Boys & Girls / Campaign

Client: Channel 4

Brief: Create a billboard and press campaign for a Friday night show called ‘Boys & Girls’ in which the sexes compete with each other.

Concept: The campaign sets up a duality between the sexes by displaying a selection of questions taken from the shows content. The questions provoke and question who knows most about each other, boys or girls?

 

Billboards

Newspaper adverts

Complaint

Adjudications: By Issue (All):
Portrayals of Women and Men ...more
Taste & Decency ...more
Children ...more
Leisure ...more
Channel Four Television Corporation

Date: 30th April 2003
Media: Poster
Sector: Leisure
Agency: Foundation 33
Public Complaint From: Nationwide (x25)

Complaint:
Objections to three posters for a television programme entitled Boys & Girls:
a. The first claimed "BOYS! BEFORE A DATE YOU CAN ONLY CLEAN ONE BODY PART... A. YOUR TEETH? B. YOUR GENITALS?"; and
b. the second claimed "GIRLS! WHAT MATTERS MORE IN THE TROUSER DEPARTMENT? A. LENGTH? B. GIRTH?" and
c. the third claimed "BOYS! WHAT'S WORSE... A. FINDING YOUR MUM NAKED? B. YOUR MUM FINDING YOU NAKED?"
The complainants objected that:
1. poster (a) was offensive and degrading to boys, particularly because it appeared opposite two girls' secondary schools;
2. poster (b) was offensive and degrading to men and unsuitable to be seen by children, and
3. poster (c) was offensive.
Codes Section: 5.1, 47.2 (Ed 10)

Adjudication:
The advertisers said the poster campaign had been designed to reflect the youthful and irreverent personality of the show and was intended to be light-hearted and humorous. They said that, to promote the programme faithfully, they had chosen questions that the contestants might be asked on the show and had focused those questions on both genders, using a balanced number of 'Boys' and 'Girls' versions of the posters to avoid bias or sexual discrimination. They said they had not intended to cause offence and the posters had now been removed.
1. Complaints not upheld
The advertisers thought the language was unlikely to cause physical, mental or moral harm to children. They pointed out that the use of the word 'Genitals' was anatomically correct and had been used in preference to slang words. They regretted that the posters had appeared opposite two secondary girls' schools but advised that they had removed one poster from opposite a girls' school when the campaign was still running.
2. Complaints not upheld
The advertisers said the use of the phrase "Trouser department" was intended to be coy and inoffensive and numerous other euphemisms could have been used instead.
3. Complaints not upheld
The advertisers believed the question on the poster was innocuous and unlikely to genuinely shock.
The Authority noted each of the posters posed a question that was likely to be asked on the programme and that the advertisers had carefully chosen the words in posters (a) and (b). Although it considered that posters (a) and (b) might cause some embarrassment, the Authority considered that they were not degrading to boys or men. The Authority concluded that the posters would generally be seen as humorous, were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence and were not unsuitable to be seen by children.