We barely raised an eyebrow when Harvey Nichols released their "Love Thyself" ad campaign in 2012, intended to promote the department store chain's new Beauty Bazaar store in Liverpool. But nearly two dozen people in England decided to voice their opposition to the cheeky ads, which featured female models going in for a kiss.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 17 complaints about the adverts, mainly because they centered on women kissing each other. According to the ASA, "Nine complainants challenged whether the ads were offensive, irresponsible and unsuitable for untargeted display where they might be viewed by children, because they appeared to portray a lesbian kiss."
The other eight were basically variations on the same theme, claiming that the kiss made the ads too sexually explicit for children or that they were "offensive on religious grounds."
As they always do, the ASA investigated the claims to see if they warranted a ban. But the advertising watchdog accurately pointed out that the ads "did not depict a lesbian kiss but rather a woman kissing herself." The "Love Thyself" concept, after all, was intended to promote "me-time" for women (albeit in a suggestive way).
Moreover, the ASA stated outright that it seeks to promote equality and anti-discrimination laws, including those concerning sexual orientation.
In other words, said the ASA, those 17 individuals who complained can just buzz off.
Read the full report at ASA.org.uk and take a look at the ads below.
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