numerous complaints, citing the …

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Alert

prescription drugs

Anyone see Boston Legal the other week when Denny admitted to take 30-40 prescription pills a day because the adverts told him how good they were?

I don't care about the "Sex" part of the advert, I just don't want prescription drugs advertised to the public.I want an informed doctor to make the decision about what drugs I take.

Can you imagine, if you just got Hugh Laurie's voice-over on a TV add for a prescription medicine, how many people would hassle their doctor for that brand no matter what the (real) doctor said?

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Anonymous Coward

Good advertising

The length of time this has been dragging on shows just how toothless the ASA is - and what canny marketing, this was.

Did they expect the ads to remain on display? Nope, but by doing the poster campaign, there's been a huge amount of free publicity given by the hacks.

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Stop

Think of the kids

Someone in my area summed it up neatly by spraypainting the corner of one of these gigantic billboard ads with the phrase "our kids can read you know".

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Anonymous Coward

The real issue...

Here is an extract from the first line of the complaint:

"Issue

1. 521 complainants believed the poster was offensive and, therefore, unsuitable for display in public locations, which included near schools and in areas with a high Jewish population..."

?

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Silver badge

@nobby

As they said, that's the real reason the ASA pulled it. You're not allowed to advertise prescription drugs in this country. I'm pretty sure there are other restrictions on drug advertisements anyway, as we just don't see the pharma TV adverts you get in the US.

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@nobby

"Can you imagine, if you just got Hugh Laurie's voice-over on a TV add for a prescription medicine,..."

Well, on the bright side, whatever was wrong there'd be a cast-iron guarantee that it wouldn't be lupus...

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@AC

Think of the kids? Yes, children must be protected from the evils of knowledge about sex at all costs! Everyone knows that children mustn't know about anything to do with sex because if they do, they will surely explode from the inappropriateness of such knowledge!

WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN???

*ahem*

I agree with the ASA simply on the prescription-medicine aspect. The sex part I have no issue with at all.

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Coat

I wonder if their complaint will stand up

I thank you.

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Thumb Up

They were brilliant ads

Me and the missis used to find these very amusing, they were in all kinds of prominent places. The word "Sex" was in massive letters as well just to make sure it caught your eye.

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What???

The ASA actually DID SOMETHING?

Sheesh!

Even after being totally fleeced by my dentist last week, I've still got more teeth than they have . . . by gum!

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Good

The last thing we want is medicines being advertised. These adverts are legal in Australia and these huge "Want longer lasting sex" adverts are *everywhere*, almost to the exclusion of all other advertising. Whatever your views on the morals of this it just *feels* wrong to me somehow.

Meanwhile in Germany, it's now legal to advertise medicine on the telly. Result: during a Casualty-style drama show you get 10 mins of back-to-back drug adverts. Which makes the show pretty much unwatchable. Presumably the drug companies have money to burn when it comes to pushing their wares...

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@Nick Palmer

tea -> monitor

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Reasons for banning words

Last year I heard the director of the ASA being interviewed on Rado 4. The interesting thing about him was that behind his surface talk was an authoritarianism springing from a profound and unacknowleged anxiety about sex. He seemed especially disturbed (i.e. "offended") by other people's freedom in relation to their sexual interests. Remember, we didn't vote for these people, or for the control they have over our lives.

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Longer lasting sex in Australia

The billboard ads are now illegal in Oz - at least here in bible-belt QLD. The offending three letter word has been covered so they now read "Want longer lasting censored?". I think the general feeling is that if sex lasts longer you get less time to talk about it with your mates down the pub.

However we have seen a few spin-off ads such as "Want longer lasting luggage?".

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that ship sailed a long time ago

"Someone in my area summed it up neatly by spraypainting the corner of one of these gigantic billboard ads with the phrase "our kids can read you know"."

In the week where we have the story of the potential 13 year old father I think this is rather irrelevant now - besides with the UK education policies of the last 10 years it is also rather inaccurate!

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Unhappy

My vote...

Just get rid of all the $#!@$!@ billboards. I hate billboards.

Though in keeping with the spirit of the article, I will add that, here in the US, if you are driving down an interstate and crossing from a more "repressed" state to a more lax one... about 30 miles from the state line the billboards alerting you to new, erm, attractions awaiting you in the border-town really become quite O_O Believe me - your kids won't have to be able to read to start asking some awkward questions!

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Unhappy

Prudes

I work in Europe, and travelling through Holland the other day my head snapped round as the coach passed an advertisement of similar dimensions to this one, with a full length photograph of a horizontal, very naked man and woman, who were quite obviously having a great time (It was a condom advert!).

The point is old people, children and the public at large were walking past this ad with hardly a glance, traffic hadn't halted and things carried on generally without any comment and society didn't seem to be breaking down.

These things are mostly down to cultural prudishness.

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what i don't get

is surely this stuff has to go via the ASA BEFORE it hits the billboards? Surely they'd have known it was an invalid advert against regulation and so stopped it after? Or can I make a billboard that says 'Gordon's a feckin t**t' and wait for someone to complain (assuming anyone bothers)? I don't really understand the process of the ASA, do they only do anything if there's complaints AFTER the fact?

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Bronze badge

given the sort of spam that I get, plus these billboards...

I do fret over the general state of the male sexual function. Cialis, viagra, you name it, on a dozen spams a day, then these posters: it seems that the whole world has but one, erm, driving concern, and that is the failign erectile function in all men everywhere areound the world. The Yanks sell the stuff to Afghan warlords, it gets flogged on TV in the USA, we had the posters -- all this for something I don't hear many men moaning about (it's never happened to the guy I'm talking to, oh no).

Are chaps totally sure they want this omnipresent advertising, which is advertising thier phsyical underperformance? Does it not raise in every heterosexual woman's mind the clear understanding that men actually really can't get it up and need chemical assistance most of the time? What is this commanding sexual force that isupposedly makes men the big goriila, building, ruling, dominating, in short, Nature's natural leader? Because if it's all driven from a 'force' that needs little pills to keep, er, sustained, then maybe it's not Nature's natural dominator and we can stand chaps down from their claim to be genetic kings of the world.

Works for me.

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Re: Think of the kids

Isn't that what sex evolved for?

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Gold badge

ahh the spam

"all this for something I don't hear many men moaning about "

Well, of course not, NO ONE is going to admit they suffer from limp dick.

*shrug*. Seems kind of prudish, but here in the US no company would have even ATTEMPTED this ad.

You don't have ads for prescription meds there? We've got em all over. Actually it's odd, these ads, they're required to have some full list of complications, etc. available in a magazine. So the TV ad will make the med totally sound like the shit, list main possible side effects, they'll say like "See our ad in Mens Golfing Monthly" or whatever (it can be ANY magazine so it's a real odd one sometimes). THAT one is like a full page of fine print with, well I don't know I've never bothered to read one.

There's one REALLY odd medicine TV ad now.. it's like 2 and a half minutes long (most are 30 seconds)... it boils down to "No, our product has not been pulled off the market.. some studies have shown it causes fatal side effects but hey, one or two studies said it doesn't! You really should try it anyway!" It's super classy.

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Boffin

Nasal spray

I've read and re-read this story and am still baffled.

Why the hell would anyone want a stiff nose? Better a limp dick than a tumescent proboscis.

Anyway, well done, ASA: start allowing the scamming drugs companies to shove billboards anywhere -- and those companies certainly have more than enough money to burn -- and the entire country will be littered with prescription med ads and herbal ads and slimming ads.

We've banned smoking as a pollutant, about time we banned billboards, too. Damn Yanks.

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Boffin

@Henry Wertz

That would be Celebrex. And most of that ad is "all NSAIDs, including ibuprofen"(as if Aleeve and Motrin are dangerous) and "in some cases, the benefits outweigh the risks"; very little of it is side effects they want you to directly attribute to Celebrex. But no drug ads - I like the thought.

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