The Advertising Standards Authority here in the UK decided earlier this month that this advert by Adidas UK should not be used following 24 complaints. The full ruling is here.
I wasn’t aware of this advert before all the media stories about the ban. I did not see the original tweet or any of the posters but 24 people obviously did and complained. Were these people a vocal minority? I don’t know how many people saw the original tweet or poster but were supportive or not fussed. There is no practical way for me to find out.
This decision by the Advertising Standards Authority is clear what the rules are. So it got me thinking what the rules are in other countries.
The research I have done has not been easy. The language barrier, if the codes are published in the native language, is the biggest hurdle. Finding the relevant sections in English versions has been hard enough, so add in a foreign language you can say has been challenging.
In the US, for example, there appears to be both national and state codes. If I was a full time researcher I would happily take the time to look through all of these but I’m not going to.
France is one country I have found that seems to allow nudity in their advertising. According to section 1.2 of the portrayal and respect of the human beings section it says:
When nudity is used in an advertisement, it must not be degrading or alienating and must not reduce human to object.ARPP Code 2017
There are probably other countries that might have allowed this advert from Adidas UK but I can’t confirm it.
This campaign seems genuine in wanting to change how women are perceived. There does seem to be a desire to move away from the unattainable airbrushed look to a more realistic depiction. I can’t imagine the rules changing in the UK any time soon. So campaigns like this will always fall foul of these codes.