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Religious Watch


29th February
2012
  

Sofa King Easily Offended...

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More ludicrous claims of widespread offence by the PC extremists at ASA

sofa king low advert A regional press ad for The Sofa King, published on 4 August 2011, stated The Sofa King - Where the Prices are Sofa King Low! .

Three readers challenged whether the phrase Where the Prices are Sofa King Low! was offensive and unsuitable for general display.

The Sofa King said they had used the slogan Where the Prices are Sofa King Low! as their company strap line since they began trading nine years previously and that it was used on their premises and on their vehicles as well as in their advertising. They said complaints made to Northamptonshire Police in 2004 were not taken further by the Crown Prosecution Service and that no complaints had been made direct to them. They said the slogan simply used their company name to refer to pricing and that the words had not been changed or run together or punctuation used in a way that was intended to cause offence. They did not believe the slogan caused serious or widespread offence.

The Northampton Herald & Post said they had received two complaints about the slogan. They noted that the slogan also appeared on the advertiser's shop front and on their vehicles, and so could be seen by the public at any time. They said they had run the ad for some time with no complaints until now.

ASA Pronouncement: Complaints Upheld

The ASA noted that the phrase ... Sofa King Low! used the advertiser's company name but considered that it could be interpreted as a derivative of the swear word fuck , which consumer research had found to be a word so likely to offend that it should not be used in ads at all, even when it was relevant to the name of a product. Because of that, we concluded that the slogan was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and that the ad breached the CAP Code.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).

 

22nd March
2012
  

Update: Sofa King Right...

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Sofa King boss appeals the ASA ban on his advertising slogan

sofa king low advertThe owner of the Northampton Sofa King furniture has appealed an advert by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Last month, the ASA found an advert reading The Sofa King -- Where the prices are Sofa King Low! was supposedly likely to cause serious or widespread offence because it alluded to ''so fucking low'. The ASA claimed that the advertisement alluded to a word so likely to offend that it should not be used in advertisements at all.

But Mark Kypta, who has run Sofa King and used the slogan for 10 years, has argued the decision was not consistent with similar cases, including the ASA's rejection of 52 complaints against Burger King advertisements in 2010.

In 2010, 52 complaints were made against a Burger King advertising campaign that used phrases such as king tasty , king delicious and no king parking . The ASA allowed the advertisements, stating they were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence because they did not contain any explicit bad language.

Kypta is arguing that this reasoning should apply to the Sofa King's advertising too.

 

21st June
2012

 Update: Sofa King Secretive...

ASA revises decision about 'Sofa King Low Prices' but seems secretive as to why

hayden philips In February this year the ASA had a whinge about a long running Sofa King catchphrase:

The Sofa King -- Where the prices are Sofa King Low.

But Mark Kypta, who has run Sofa King and used the slogan for 10 years, argued the decision was not consistent with similar cases, including the ASA's rejection of 52 complaints against Burger King advertisements in 2010.

In 2010, 52 complaints were made against a Burger King advertising campaign that used phrases such as king tasty , king delicious and no king parking . The ASA allowed the advertisements, stating they were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence because they did not contain any explicit bad language.

And so Kypta said he had appealed against the ASA decision.

Then last week the ASA amended the wording to their Sofa King decision (without changing the overall decision that somehow the pun is likely to cause 'widespread offence').

The ASA noted that they had changed the wording but they seem secretive as to why. No mention of it being as a result of an appeal judgement, but surely it was.

It seems a very poor show that censorship imposed on the public should be subject to secretive judgments, but there you go. The system was set up for industry self censorship but has not been adapted when it was imposed on websites that have nothing to do with advertising industry.

Sofa King Low advert Anyway the appeal process adjudicated by Hayden Philips, the Independent Reviewer, ended up with the ASA wording for the Sofa King advert being changed as follows:

Original decision in February 2012:

The ASA noted that the phrase ... Sofa King Low! used the advertiser's company name but considered that it could be interpreted as a derivative of the swear word fuck , which consumer research had found to be a word so likely to offend that it should not be used in ads at all, even when it was relevant to the name of a product. Because of that, we concluded that the slogan was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and that the ad breached the CAP Code.

Revised decision in June 2012:

The ASA noted that the phrase ... Sofa King Low used the advertiser's company name but considered that, when spoken and heard, it sounded like a derivative of the swear word fuck . Because of that, we concluded that the slogan was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and that the ad breached the CAP Code.

The main change seems to be that the ASA removed their claims about 'consumer research'.

I wonder if the ASA themselves have been hypercritically hauled up for unsubstantiated claims?