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The “Are you beach body ready?” ad, which promoted the brand’s slimming product and featured a woman wearing a bikini, received 378 complaints after appearing throughout the London Underground.
The complaints claimed the ad implied that bodies different from the one pictured were “not good enough” or in some way inferior and that the combination of the image of a slim woman with the “Are you beach body ready?” phrase was “socially irresponsible”.
However after an investigation into the complaints around offence and social responsibility, the ASA has decided that the campaign was not in breach. It recognised that the term “beach body” is well understood to be related to toned, athletic bodies similar to the one pictured in the ad.
“We did not consider that the accompanying image implied that a different body shape to that shown was not good enough or was inferior,” the ASA stated.
“We concluded that the headline and image were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.”
The decision comes after a Change.org petition calling for the ad to be removed received over 40,000 signatures.
Commuters also defaced many of the ads and took to social media with the hash tag #EachBodysReady to express their anger.
In response to negative tweets about the campaign, Protein World CEO Arjun Seth wrote that “sales have tripled and the PR department just got their bonus” while the brand has defiantly re-tweeted numerous offensive tweets about its body image.
Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson branded the ads and the furore surrounding them “great marketing”.
The report, which was conducted by the IAB and YouGov, shows that one in five (22%) of the 2,057 adults surveyed had downloaded ad blocking software at some point.
Men (22%) are more than twice as likely to block ads than women (9%) while there’s evidence of a greater disdain of online ads among younger internet users with 18-24 year olds (34%) and 25-34 year olds (19%) the most likely age groups to hit the block button.
Of the 15% who actively block ads, just over half (52%) said their motivation was to block all advertisements.
“When it comes to a free and an ad-free internet, a lot of consumers evidently want to have their cake and eat it,” said IAB’s CEO Guy Phillipson.
Brands looking to avoid being blocked should try not to be disruptive with 73% listing interruptions to their browsing experience and 55% stating annoying design, such as bright colours, as a good reason to block ads.
Marketers must work harder at making online ads less annoying if they are to avoid ad blocking software according to Google’s CEO Larry Page.
Speaking at an annual stockholder meeting earlier this month, he said: “The industry needs to do better at producing ads that are less annoying and that are quicker to load, and all those things. And I think we need to do a better job of that as an industry.
“We’ve been trying to pioneer that. I think search ads are very good in that sense, and, in fact, a lot of places where ads can [be] block[ed], search ads do not get blocked because they are really useful. So I think that’s a really good example of what we’re trying to do.”
However, according to Phillipson, there is still an ignorance among the public on the nature of online advertising.
Less than half (44%) of British adults are aware that most websites are free because they’re funded by advertising according to the study.
Phillipson added: “Those unaware that most online services are free, because websites make money from showing visitors ads, could be in for a shock if websites start charging for access because ad blocking reduces their ad revenues.”
The Oral-B 7000 SmartSeries is the first toothbrush on the market to connect to your smartphone over Bluetooth, which allows you to track your brushing habits over time, see which areas of your mouth could use more attention, and avoid damaging your gums by brushing too hard. If you’re worried that’s just a gimmick, the brush’s 4.4 star review average should reassure you that it really does make a difference.
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I imagine diplomats travel the world in James Bond-like attire while swilling martinis, but the truth is they probably spend more time looking for a cell phone charger that works with the local power outlets than they do mingling with the elite. Advocating for international cooperation in far-flung places is difficult and often unsung work.