Last updated: February 18, 2009 10:52 am

Complaints bring down sex treatment poster

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned a billboard poster promoting “longer lasting sex” after it received over 500 complaints.

The Advanced Medical Institute, which treats sexual dysfunction, said it will appeal the decision, as its advertisement does not use “suggestive imagery or obscene language”.

However, the ASA said that many people found the poster’s design, which read “Want longer lasting sex?” in very large capital letters and bright colours, “unsubtle and crass”.

The ASA also ruled that the poster breached the advertising code by advertising a prescription-only medicine, described as a “nasal delivery technology” on the poster.

Titan, which owned the billboards on which the advertisements ran, took down the billboards after complaints in January.

The AMI insisted that it was “not out to offend anyone” and said that the ASA had “defied public opinion”.

In a telephone poll of 1,012 people last month by ComRes for the AMI, 71 per cent of people did not think the slogan “Want Longer Lasting Sex” was offensive, and only 24 per cent thought it was offensive. The poll did not enquire whether respondents had seen the poster in question.

A spokesperson for the ASA said that more than 500 complaints was a “considerable number” compared to many of its cases.

In spite of its appeal against the ruling, the AMI said that it would change its advertising in future.

“We are not going to run anything like that,” said Peter Reilly of the AMI. “We may run another [billboard] campaign where sex is mentioned but with much less emphasis.”

AMI, which is headquartered in Australia and traded on Nasdaq, has faced similar complaints to the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau. The ASB barred a billboard bearing the same slogan in August after complaints about it being inappropriate for children who may have come across it.

“The Board agreed that the placements, size, bold colours and blatant message of the advertisement make it very confronting to a large section of the community, a fact that is evidenced by the number of complaints the Advertising Standards Bureau continues to receive in relation to this advertisement,” said the ASB in its ruling.

The Advanced Medical Institute, which treats sexual dysfunction, said it would appeal against the decision, as its advertisement did not use "suggestive imagery or obscene language".

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