My Talking Tom children's game has sex ads appear in it

Twice now, the creators of 'My Talking Tom' smartphone app have drawn complaints for serving ads with inappropriate images of semi nude and nude women, coupled with explicit wording. Two pop-up ads for "Affairalert.com", placed by Plymouth Associates Ltd, appeared in the 'My Talking Tom' app earlier this year in August, it has now happened again. The ads show selfies of women with suggestive invitations like "Wanna fuck?" written on a mirror. The text below the image asked "Want to fuck her?" with the options "Yes", "Maybe" and "No". As you can see from the image above, all of the ads for Affairalert.com are more or less raunchy variants of this.

Two parents of children aged seven and three years old who were using the app when the ads appeared, and they complained to the Advertising Standards Authority. The parents said that the ads "inappropriately and irresponsibly placed" in a game likely to be played by children. The ASA ruling stated that there was no evidence to suggest the ad had been maliciously placed. Despite this not being the first time this company Outfit7 Ltd, which runs the app, has had sexually explicit ads placed in kids apps. In June this year they were reported because an ad for Ewank.com showed an image of seven naked women involved in sexual activity appeared in their app.

Responding to the complaint Outfit7 Ltd, who operated the “My Talking Tom” app, said although their apps were not directed at children, they strove to be family friendly and had a number of advertising restrictions in place, which formed part of their agreements with ad partners. Those restrictions defined what content was prohibited from being displayed in their apps and any breach could result in an immediate termination of the agreement with an advertiser. Plymouth Associates, the owner of Affairalert.com, claimed they had no role in placing the ad and believed a malicious third party may have been involved. They stressed that they would never intentionally allow an ad to appear in a place children could view it.

So there you have it, kids, people who place ads don't know how they end up where they do, and people who have ad media don't know how the ads that appear there arrive. Little wonder then, that people are ad blocking on device level to ensure they don't fill their screens with malware, possible porn, and whatever else. The ads on Googles Android platform can contain sex and nudity, heck the Google Adsense network has even served abusive porn ads on a national newspaper, but Google Adsense banned Adland for showing lingerie advertising. Then they unbanned us, and I wrote "despite the many bare bottoms in advertising", which basically ensured they'd ban us again. Which they did.

Meanwhile, your two year old sees hookup ads on their My Talking Tom game, available at the Google Play store, and nobody is responsible for it. Welcome to the brave new world of passing the buck.

The ASA concluded that Plymouth Associates must ensure their ads were targeted appropriately and did not appear in apps that were played by children in future. Good luck with that!

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