Sex sells, but for how much longer?

Brand Creative
Sex sells marketing advertising

In a society where career aspirations are driven by glamour modelling and an Only in Essex lifestyle, it looks like the UK Advertising Standard Agency (ASA) has finally climbed off the fence and announced new rules for outdoor advertising, which will restrict or even ban the display of sexual, or sexually provocative images.

The statement defines three categories, that covers mildly sexual photography through to sexually suggestive advertising.

The new rules comes as a response to a report by the UK Department of Education, which called for a reduction in the levels of sexuality that children are exposed to.

The ASA claims that it aims to protect children from inappropriate and irresponsible images. They will look at each case individually before deciding whether a ban or restrictions are necessary.

If images are found to be sexually suggestive, they can only be displayed outdoors if they are at least 100 metres away from locations where children are likely to gather, such as schools and playgrounds. Various factors such as the size and context of the advert, the product advertised, the public reaction and the advertising medium will also be taken into consideration when deciding which category the image belongs to.

It’s another step towards common decency, and protection of children, but perhaps is a little naive given the relaxation in recent years in films, TV and gaming. Isn’t it perhaps a little too late, or should every opportunity to clean up the streets be taken, no matter how small or ineffective the changes might be perceived?

Interestingly, I recently found out that schools will be teaching children under 12 about image retouching in a bid to break the media’s facade of the perfect body. Read my article on “Schools to teach pre-teens image retouching in advertising”.