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Wednesday, 28 August, 2002, 00:57 GMT 01:57 UK
'Irresponsible' Pot Noodle ad withdrawn
Pot Noodle
The tagline had 'sado-masochist overtones'
A Pot Noodle advertisement, with the tagline "hurt me, you slag" was withdrawn after 286 complaints about it were upheld.

The makers of the snack said the posters were intended to poke fun at the new Hot Noodle product and that "hurt me" was meant to convey the heat element of the spicy flavour.

The complainants, however, said the phrase had sado-masochist overtones and should be removed.

ASA logo
The ASA labelled the advert 'irresponsible'
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it was unlikely that people seeing the posters would then "engage in violent acts" but that the tone could be interpreted as condoning violence.

Unilever Bestfoods, the makers of Pot Noodle, said it had not intended to encourage personal violence and maintained that its campaign was meant to be humorous.

The ASA, however, concluded it was "irresponsible" and told the firm to use a different approach in the future.

The company had consulted the Copy Advice Team about the use of the line "hurt me, you slag" and was advised it was "likely" to be unsuitable - a suggestion the ASA said it should have heeded.

The Advice Team had concluded the word "slag" alone was acceptable but not in this context.

Earlier this month, a Pot Noodle television advert, describing the product as "the slag of all snacks," attracted more than 300 complaints and the Independent Television Commission banned it from appearing before the 2100 BST watershed.

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