Barnardo's under investigation for using f-word

The Advertising Standards Authority is investigating complaints about the use of the f-word in Barnardo's latest campaign.

The children’s charity’s advertising in the national press, which features young children, conveys the message that Barnardo’s is there for even the most troubled youths when other support has failed.

The ads, which have run in The Times and The Daily Telegraph, have received two complaints because of the use of the swear word.

“We are investigating this because the bad language is offensive,” said an ASA spokesman. “It is the word that appears at the top of the list of the most offensive swear words under our guidance.

“We have written to Barnardo’s to notify them that we have received the complaints, we are investigating it and we have given them the opportunity to write to us and defend their corner.”

The process is likely to take two weeks.

The ASA has also asked a religious pressure group not to repeat in its current format for a campaign advertisement criticising equality regulations. The ad, which was headlined “SEX”, asked: “So what do the Government’s newly proposed sexual orientation regulations do?” It featured a list of questions including: “Force a printing shop run by a Christian to print flyers promoting gay sex?” and “Force a family-run B&B to let out a double room to a transsexual couple, even if the family think it is in the best interests of their children to refuse to allow such a situation in their own home?”

The advertisement ended with the statement: “Placed by Coherent and Cohesive Voice, a network of hundreds of Christian leaders in the UK representing hundreds and thousands of voters.” It received 51 complaints after appearing in The Times and the official magazine of the House of Commons, The House Magazine.

The ASA upheld the complaints from The Gender Trust, which complained that the reference to transexual was misleading because the proposed regulations related to sexual orientation and not to gender. It also upheld objections from the Civil Service Alliance that the ad was inaccurate and misrepresented the Government’s proposed changes to legislation.

Other complains not upheld included grievances that the ad provoked homophobic behaviour and wrongly represented the views of all Christians in the UK. Several complainants said the headline was offensive as it reduced the identity of gay people to one thing.

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