New Decisions: Gas station’s mobile app, safe sex messages and more

The following decisions have been published on the ASA website:

No safety issue with ad for BPMe mobile app service

The 30-second BP Oil television advertisement featured a man at a BP station avoiding a woman by using a BPMe app which allowed him to pay from his car.

The Complainant was concerned the advertisement was irresponsible since every filling station had signs informing customers to switch their mobile phones off on the forecourt and the advertisement encouraged people to directly contradict the signs.

The Advertiser said the advertisement did not portray the phone being used on the forecourt and included a shot of a safety message on the app reminding customers when they are using it not to do so on the forecourt.

The Complaints Board said the app was clear that users should not go onto the forecourt though this was shown briefly in the advertisement. The Complaints Board said the app was being used in the car and nothing in the advertisement encouraged unsafe behaviour.  The Complaint was Not Upheld.

MTV Staying Alive Foundation ad kept alive under Advocacy Rule

The MTV Staying Alive Foundation’s animated advertisement shows Dick the Dog and his owner out for a walk. The dog sees lips on a car’s exhaust pipe and the camera moves to show the owner’s blushing face. There is implied sex, off-screen, and the dog is kept safe by wearing a condom. 

The Complainant said the advertisement was ‘sick’, could encourage children to be cruel to animals, and was inappropriate for screening at any time.

The Advertiser said the advertisement dealt with serious social issues of safe sex and HIV prevention in a humorous way. Sexual activity was implied, but not shown and the advertisement did not contain anything that breached community standards or could cause serious offence. They did not believe that the presence of a condom on the dog’s head would encourage cruel or inappropriate behaviour.

The Complaints Board said the safe sex message was important. It said that treating a challenging topic in a light-hearted way could help engage a youth audience that is sometimes challenging to reach. The Board noted that a sexual act was inferred but not shown and this was part of the safe sex message and did not offend against prevailing community standards. The complaint was Not Upheld.

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