Two unrelated advertisements which referred to Jimmy Savile have been ruled harmful and offensive following complaints that they made light of allegations of sexual abuse against the disgraced TV presenter.
An email for clothing company DirtySmart read “Choose your fate” with arrows pointing to a cartoon image of Savile.
One person complained that the ad was offensive and irresponsible because it made light of the allegations under investigation.
Another email for Extreme Publishing read “How’s about that then” in large print above a black and white image of Savile wearing underwear and smoking a cigar with a superimposed copy of a magazine in his hand.
Two complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive and irresponsible in view of recent media coverage surrounding the abuse allegations.
DirtySmart acknowledged that some people may have found the cartoon image of Savile distasteful but they considered it would not cause serious or widespread offence.
Extreme Publishing, trading as TBM Magazine, said it did not intend to offend or upset anyone by sending the email.
The image of Savile, which it said showed him wearing running shorts and not underwear, was “not distasteful in and of itself because pictures of him were prevalent in the media at the time”, it said.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said advertisers were entitled to refer to current news stories but they needed to take particular care in how such stories are used, especially those involving allegations about the sexual abuse of children, to avoid accusations of exploitation in order to sell products or services.
The ASA said they had told the advertisers “to ensure they prepared their ads with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society, and to ensure they did not cause serious or widespread offence”.