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Banning Advertisements: The Advertising Standards Authority Essay

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is a self regulatory organisation who regulates the contents of every still advert created to make sure that they are suitable enough to let out into society. There are many reasons why the ASA could chose to ban an advert and these can include offense, moral turpitude, or indecency. Every year, the ASA receives in excess of 26,000 complaints and every week they are forced to make rulings on whether adverts that appear to flout its regulations should be banned or not. One of the most popular adverts that has been banned by the ASA is ‘Killer Heels’ which was produced by the Newspaper Marketing Agency (NMA), it raised the subject of violence and sexism. Some people felt so strongly about this advert that they felt the need to complain to the ASA who then chose to ban it.

The advertisement is showing a large black stiletto-heeled shoe running through on the heel was the body of a man and the heel was standing in a pool of blood. The advertising agency made this killing scene trivialised and stylised since in the ‘real’ world there would be blood and guts. It may be thought that because the killing was unrealistic that it couldn’t be violent or offensive to anyone. Interestingly the ASA had an opposing viewpoint to this stylised killing and they thought that the NMA had gone a step too far by depicting a man impaled on the heel. So, they thought that there was violence no matter however it was showed and as a result it would trivialise violence against men and therefore inappropriate to keep but appropriate to ban. This kind of degrading reference to how men are weak is an unfair point since there are ways to show things which may not be so obvious, thus men’s dignity would be kept intac...


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... The clue given that the purpose of the advert wasn’t to sell shoes is because of the website since the NMA isn’t a shoe company it is the Newspaper Marketing Agency. So, this then adds a twist! This is a interesting dilemma.

Most adverts will have a big font that stands out and is easy to see however this advert has a medium sized font which is feminine and doesn’t look dominant on the advert. Usually on a typical advert at the top somewhere you will see the brand name in big letters, despite this the advertising agency didn’t include this in their advert, because there isn’t a brand name for this product. These shoes are called ‘Killer Heels’ and the advertising agency trick us into thinking that they are made by the NMA. In addition there is no tagline on the advert, this is because the picture is made to say everything; the advert is seen as a written text.


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