back to article ASA tells Poundland and its teabagging elf: Enough with the smutty social ninja sh*t

The UK's gummy-mouthed Advertising Standards Agency has given Poundland a gentle spank over a series of smutty tweets and posts on Facebook published over the Xmas period. The budget store positioned toy character Elfie at the centre of the double entendre laden #ElfBehavingBad* campaign, eliciting complaints from 85 people …

  1. Ol'Peculier

    Thank Bob the ASA don't have the power to censor radio shows - but by this it appears they don't have a "Clue" either.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Anyone old enough to understand the humour in Clue is going to be old enough to cope with the smutty innuendo. And I'm pretty sure no-one under the age of 45 listens to Radio 4 anyway (though I wish I'd tuned in before I reached that age!).

      1. SuccessCase

        What prudes. It's not as though there isn't a tradition of accepting the exposure of children to double entendres. What, for example, is more British than taking your children to a Christmas Pantomime? The double entendre's are equally if not more obvious and just as "bad." It just goes above the children's heads and that's part of the fun of it.

        1. Aqua Marina Silver badge

          Ditto, the Tussauds Waxworks in Blackpool has blown-up (as in poster sized, not exploded) traditional double entendre Blackpool post cards all over the walls as you walk round. Just something to have a titter about.

  2. TRT Silver badge

    But a gaggle of women...

    viewing a buff male undressing to take a bath from behind a one-way mirror is clearly neither voyeuristic nor offensive.

    Pff!

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: But a gaggle of women...

      Is this IRL? Because I'd say it is voueuristic. of course it is.

      1. Steve Foster

        @Hollerithevo

        It references an advert shown in the run-up to Christmas, and has essentially quoted the script of that advert.

        Coca-Cola have run several adverts on the same theme (of groups of women ogling male flesh), although theirs were marginally less overtly sexual in nature.

      2. TRT Silver badge

        Re: But a gaggle of women...

        This p.o.s.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: But a gaggle of women...

          Those of you hitting thumbs down... why, exactly?

          I find the advert contemptible; it presents an unrealistic male body image, portrays these women as fixated on appearance, is overtly sexual in nature and if the sexes of the participants had been the other way around would have never even been aired. Not that perfume adverts ever seem to make any sense; they sell you the image of course; Johnny Depp with a shovel in the sweltering desert heat next to a road and a dead animal isn't a fragrance I'd think would be too popular, nor is essence of wet tiger, or eau du battleship.

          I posted a link as some people don't seem to have seen it.

          1. CRConrad

            One possible reason for the downvotes:

            Dunno for sure if that link actually pointed to the ad you're talking about back when you posted it, but at least now, nigh on a year later, it doesn't. It's ten minutes of arcade classic gameplay, Atari Asteroids (“Copyright© Atari 1979”).

            Im thinking you typoed it, because AFAIK YouTube doesn't re-use video IDs.

  3. Steve K Silver badge

    Bah

    If they want a double-entendre then I'd love to give them one.

    (Oo-er matron etc.)

    1. defiler Silver badge

      Re: Bah

      Came here for this comment. Was not disappointed.

      Very good, all.

  4. wolfetone Silver badge

    84 people obviously don't have better things to do with their time.

    1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

      According to Poundland, tens of thousands of people commented or shared the posts, so I'd say that there are tens of thousands of people who obviously don't have better things to do with their time!

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Ladies and gentlemen we have found one of the 84!!!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Maybe it has something to do with 1984 and censorship?

        2. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

          @ Wolfetone

          I love that the "one" was at least consistent enough to down vote both of your posts!

          1. wolfetone Silver badge

            I'm glad they can't report comments on El Reg to the ASA.

            1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

              "I'm glad they can't report comments on El Reg to the ASA."

              Indeed not, otherwise I would now be in serious trouble:

              "The Register: Making you more productive, more attractive and generally a lot richer, financially! People will want to know YOU!"

    2. 's water music Silver badge
      Windows

      84 people obviously don't have better things to do with their time.

      Whereas all the other people on teh twitters*...

      *and me and @woldetone here obvs.

      More constructive use of time---->

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this anything to do with that "new" Christmas tradition, elf on your self?

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Apparently, indoctrinating children into the surveillance state is en vogue.

  6. waldo kitty
    Angel

    I'm trying to figure out how Twinings determined it was their tea bag. It looks like a Lipton bag to me but it could be any number of tea bags.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      They [Twinings] also don't seem to have realised that they have distanced themselves from any kind of sense of humour whatsoever.

      Good on Poundland for not bowing and scraping with some kind of pathetic apology. Apparently someone still has teabags in this country.

      1. ThomH Silver badge

        What amazes me here is that Poundland should have come out of this campaign looking bad for just not being funny. Instead they've come out ahead due to the contrast with proclaimers of moral outrage.

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge
      Joke

      I'm trying to figure out how Twinings determined it was their tea bag

      "I like my tea like I like my women - loose"

      1. Natalie Gritpants

        I like mine like I like my cocoa

        Hot, sweet, rich and thick.

        1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: I like mine like I like my cocoa

          Hot, sweet, rich and thick.

          and dark brown and tasting of chocolate?

        2. knottedhandkerchief

          Re: My idea of a perfect date

          Sweet, brown and very sticky.

        3. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

          Re: I like mine like I like my cocoa

          I must be doing it wrong then.... I leave my women like I take my coffee: cold, dark, and bitter

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I like my tea like I like my women - hot, dark and wet in my mug"

    3. HkraM

      I'm trying to figure out how Twinings determined it was their tea bag.

      There was a Twinings box behind the Elf in the original ad. An updated version removed the box.

    4. davemcwish

      Re: How long...

      @waldo kitty

      The original Elf/teabag/woman image had the product box shown.

    5. tiggity Silver badge

      There was an original image with a Twinings Tea Bag box included.

      Twinings whinged

      So a new image (sans Twinings box) was created and original tweet deleted.

      I'll admit to viewing the odd Poundland tweet (as friend tipped me off that they were silly & puerile and so right up my street)

      HTH

  7. Cosmo
    Pint

    Poundland pulled a blinder here

    Whilst I am not a believer of the phrase "There's no such thing as bad publicity" - Poundland have played a beauty here. I expect that the majority of those that complained have never set foot in a Poundland and never will, so they haven't lost any custom, but got themselves a glut of free advertising just before the Christmas break!

  8. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    "I want to poker" isn't demeaning to women. It's demeaning to ugly women.

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      How brilliant

      Is that good old fashioned 1970s British humour?

  9. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Dear World

    This...

    Feeling grumpy.

  10. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    Fondly referencing 'Carry On',...

    ... if Poundland think 70s references are relevant and defensible, I challenge them to make a series of adverts based on the 70s TV series 'Love They Neighbour'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fondly referencing 'Carry On',...

      Hey, Grunty - see that thing waaaay over in the distance?

      That's the point. You missed it by that much.

      1. Da Weezil

        Re: Fondly referencing 'Carry On',...

        Watch "Love Thy Neighbour" without your own racial preconceptions and you may see it for what it really is, a comedy about some equally bigoted guys being made to look pathetic childish and small by their wives. Eddie was an ignorant fool with too big a mouth and Bill was a hothead ready to rise to any perceived insult.

        I am so sick of being criticized for my sense of humour by those with none at all.

        Roll on the summer... hopefully the snowflakes will melt away.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fondly referencing 'Carry On',...

      Both my parents are from the West Indies. Their favourite shows were Love thy Neighbour and the Black and White Minstrel show. The found Love Thy Neighbour hilarious as it made fun of bigots and racists, even though they experienced real racism. I have no clue why the liked the Minstrel show. Poor taste?

      They didn't know they were meant to be offended.

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        @A/C Re: Fondly referencing 'Carry On',...

        The found Love Thy Neighbour hilarious as it made fun of bigots and racists

        The scary thing is that some people don't understand this level of humor and don't realize that Alf Garnett, Al Murray's The Pub Landlord, etc are the ones being laughed at.

        1. Kevin Fairhurst

          Re: @A/C Fondly referencing 'Carry On',...

          The people who get the joke are laughing at them, and the people who don't realise it's an elaborate act laugh along with them. Win/win for the comedian concerned!

      2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: Fondly referencing 'Carry On',...

        and I was accused of missing the point. It's not relevant that the show was more about two pig headed men. It's whether you'd dare to make a show like that _now_ . So citing 70s mores as a defense for the 'humour' in the Elf ad campaign really isn't relevant today, is it?

  11. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    Nowt wrong with a bit of smut, but Poundland should be soundly punished for publishing ads that aren't remotely funny or clever.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      ...ads that aren't remotely funny or clever

      well you see the problem started when they got the quote from the advertising agency...

      How much?

      Pound.

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: ...ads that aren't remotely funny or clever

        "well you see the problem started when they got the quote from the advertising agency...

        How much?

        Pound."

        Now THAT was funny :D

  12. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    We ask that you send a strong signal that you are supportive of creativity in advertising.

    Nothing against smutty, but I think they're flattering themselves when they call it "creative".

  13. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Coat

    Storm in a teacup?

    Sorry, but someone had to say it.

  14. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Obviously this is an elfin safe tea directive.

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Bravo

      Bravo Sir/Madam!

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: Bravo

        That should be incorporated into the headline, nicely done :)

  15. Pete 2 Silver badge

    The power and the glory

    > The ASA, which has the power to ask ...

    I am sure Poundland and every other advertiser is quaking in their boots. Imagine that! Being asked not to display an advertisement.

    Although in this case the ASA's power is commensurate with the harm done: both stand at zero

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: The power and the glory

      If they breach that, the ASA can then move up to not allowing their ads to be published without being pre-vetted.

      Although in the new days of Internet advertising, this threat is probably less strong than it used to be. I bet Google and Facebook don't comply.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Elf walks into a bar and asks for a double entendre

    You can work out the rest.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Elf walks into a bar and asks for a double entendre

      Barman says "Fuck me ... an Elf" ?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Elf walks into a bar and asks for a double entendre

        Barman says "I'm sorry, I can't serve you; you look like you're Legolas already."

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Coffee/keyboard

    Ut oh

    Let's all pray that the ASA doesn't notice El Reg's Playmobil shenanigans.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Ut oh

      No danger, no people of yoof on here - how would they cope with plain text comments, rit10 wiv no abbrevs?

      1. Kevin Fairhurst

        Re: Ut oh

        i read that as rot10 and dryeqrd ofobidrsxq kpdobgkbnc gkc qysxq dy lo oxmbizdon vsuo drsc!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't the 'humour' a tad highbrow?

    These are Poundland punters after all.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Isn't the 'humour' a tad highbrow?

      The El Reg reader / Poundland consumer Venn diagram is not o o ... they do intersect.

      .. albeit primary reason is because there is a branch very close to a rail station I often use, so I buy the odd Twin Peaks bar or whatever

  19. Barrie Shepherd

    The ASA is a good example of unintended consequences.

    Set up to control the accuracy of adverts in relation to products and services and to prevent "snake oil" claims for products they have now moved into social engineering which currently seems to be the removal of any humour and general censorship.

    I'm OK with their policing the extremes of prejudice but they should not have the right, triggered by low numbers of "Offended individuals", to spoil the innocent fun for the majority.

    Why the FCUK they can't see the fun is beyond me.

  20. tiggity Silver badge

    Twiitter feeds

    if ASA start treating all twitter feed posts by a company as adverts (and thus demand to pre vet everything posted) it could all get very silly, checking every tweet.

    .. Though I'm half expecting a Poundland post with an image of several bells, all with an ASA logo on their "ends" or similar

  21. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Before we knew it was an actual company...

    ...our internal software group named themselves "megahard group". They had a nice, massive, cylindrical sign thrust rigidly at attention by the doorway... With two spherical shrubs planted at the bottom.

    Complaints? Zip. Even the older women would grin at the sign... You've got to have real balls to display one like that these days!

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