Banter King: Offensive ads featuring slogan 'My Son Is A C***' banned by watchdog

8 September 2021, 08:42

The Banter King advert was ruled as being likely to cause serious or widespread offence
The Banter King advert was ruled as being likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Picture: Alamy
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

An advert for online novelty goods retailer Banter King, which contained images of mugs with "seriously offensive" slogans, has been banned after appearing in the Sky Sports app.

The online ad featured mugs emblazoned with the phrases "Cock Hungry Whore", "My Son Is A C***, he gets it from his father" and "Live, Laugh, Tosser".

One viewer, who saw the promotion on 27 April, complained it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and was irresponsibly targeted.

After launching an investigation, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that words such as "c***" were so likely to offend they should never be used in marketing "even if they were relevant to the product, unless very carefully targeted to an audience that was unlikely to be offended by them".

The UK ad regulator said: "We further considered that the words 'cock' and 'whore' were strong swear words that were also likely to cause serious offence to a general audience."

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Sky told the ASA that ads such as these would not usually be allowed on its Sports app, which is rated as having content suitable for all ages.

It added that the appearance of the advertisement was not the result of a proactive scheduling decision.

However, despite having a strong block list in place and rules that usually stop unsuitable or offensive ads appearing, content that is not up to its standards can occasionally pass through its filters, which had happened in this case.

Banter Group said it had not intended to cause offence and would be stricter over how and where it placed ads in the future.

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The ASA said: "The Sky Sports app was rated as having content suitable for all ages, and we considered it was likely to appeal to a broad audience.

"The advertiser provided no information on how they targeted their advertising, or if they used interest-based criteria when doing so.

"We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, and had not been responsibly targeted."

It also ruled that the promotion must not appear again in the form complained about, adding: "We told Banter Group to take care to avoid causing serious or widespread offence in future and to ensure their ads were appropriately targeted."