back to article Ads watchdog: Er, what does woman in her undies have to do with ‘slim’ phone?

Mobile phone company Kazam has been put on the naughty step by the Advertising Standards Authority after viewers complained its "world's slimmest phone" ad caused offence by overtly sexualising women. The ASA noted that much of the ad focused entirely on an actor in her underwear, "including scenes that featured several close- …

  1. Jim 59

    Pics or it didn't happen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Enjoy. Or be appalled at the crass insensitivity and objectification. Whatever. You have to sit through almost the entire ad before you see the gorgeously slim phone, but it's worth it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I have nothing but the deepest pity for any country that doesn't have a First Amendment.

        1. FartingHippo

          Well I thoroughly enjoyed the advert. Oh, yes!

          What was it advertising again?

          1. VinceH

            Re: Well I thoroughly enjoyed the advert. Oh, yes!

            "What was it advertising again?"

            A teleportation device that, whenever you receive a phone call, teleports the phone to one of your pockets so that it is within earshot as it rings.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Eddy Ito

            Re: @AC

            Very true, the proof is that just over a decade ago the words "wardrobe malfunction" entered the national lexicon as a taboo of Bulgarian airbag proportions.

        3. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

          We DO..

          ...have the first amendment. And all the others. Because we don't have a written constitution, we can change anything we like.

          I have nothing but the deepest pity for any country that has a written constitution, and hence has to try to mould 18th century thinking and concerns into 21st century situations. How's that one about the federal government not being able to regulate state commerce working for you? Or the 3rd, 12th or 18th amendments?

        4. foxyshadis

          I feel the deepest pity for Americans who don't know that the FCC and FTC regulates our ads, too. Especially the sexy ones.

        5. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. mythicalduck

        Thanks for the link - but no wonder the phone is flat, she ironed the damn thing!!!

      3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        FFS... Objectification

        This should have been nailed as false advertising.

        Show me that it survives the steam rowenta treatment. I want to see that. Test results or it did not happen.

      4. Deryk Barker

        She leaves her jeans and shirt hanging over the back of the sofa?...quelle slut.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        was there a phone in the video?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's on their website

      Pics or it didn't happen.

      Either they only blocked it for UK users or they "failed" to update their website, but I just came across it when investigating this phone. Pity the specs are so deficient (of the phone :).

      As for the complaint, that's it. I'm going to complain the next time an overly exercised hunk blows a gaping hole in the ozone layer by emptying an entire can of Lynx deodorant on himself instead of taking a shower. I feel stereotyped*

      * I'm wholly against exploitation, but is that really worth a complaint? Who reanimated Mary Whitehouse?

      1. Mike VandeVelde
  2. Fab De Marco

    Diet Coke Break?

    Conversely what does a shirtless gardener have to do with a sugarless beverage?? Surely it should show a sweaty fat guy mowing the lawn shirtless drinking coke so that he can lose weight..... Hold on, that won't help sell soft drinks.

    It's the oldest rule in advertising; sex sells. Deal with it and move on.

    1. Anonymous Coward
    2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Diet Coke Break?

      I put the lime onin the cockCoke...

      Now, that was disturbing...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never heard of Kazam before

    But now I'm going to have to take a butcher's at their ad.

  4. adam payne

    The advert is there to sell a product. Hardly anything in adverts has anything to do with the product.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Except Ronseal.

      1. FartingHippo

        And Barry Scott and his Cillit Bang (and the stain has gone!)

        1. dogged
          Black Helicopters

          I'm still appalled by that Cillit Bang ad.

          He lies straight out of the box. He is not Barry Scott. He's an actor playing the part of Barry Scott. He is Neil Burgess. There never was a Barry Scott.

          After that, how can you believe any of it?

          1. TRT Silver badge

            I don't want to know what stains Bold 3 will remove that Bold 2 wouldn't. I want to know what stains Bold 3 won't remove that the under development Bold 4 will. That way, I can avoid getting those stains in the first place.

          2. MrT

            Cillit Bang...

            ...I was just reading that chapter in Dave Gorman's "Too much information" about an hour ago - classic rant!

            1. wolfetone Silver badge

              Re: Cillit Bang...

              Surprised there's all this talk of Ronseal and Cillit Bang when the biggest liar here is Lynx.

              I bought that stuff hoping, praying, I would get a girlfriend when I was a teenager using the stuff.

              I've been diddled again.

              1. ukgnome

                Re: Cillit Bang...

                You wore it and got diddled? Lucky bugger.

                All i got was ridiculed.

                1. TRT Silver badge

                  Re: Cillit Bang...

                  I'm still using it.

                  I think the flavour I use is called "Hope Springs Eternal".

                  Having said that... how, just HOW, did they get away with releasing an underarm roll-on of the flavour "Original" whilst at the same time flashing the label "New"?

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Cillit Bang...

                    Having said that... how, just HOW, did they get away with releasing an underarm roll-on of the flavour "Original" whilst at the same time flashing the label "New"?

                    How do they get away with emptying half a can on an armpit without getting buried under complaints from environmentalist (btw, if you do this amount of spraying, consider taking a shower instead - too much deo makes just for a different but just as abhorrent BO)?

                    1. TRT Silver badge

                      Re: Cillit Bang...

                      Ah yes. Shower in a can.

  5. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Overtly sexualising women

    What's wrong with that?

    Women are still allowed to be sexy, aren't they?

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Overtly sexualising women

      You seem to have missed the memo. A woman is only allowed to be sexy when she intends to be in a self empowering way especially relatively to a man. There is also an additional rule that it must also be acceptable to the puritanical feminazis and not be deemed to bring any shame what-so-ever on females at all in any respect (this part overrules the rights of free will).

      Of course we all know the coke ads were all about the cola, and nothing to do with the oogling, leering, uninvited and shameless voyeurism of the watching ladies. Honest.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Overtly sexualising women

        You only have to look at adverts aimed at women (particularly those in women's mags) to see ads that would make most guys blush.

        And if you think sexist attitudes towards women only exist with men - you should hear what lesbians have to say about other women!

        And get a bunch of drunk women together and heaven help any guy who strays within their detection zone...

      2. Velv

        Re: Overtly sexualising women

        The Diet Coke ads always puzzled me.

        Is it really the blatant sexist sell to women of the hunky guy stripping off?

        Or is it much subtler. Is it trying to sell Diet Coke to men, since let's face it ALL the women in the Diet Coke ads are pretty foxy, so which straight guy wouldn't aspire to be the workman/lift operator/lawnmower man.

        Mines the one with the spray stains...

      3. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: Overtly sexualising women

        "You seem to have missed the memo. A woman is only allowed to be sexy when she intends to be in a self empowering way especially relatively to a man"

        Not only that, but to a specific man.

        Any other men had better not find her attractive and make unwanted advances, because they would be.. well.. unwanted, and she'll take offence.

        But don't ignore her or indicate she's unattractive either as she'll, yup, take offence.

    2. Viper1j

      Re: Overtly sexualising women

      Women can never be sexy, as long as we are haunted by the ghost of Andrea Dworkin.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Overtly sexualising women

        She is Dworkin all right. In the Zelazny context for this name.

  6. BoldMan

    Here you go... (probably NSFW)

    Nice, but I can see the ASA's point...

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Thanks for the link.

      I can't see what's the problem with this? I'm sure I've seen many ads on TV in prime time with more flesh and less content than this one...

    2. D@v3

      Damn Flash!

      i thought youTube was supposed to be fixed to not require flash?

      1. Midnight

        Re: Damn Flash!

        Only if you visit the magic page every now and then.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Come to sunny Spain

      Every ad break has an ad like this... and the programmes too if they can't think of anything else to fill up the time, which often happens.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    At least a good design can make a product attractive and desirable.

    Now explain to me how overtly sexualised dancing by a woman is the message you want to get across to shift some overpriced tins of sodding cat food...

    1. Oninoshiko

      Re: At least a good design can make a product attractive and desirable.

      intended message: "It's good for your pussy"

      too bad we don't have a Mrs. Slocombe icon...

  8. Zog_but_not_the_first

    How many...

    ... people have to complain to trigger this sort of response? If there are thousands of complaints, then OK. Maybe even hundreds, but if it's a few tens or less why should a tiny minority's views prevail over a large (but silent) majority?

    Should the squeaky hinge always get the oil?

    1. KroSha

      Re: How many...

      8 complaints.

      Generally, very few members of the public actually bother to contact the ASA. Back in 2011, the ASA released their top ten. No 10 had 840 complaints.

      1. TheProf

        Re: How many...

        I once complained about an advert.

        It was for an 'Italian' margarine. Two elderly women picnicking on a beach kicked their dog which ran off and stole the towel from a young man who was using it to change beneath after a swim. The two laughing women then photographed the naked man.

        The ASA eventually wrote back presenting the findings of their investigation. Amongst the complaints they'd received were:

        Stereotyping of Italians:

        Cruelty to a dog.

        Humiliation of a young man by two elderly women.

        The ASA rejected all the complaints because the advert was obviously intended to be humorous.

        I failed to see the joke.

      2. mrjohn

        Re: How many...

        From the ASA link

        Kazam Online Ltd t/a Kazam Mobi

        Beaver Industrial Estate

        Unit A2



        TN23 7SH


  9. Phuq Witt

    That explains it

    For those of you mistakenly thinking that ad was filmed in slow-motion –that's actual speed, and an explanation of the reason women always take so damned long to get ready.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: That explains it

      I don't know... my request for an ironed shirt is usually resolved in picoseconds.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That explains it

        I don't know... my request for an ironed shirt is usually resolved in picoseconds.

        The "iron it yourself" resolution? Yep, that one does take picoseconds indeed...

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: That explains it

          It breaks the rules for the propagation of information, in fact, because the answer is known before the question is asked. I've suspected for a while that the OPERA neutrino anomaly was because they had an iron plugged in to the same extension cord as their detector.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Barbra would be proud

    1. Never seen that ad before.

    2. ASA publicise it.

    3. I, and everyone who's seen el reg today, watches the ad. Probably several times.

    The Streisand effect in full flow. I'm continually staggered at the naivety of people and organisations of the modern world. By drawing attention to it's perceived naughtyness, you have to draw attention to it. As I say, the ASA are idiots. Why can they just not let things lie?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Barbra would be proud

      No, not quite, never seen the ad and even now I'm not the slightest bit intereted in seeing it. Anything that can be shown on UK TV is not worth getting worked up about and in any event will be a let down after I let my imagination run riot with the description given in the article. Who needs TV?

    2. fandom

      Re: Barbra would be proud

      But then, we are not buying the phone.

    3. anoco

      Re: Barbra would be proud

      Not only that, but their verbal description of the ad was a lot more suggesting than the ad itself. Maybe I should spend more time reading their rulings...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ASA ....

    sucking the joy out advertising for a quarter century. No sex please, we're British (or American).

    Now try looking at German or French advertising. Feel the hypocrisy.

    1. Cliff

      Re: ASA ....

      In fairness the ASA are also the guys who berate companies claiming 2GHz Quad-Core is 8GHz processor

  12. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    A minor alteration...

    ...much of the ad focused entirely on an actor in her underwear...

    "...much of the ad focused entirely on an actress in her underwear..."

    There. Fixed that for you. I'm allowed to say that word, because I'm old enough to know better....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A minor alteration...

      "There. Fixed that for you. I'm allowed to say that word, because I'm old enough to know better"

      The point is surely that the distinction arose because at one time all actors were male, and so the arrival on the stage of actresses to play the role of women was an achievement for women's lib. The universal adoption of "actor" only makes sense when men or women can be slotted without comment into the same roles, unlike doctor, accountant, pilot, plumber etc.

      That point definitely hasn't been reached yet.

  13. Yugguy

    Thank you complainers!!!

    Without you I'd never have seen that.

  14. The_Idiot

    Well and all...

    ... at least (or unfortunately - take your pick) it wasn't a Cadbury's Flake ad...

    Yes. I'm old. There's rocks round here called me granfer when they was mountains.

  15. psychonaut


    all ads should be like this. then they just change the product at the end. providing of course, you havent gone blind by the end of the advert.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funny how the world works

    Using sex in advertising works, but it's a low, loooow level of creativity from the ad agency. If I'm paying agency creatives a ton of money to build a campaign, and they come back with "we'll get some chick in undies and put your product somewhere nearby", I would be questioning their capability. A three -hour lunch and en expense account and you come back with...boobs?

    As far as the UK market goes, using humour seems to be the path to a classic ad. I still have nightmares about this one:

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm feeling a bit sociological this afternoon

    I admit, I watched it on Youtube.

    Just about all advertising whatever objectifies people, not only women. I consider myself a feminist because (a) I've never been verbally attacked by the feminist women I know and (b) I have a wife and daughters all in the professions and (c) I've actually read feminist academic work and I agree with a lot of it. But I can't get terribly worked up about this ad.

    I do strongly disapprove of the awful ads that appear on the commercial channel, in the middle of programmes expecting a female audience, where it's suggested that buoyant, brightly coloured hair is in and wrinkles are out, with the strong underlying message that women should spent a lot of time and money on prettying themselves up rather than doing a Mary Beard. Now that's really objectifying women. And there are some truly horrible print adverts suggesting to young men that spraying some pong on themselves and shaving all over will get them lots of bedroom time with women. That's objectifying too.

    This advert begins by spending much too long dwelling on the attributes of a young woman wearing a beach-level degree of clothing. But the basic joke (skinny woman puts on skinny jeans, irons shirt, phone is so thin she doesn't notice it's there) is no more hyperbolic than the stuff that claims that if you put it on your hair you will look like an expensively made up supermodel, and is clearly not intended to be taken seriously. What is sauce for the phone maker should be sauce for Clairol or whatever the stuff is called.

    For what it's worth (not much) my own view is that feminism means that if women want to wear hijabs that's their business and if they want to walk around in bikinis that's also their business, and they should be able to do either without harassment unless they are in an environment where other rules need to apply, like a chemistry research lab or the cockpit of a Tornado. And I do suspect that the ASA were giving into the noisier Muslims on this one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm feeling a bit sociological this afternoon

      By the way, perhaps I should add that while I didn't consider the ad offensive, just a bit gratuitous, I wouldn't buy a phone that had an ad like that. For exactly the same reason, I wouldn't buy a phone from a company that calls its helpdesk workers "geniuses". I don't like being talked down to.

  18. TRT Silver badge

    Sex in the ad break?

    Just under two minutes... yes, easily.

  19. King Jack

    I'm Confused

    Where are complaints about the guy walking down the street with a huge arse and high heels. It even shows Asian looking girls stopping to stare then following him down the street. Is there no equality left in the UK?

  20. Steve Mann


    But this new "must be relevant" ruling will invalidate an entire decade of jeans commercials ...

  21. PassiveSmoking

    What do women in their undies have to do with smartphones?

    Selfies, duh.

  22. Roger Mew

    Unfortunately for women, or possibly fortunately, they are certainly a lot more pleasant on the eye than men, well normally. It is a fact of nature that the male will sexually be atracted to the female, and that the female will do what she can to attract a male. It is about time that we all got over the fact that nature still has a hold on us. Whilst I am certainly of the opinion that a woman should not be barred from doing things just because she has no willy and two lovely oleos (train buffers) and that they should be treated as equal as a person, that certainly should not denigrate them as they are not easy on the eye.

    We all, men and women have got to accept that nature has got the last laugh on us, and if a lovely image helps to sell something then so be it. Go on girls, get the best out of it that you can.

    My daughters? One drives a 53 seater bus, and the other is into radio and electronics, and does minor repairs to her car, both are quite presentable, but I would still prefer to see one of them lolled over a new car in a bikini, than some bloke in a pair of speedo's.

  23. Brian Allan 1

    Good looking gal with a phone (I think it was a phone?)... So what?

    Sex sells...

  24. G7mzh


    Who started this fad of referring to actresses as though they were male?

    And I don't see the point of the current Money Supermarket ad either - it certainly wouldn't make me use their service.

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