SCMP Tuesday, July 10, 2001

The ads that shocked the SAR

YSL Opium (Poster/magazines, January 2001)
Model wearing nothing but stilettos to sell perfume proves too hot for censors.
Cindy Cheung (YSL spokeswoman) said: ''The censorship board told us it was too sexy.''
Obscene Articles Tribunal said: ''No comment.''
Result: Ad guillotined to show just the model's head.
Amoy (Newspapers, June 2001)
Image of Big Buddha statue holding chopsticks and two bottles of soy sauce had Buddhists up in arms.
Monks at Po Lin Monastery said: ''The image desecrates the Big Buddha statue.''
Amoy Food said: ''The advert was meant to draw an analogy of Buddhism with Chinese cuisine as we both have a long history.''
Result: Amoy offers apology.
ATV (Newspaper, November 1994)
Use of Adolf Hitler to offer a ''final solution'' for advertisers had the Jewish community in uproar.
Kieron Simpson (creative director) said: ''Perhaps in hindsight we went a bit too far.''
Rabbi Howard Kovosovske said: ''He should be ashamed of himself.''
Result: No action taken, but ad only displayed once.
Sunday (Poster, 1997)
Nudge-nudge, wink-wink humour gets MTR bosses hot under the collar.
Sunday said: ''Today you see half-naked women on the MTR.''
MTR said: ''Not on our platforms.''
Result: Ad banned from MTR, runs in newspapers with ''banned'' stamped across it.
E-Trade (TV, May 2001)
Jealous driver smashes into Ferrari after losing parking place.
Mathias Helleu (E-Trade) said:
''I don't think our ad is particularly violent.''
Tela said: ''The car park was empty, it wasn't justified.''
Result: TVB and ATV each fined $50,000 for showing gratuitous violence.
The Body Shop (Poster, April 1998)
The amply proportioned Ruby doll has rail bosses running scared.
The Body Shop said: ''Ruby celebrates the concept of individuality and pokes fun at our global obsession with body image.''
The MTR said: ''We don't believe it's suitable. It would cause offence to passengers.''
Result: Banned by MTR, runs in Body Shop store windows.
Sunday (TV, September 2000)
Ghost passenger in taxi comes back to haunt the telecom firm.
1,823 viewers said: ''It's too scary.''
Craig Ehrlich (Sunday) said: ''Nobody in their right mind would have thought that was truly scary.''
Result: Complaints substantiated. ATV, TVB and Cable receive serious warning.