Dumb ad ban of the week: The UNT mug

Badland: 

Firebox the jokey site that sells risqué sillyness like the Stress Mushrooms has been slapped on the wrist by the ASA for displaying "the UNT mug" prominently on their page. The UNT mug has, according to descriptions, excellent beverage serving abilities, oddly familiar selection of letters and a C-shaped handle. That's the funny.

The ASA states first that the product listing was an ad by their definition and then conclude that the ad would indeed cause widespread offence.

The full expletive had not been spelt out and, instead, used the handle of the mug to create the impression of the "C". However, the handle was painted black and matched the "UNT" letters on the mug, contrasting the white background. We considered consumers would therefore understand that the intended meaning of the "UNT" letters placed next to the "C" shaped handle was to spell "CUNT"; especially as the product was entitled the "UNT Mug". While, in the context of an online shop, it was likely that the ad would be mostly viewed by adults rather than by children, we considered that a clear allusion to the word 'cunt' was likely to offend and, therefore, marketing communications should only market products that contain expletives or words, or allusions to expletives or words that were likely to cause serious or widespread offence if they had given a clear and prominent warning on their website to potential viewers. We concluded the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

We recommend the fucking strong coffee to go with your UNT mug, should you buy it now. Which of course you will now that you finally heard of this UNT mug, thanks to the ASA ban. Cheapest advertising yet.

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Leave a comment