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French connection advert on E&C roundabout

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Thursday 2 March 2006 10.28am
I have to see the French Connection advert (two semi-naked woman wrestling with a group of (dressed) models watching) every morning on the bus on the way to work.

I'm just really fed up of having to confront soft porn every morning on the way to work. What would be fine on a late night telly slot or in a men's magazine is just nasty on a street you have no choice but to use.

The ASA are useless for this kind of complaint (religious offence or factual inaccuracy only really).

Is there anyway to put pressure on the owner of the advertising site not to decorate our neighbourhood in soft porn?
Thursday 2 March 2006 10.55am

Back in the good old days of the 1980s when there was such a thing as radical feminism some women took direct action by reconstructing offensive poster sites. Notables were the Fiat ad where the tag line "If this car was a woman you'd pinch her bottom" was changed to "If this woman was a car she'd run you over". The other great one was the Marlboro ad with the train coming towards you in the corporate red and white chevron shape. Some wag sprayed it with the legend, "Tell the truth Michael (Gold of ad agency Gold Greenlees Trott) Cancer kills."

Get your spray can out and tell French Connection what you think. If you wait for someone else to do something, you'll wait for ever.

Anyway, the Fench Connection advertising is written by 23 year olds for 23 year olds. FCUK seems so terribly risky to these chumps. They probably also play at 'dice life' and decide which restuarant they will eat at tonight. Wow! Edgy.


Thursday 2 March 2006 11.18am
i complained about the ad. on t.v. for a model show....project catwalk i think...shows a pair of dressmakers shears thrown and embedded in the dressmakers dummy's back with a sickening thud.....they then referred me to someone else as they did not handle adverts for programmes...I have not seen the french con. one Xana,

why can't f.c. base their ads on humour which would make us smile, instead of titillating ( just looked in dictionary for spelling and found it also means to tickle!)
I personally dont like ads. that show overt violence..
Thursday 2 March 2006 11.31am
I think I was brainwashed too much in my youth against graffitti to feel comfortable about the ladder/spraycan option (that and an inability to think up a witty riposte). Is there no legal method of protest available?

Jan - did the people you were referred to do anything about your complaint in the end & which body were they?
Thursday 2 March 2006 11.55am
Hi Xana,

The ASA are actually very effective, and cover a whole range of complaints, including sexism and false advertising. Their complaint guidlines are as follows:

You can complain to us if you

think there is something wrong with an advertisement you have seen or heard
have difficultly getting goods or a refund for items bought by mail order or through television shopping channels
want to stop direct mail from companies sent either by post, fax, text message or e-mail

the website is:

I complained about a Boots advert for mascara once, which I thought was misleading, and I won! And they removed adverts that have encouraged anorexia etc before. So it's well worth contacting them, and they will investigate - plus you can complain on the web, making it much easier...Good luck!

I have no connection etc etc, apart from being a satisfied complainee (if one can be such a thing...)
Thursday 2 March 2006 12.36pm
Indeed, the ASA has already taken action against French Connection on at least three occasions in connection with adverts that people found similarly offensive. French Connection was ordered to remove the offending adverts.

The problem is that the ASA doesn't have the power to levy fines - it has the power to have the adverts amended or removed and the power to request that its members effectively ostracise those who break the CAP Code. Its last resort is to refer a marketer, agency or publisher to the Director General of Fair Trading under the Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988. The Office of Fair Trading can then obtain an order through the courts to prevent advertisers from using the same or similar claims in future marketing communications. AFAIK, it's never actually done this.

French Connection is a particular issue, as it actively creates adverts which will likely offend, and actively seeks out the kind of publicity that ASA action entails - gives it that "edgy" branding which particularly appeals to its core market of late teenagers.

That said, I agree with Hat, if you want the advertisment gone, complain to the ASA. I just regret it will probably reappear in another form at some point in the future.
Thursday 2 March 2006 4.17pm
The whole point of those (phenomenally expensive to rent) hoardings seem to be so that advertisers can run a two week edgy-bordering-on-the-shocking/provocative/obscene campaign in order to get media attention.

And I'm quite convinced that some other campaigns (e.g. Channel 4) have a complaint to the ASA as one of their measures of success.
Thursday 2 March 2006 6.24pm
Rabbie makes a good point. Here we all are, talking about this FC advert which is so offensive. Hats off to the ad agency for another one in the back of the net.

It would be so much better to get out the ladder and spray can and, possibly with the help of a witty copywriter, tag the advert with some sort of cutting riposte. Then both the ad and the riposte would get coverage.

Maybe someone could do a Land Registry search on the location to find out who owns it and start wallpapering the owners with pointed objections. Maybe target local councillors to check out their advertising sensibilities.

By the time the ASA considers your objection, FC have got their exposure. So ACT NOW.


Thursday 2 March 2006 6.37pm
Niall Connolly wrote:
Maybe someone could do a Land Registry search on the location to find out who owns it and start wallpapering the owners with pointed objections. Maybe target local councillors to check out their advertising sensibilities.

For years I have been demanding that Southwark Council come clean about the money they make on renting the adverts on the island sites with the abominable structures (that completely obscure the Faraday Memorial in the case of the ones on the northern island).

However, someone told me that they think Transport for London Street Management are possibly the owner - all of the streets, pavenents and incidental spaces on red routes went from the boroughs to the Traffic DIrector for London and then to TfL.

In either case it is quite possible that the site has never been registered if it has always been public roadspace.

The Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Southwark do own a strange set of disconnected plots (mostly ramps to the subways) around the junctions under Title Number : TGL190331 described as land and buildings at Elephant and Castle, (SE1 6TE) - the only registered land with an Elephant and Castle address.

I suspect other sites might be registered with Newington Butts or Newington Causeway addresses reflecting the pre-1960s road layout.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 2 March 2006 6.51pm by Lang Rabbie.
Thursday 2 March 2006 7.04pm
i work for a company who do work for TfL, specifically involved with the assets on Red Routes, and there is a defining boundary to the edge of the 'highway authority' and that of the 'local authority'.

There has always been some confusion over land on traffic islands, especially large ones, as to who owns, manages, maintains the area (another example is the large square roundabout(?) near wandsworth(?) bridge.

iirc the inside of such roundabouts is generally outside of the Highway authority boundary, but i seem to think that the north roundabout at E&C is counted as inside, so the people to go to first would be TfL.
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