The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority banned a salacious Facebook ad for Unilever’s Pot Noodle product Wednesday, saying that the company abdicated its social responsibility by presenting a woman in lingerie in a manner that was “crass and degrading.”
Here’s the ad that got banned:
As we told you last year, the ASA is a self-regulatory watchdog that regularly bans sexy and violent advertisements it deems offensive. The ASA said Pot Noodle’s ad violated two of its rules requiring advertisers to be socially responsible and to refrain from publishing ads that are “likely to cause serious or widespread offence.”
What’s curious is that the banned ad might not have even been the most offensive of the three ads the ASA was asked to investigate from Pot Noodle’s “Peel the top off a hottie” campaign.
While it’s certainly not a paragon of progressive feminism, was it really worse than this ad for a Facebook game that invited users to peel the tops off noodle cups designed to look like breasts?
The ASA was cool with the cartoon ad, saying that the image was “puerile, rather than sexually explicit” and did not “condone the removal of a woman’s clothing without her consent or suggest that such an act was likely to be acceptable.”
The ASA also gave Unilever the go ahead to continue running a video ad in which a man on a bus flirts and dances with the woman depicted in the cartoon, only to ultimately realise that she is actually a man.
In a statement made to The New Statesman in May, a Pot Noodle spokesperson said the ads were “not intended to demean women in any way.”
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