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ASA backs Razr-wielding designers

'Highly stylised', darling, not violent

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Readers of what you might still loosely term as broadsheets - you know the type, posh newspapers with lots and lots of cricket coverage - are capable of making informed decisions, according to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

So an advert for Motorola's Motorazr V3i mobile phone featuring fashion designers Dolce and Gabbana (they go together like strawberries and cream), in which one seems to have just cut the other's face, has been upheld by the UK's ads regulator as okay despite 160 complaints.

In the advert the two designers are seen standing one in front of the other, with one wielding the mobile phone at an angle that makes it appear as a barber's razor. The other has a suggestive cut across his cheek.

The tagline accompanying the advert reads "the cutting edge of technology".

Dolce and Gabbana have designed the new mobile phone for Motorola, hence their starring role in the advert.

Complainants felt the advert, which appeared in The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Sunday Telegraph and The Sunday Times, was glamorising and sexualising violent knife crime.

In defence of the imagery used, Motorola told the ASA that it "had created a visual metaphor between a barber's razor and the Razr phone to highlight the 'razor' thinness of the phone and its cutting edge technology".

It successfully argued its case that the advert was an artistic statement and was not intended to "condone knife-related violence" and said the razor cut simply emphasised the metaphor.

The ASA agreed with Motorola and said that "most readers were likely to understand the relationship between the image of a mobile phone that, when viewed at an angle, resembled a razor, and the product name Razr".

"We concluded that, because the image was highly stylised, the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to most readers."

Broadsheet readers must be a cut above the rest then. ®

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