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ASA indignates prematurely over billboard sex ads

Prescription-only recipe for widespread offence

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The Advanced Medical Institute has refused to withdraw billboard ads for a nasal spray for "male sexual problems", despite an Advertising Standards Authority edict they must come down since they're punting prescription-only drugs.

According to the BBC, the ASA is currently probing over 450 complaints about the ads, which feature "Want longer lasting sex?" writ large at 200 sites, to see if they really do cause "serious widespread offence".

An ASA spokeswoman explained that the advertising code "stated that prescription-only medicines were not allowed to be advertised to the public". She confirmed: "We have instructed AMI to remove the ad primarily in the interest of public safety. If it refuses to co-operate we will take action to have the ads removed."

AMI Europe's medical director, Dr Michael Spira, offered: "We're happy to co-operate with the ASA's investigation process, but it is important for all parties concerned that it is able to run its course."

He continued: "Censoring ads that prompt men to take action about an important health issue they may be experiencing is a big decision that certainly should not be taken until a full investigation has been completed.

"We are very concerned that the ASA has made this unprecedented and simply bizarre call to suspend this campaign before it has even investigated the veracity of these complaints."

The ASA spokeswoman, however, insisted the watchdog "had the power to order ads to be removed before it had completed an investigation". ®

Bootnote

We'll save you the trouble: If the ASA has the power to order the ads taken down, why bother with an investigation as to whether they offended the delicate sensibilities of Middle England?

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