‘Racy’ Spotify adverts won’t be banned despite complaints

One advert featured Justin Bieber's 'Love Yourself'. Picture: AFP
One advert featured Justin Bieber's 'Love Yourself'. Picture: AFP
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Two racy Spotify adverts which triggered dozens of complaints after being aired during Britain’s Got Talent won’t be banned after being cleared of breaking TV rules.

Watchdogs were inundated with more than 80 complaints from parents angered by the ads for the music streaming service’s Premium For Family package.

One showed a teenage girl placing a speaker outside a bedroom door as it plays Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself”.

She then looks to the camera and says: “Yep, Bieber’s Love Yourself. I think we all know what’s going on in there.”

The other ad, which was also screened during ITV’s Take Me Out, showed a family at a dinner table while the son mimed along to Savage Garden’s Truly Madly Deeply.

The mother said to the camera “What he doesn’t know is that he was made to this song. In this room. On this table.”

‘Sexual references’

Most of the 81 complaints received by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) claimed that the ads were offensive because of the sexual references when children were watching.

Spotify said that each ad described the respective situations using “mild and subtle sexual innuendo” in a ‘discreet and tongue-in-cheek’ manner.

The firm pointed out that neither ad featured any nudity, overt sexual reference nor depiction of the experience being referred to.

Spotify believed the references were unlikely to be noticed or understood by children.

ITV said the audience for Britain’s Got Talent and Take Me Out showed that the proportion of child viewers for both programmes was “significantly below” the threshold at which they would be considered to be appealing particularly to children.

‘Mildly suggestive’

The broadcaster considered the ads were “mischievous, mildly suggestive, humorous and tongue-in-cheek” but they did not feature any overt sexual reference or depiction, were not capable of causing physical, mental, moral or social harm to kids.

The ASA investigated the ads under rules regarding scheduling plus harm and offence, but did not find them in breach.

An ASA spokesman said: “We acknowledged that both ads contained implied sexual references.

“We considered, however, that the references were not explicit and were unlikely to be understood by young children.

“The audience data bore out that, while the programmes had general appeal, they did not have particular appeal to children.

“We therefore concluded that the ads were not offensive or unsuitable to be broadcast in breaks in those programmes at those times.”

Referring to the implied sexual reference, he added: “We considered that the reference was not explicit and was unlikely to be understood by young children.”