May 11, 2022

Tesco Mobile advertising campaign offensive, watchdog rules

The newspaper ads, Twitter posts and outdoor posters used words like "Shiitake" and "Pistachio" instead of swear words. Tesco Mobile initially defended its advertising on the grounds that they had not used any offensive words or imagery. The ASA said the words they were alluding to were "So likely to offend that they should not generally be used or alluded to in advertising, regardless of whether they were used in a tongue-in-cheek manner". In the case of the fettucine ad, the ASA said the word "Fettucine" was not closely linked to the expletive, but that when all but the first letter was concealed in the animation, readers would understand it as alluding to the swear word. A Tesco Mobile spokeswoman said: "We're really sorry for any offence caused. We know the frustration that consumers face when they notice their mobile phone bill has gone up mid-contract and we were reflecting their frustration - and ours - in these ads."We're proud to offer our mobile customers supermarket value, and so we used a play on words relating to food products.

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