Durex spared in slippery ASB case

By By Amy Kellow | 21 August 2012

The Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) has dismissed complaints against a spot for Durex Play Massage 2-in-1 Gel Lubricant, after suggestions the ad promoted anal sex.

The television spot, which aired across pay tv networks, is for Reckitt Benckiser's Durex Play Massage 2-in-1 Gel Lubricant and shows a couple in their late twenties in a bedroom, accompanied by the noise of a creaky bed.

The woman is seen lying on her stomach covered partly with a sheet, while her partner sits on her legs using the lubricant to massage her back. The man, dressed in boxer shorts, sites the massage as the cause of the creaky bed and silences it with the lubricant before resuming.

Complaints suggested the position of the couple promoted anal sex and that the tagline 'Love sex, love Durex' was a "technique to subliminally assimilate the word 'sex' with the brand name Durex within the human mind.

"Sexual scenes can quite clearly and obviously be seen and I think that the sex industry is starting to cross the line. Respectful of the fact that this advertisment has been aired during an 'M' rated television program, I still believe that the advertisment is distasteful.

"It is encouraging teenagers to do the wrong thing, most of which don't know the risks of sexual intercourse at this age", argued the consumer.

The ASB noted the nakedness in the spot but argued it was of a fleeting and modest nature and was therefore not inappropriate for viewing by a mature audience. It deemed the ad not to be a breach of section 2.4 of the Code of Ethics which states: "Advertising or marketing communications shall treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience."

The advertiser responded: "We are at a loss to understand how the complainant can allege that the advertisement carries a subliminal message that the product is for anal sex.

"Anal sex is not directly or, by any reasonable stretch of the imagination, indirectly referenced in the advertisement. We suggest that this allegation is more likely an artefact of a fertile imagination coupled with preconceived prejudices about the product."

Do you find the ad offensive? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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