A TV ad promoted Beats Pill speakers.
The ad featured Robin Thicke, performing his single Blurred Lines , and three female models. Throughout the ad, the song was played with the lyrics Everybody get up ... Good girl, I know you want it, I know you want it, I know you want it,
you're a good girl, can't let it get past me, you're far from plastic, talk about getting blasted, I hate these blurred lines.
The ad opened with a close-up shot of one of the women holding the Beats Pill against her chin as she mimed to the words Everybody get up . Throughout the ad, the women were shown wearing crop tops and hot pants as they danced and interacted with
Robin Thicke and the product. In one scene they were shown lifting Beats Pills as if they were dumbbells and in another, one of the women was shown holding a Beats Pill in a hotdog bun. Another shot showed all the women dressed in see-through nurses'
uniforms over their hot pants and crop tops. The following shot showed one model looking through two Beats Pills as if they were binoculars. Towards the end, a woman was shown kneeling on her hands and knees with a Beats Pill laid on her back.
The ASA received 97 complaints about the ad.
A number of the complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive because it was sexist, objectified women and was degrading to women.
A number of the complainants challenged whether the ad was inappropriate to be broadcast at a time when children would be watching TV, because they believed it was overtly sexual.
Some complainants challenged whether the models featured were irresponsibly thin.
1. Not upheld
The ASA noted that the ad was intended to be playful and comic, and its content was based on the Blurred Lines music video and served to show the portable and convenient nature of the Beats Pill product.
We considered that a number of scenes, such as those in which the women were dressed as nurses, were holding the Pill in a hotdog roll and using the product as dumbbells, were sexually suggestive. We also noted that, in comparison to a fully clothed
Robin Thicke, the women were shown in crop tops and hot pants, dancing and interacting with the product, and that the ad included a number of shots of their bottoms and exposed midriffs, with their heads obscured. In addition we noted that the women were
often looking directly at the camera, pouting or putting their fingers near, or to, their mouths. We also noted the final scene, when one of the women was shown on all fours, in what we considered to be a provocative position, with the product on her
However, while we accepted that some viewers might find elements of the ad distasteful, particularly the shots of the women's bodies with their heads obscured and the shot of the woman on all fours, we considered that those shots were brief, and when
taken as a whole, the ad did not show sustained, overtly sexual or provocative behaviour. We also considered that most viewers would recognise the stylised nature of the ad and understand that it was reflective of a music video. Therefore, whilst we
acknowledged a number of viewers might find the content of the ad distasteful, we did not consider that the ad was likely to result in widespread or serious offence and concluded that it was not in breach of the Code.
On that point, we investigated the under BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.
The ASA noted that both Beats and Clearcast believed that the ad was only mildly sexual in nature, playful and comical, and that children would not understand the mild innuendo associated with the shape and use of the product in the ad. We noted that the
ad did not contain any explicit nudity or intimate interaction between the characters, but did include shots focusing on the women's headless bodies and a number of sexually suggestive scenes. Therefore, we considered the overall tone of the ad was
sexual, and concluded that the ad was not suitable for broadcast before 7.30 pm.
On that point, the ad breached BCAP Code rule 32.3 (Under-16s).
3. Not upheld
We noted that all the women featured in the ad were slim, and that the outfits they were wearing, along with the shots of their bodies and of them dancing and working out using the product, emphasised their body shape. We considered, however, that
the ad was stylised and reflective of the characters and images generally seen in music videos, and that the models did not look underweight. We therefore concluded that the ad was not irresponsible.
On that point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Responsible advertising), and 4.2 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach. Action
The ad must not be broadcast again before 7.30 pm.