We're only half way through 2012 but these controversial adverts have already been banned in the UK.
Special K is in hot water after misleading consumers in its recent TV ad campaign.
In the ad, viewers watch as a woman pours milk over her Special K cereal. The ad boasts that a bowl of Special K contains just 114 calories – but failed to account for the calories in the milk.
[Related article: Special K advert banned over milk]
A complaint was made to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) that the ad was misleading as it didn’t include the calories in the milk. Manufacturer Kellogg’s argued not everyone has their cereal with milk, with some preferring orange juice or natural yoghurt.
But the ASA reprimanded Kellogg’s, banning the ad and insisting Special K clarify whether the calorie count includes milk in future ads.
It’s not been plain sailing in the fashion world, either. Brands American Apparel and H&M have come under fire for particularly racy ads this year.
American Apparel saw eight of its website ads banned in April, including two seen above, after they were described as “gratuitous…pornographic and exploitative” by the ASA.
[Related article: Controversial fashion and beauty ads]
The ads for the brand featured semi-naked young women modelling its clothes in a provocative manner. The ASA ruled that because they were modelling clothes, not lingerie, the shots of models’ breasts and buttocks were the "focal points of the images rather than the products [clothes]” and were unsuitable.
They also said that the ads “inappropriately exploited and sexualised young women.”
American Apparel refuted the claims, arguing that the ads featured "real, non-airbrushed, everyday people" that normal women could relate to.
Nevertheless, the ASA banned eight of the nine of the images that were complained about and American Apparel were ordered not to use similar images in the future.
Luckily for us ladies, the half-naked ads featuring David Beckham in his boxers escaped such strict treatment!
David Beckham launched his Bodywear for H&M line in February this year – but some consumers branded the footballer’s ad campaign “offensive”.
[Related article: Children to be shown airbrushed Britney Spears pictures]
The ASA ruled that while the ads did feature David in “only a pair of tight trunk briefs” they considered that Beckham’s poses and facial expressions were “mildly sexual at most.”
They added that because the ad was for an underwear range and didn’t feature explicit nudity, they didn’t consider the ad as “unsuitable for children to see”, and concluded it was “not socially irresponsible.”
In the beauty world, L’Oreal was slammed for using a ‘misleading’ image of actress Rachel Weisz in its magazine ads back in February.
The ads, promoting the brand’s Revitalift anti-wrinkle cream, were found to “misleadingly exaggerate the performance of the product.”
[Related article: Should airbrushing be banned? The experts weigh in]
The ASA ruled that the image (seen above) “had been altered in a way that substantially changed her [Weisz’s] complexion to make it appear smoother and more even” and L’Oreal was banned from using the advert in its current form.
We’re all for the natural, un-airbrushed look here at Y! Lifestyle…
Meanwhile, confectionary brand Kraft was condemned for a leaked Oreo’s ad. The ad (seen above), featured a baby sucking on his mother’s nipple with an Oreo in hand, and read “Milk’s Favorite Cookie” at the bottom.
[Related article: L’Oreal’s airbrushing ads banned]
Kraft insisted the ad was leaked and never meant for public viewing. It’s rumoured to have come from Cheil Worldwide - an independent advertising agency based in South Korea - and was supposedly created for use at an advertising forum.
Nevertheless, the ad received a public outcry and Kraft, which recently bought Cadbury’s – was forced to make a grovelling apology.
And it’s not just on land that people are complaining. Airline Ryanair was branded ‘sexist’ this winter after 11,000 people called one of its adverts ‘demeaning’ and signed a petition to have it taken down.
[Related article: Retouched images that have gone too far]
The ad (seen above) featured two scantily-clad Ryanair cabin crew members with the headline ‘red hot fares and crew’.
The ASA received 17 complaints that the ad was sexist, objectified cabin crew and was "offensive and unsuitable" to appear in national newspapers. They upheld the complaints and banned the ads from appearing in the press.
Ryanair defended the campaign, saying the ads were not sexist and didn’t objectify women, as the images were taken from a charity calendar and the flight attendants had agreed to appear.
It looks like 2012 has been a busy year so far for the ASA. Let’s hope the latter half of 2012 isn’t as eventful…