News in the Ads #11

Right now I feel like I am on the receiving end of a bunch of Wizard of Oz sleeping poppies and Thai supply of Valium as I feel that tired, but with the week nearly over, I give to you a concise overview of this week’s top 5 advertising stories below-

1) ASA to clamp down on sexualised imagery in outdoor ads
Overtly sexually provocative billboards will be banned under new rules outlined by the Advertising Standards Authority as part of the industry’s response to the Bailey Review that was published in June.

Not child-friendly...

-> Considering that one saying in advertising is that “sex sells”, this might be one saucy step backwards for some brands. However, the ASA has vowed to address complaints over sexualised imagery by looking at the nature of the product, the context and location of the ad, the size of its audience and so forth. This means that girls in bikinis have got the green light, while women making sexually suggestive poses in areas of relevance to kids (e.g. in the bus-stop next to the playground) have got the no. Although oddly- most complaints apparently come from people concerned about the accuracy rather than the decency of adverts.

2) Microsoft’s $7.8bn Skype deal cleared by EC
The European Commission has given clearance to Microsoft’s $8.5bn (£5.2bn) acquisition of internet video-calling service Skype.

-> Oooh, internet giant wars are heating up as Microsoft has just won permission to acquire Skype, and as a result I plan big things ahead for MSN Messenger. As Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer comments- real-time communications with friends and family around the world is going to get even easier.

3) Facebook finally launches iPad app
Facebook has taken the wraps off its long-awaited app for the iPad, extending its presence in mobile devices.

-> Forgive me if I sound surprised, but I assumed that this had already happened. However, apparently in a strange-sounding tactic, Facebook have been sitting on the completed app since May, causing one of its engineers to quit in frustration (and no doubt suspense too). The app features a new layout for the site, with games, apps, groups and lists in a left-hand menu, and messages and notifications at the top of every screen.

4) Weetabix says goodbye to its child ambassadors
Weetabix will no longer use child brand ambassadors following the release of guidelines outlawing the practice.

Potentially the last that we will see of these two..

-> In response the Bailey Report (yes another response), the Advertising Association has encouraged several companies not to use people under the age of 16 ‘to actively promote brands’ due to fears regarding the commercialisation of children. Personally, I am thrilled with the news as it means no more watching children acting badly and then getting paid for it. The only exception being the lovely Milkybar Kid.

5) Domino’s online order top £1m a day
On Saturday 8th October, Domino’s Pizza booked over £1m worth of online orders with over 13% coming from mobile devices.

-> All I can think of is what a lot of tomato puree and mozzarella. The company has therefore demonstrated the success that comes from having a strong online presence and developing mobile applications. However, I also have to attribute some of its success to the chilly nights/human lazyness where going out to pick up that pizza is that little bit too taxing.


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