Page last updated at 00:19 GMT, Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Advert 'offence' over ginger hair

red haired man
The ASA said it implied "people with ginger hair were unattractive"

Virgin Media have been accused of using an advert which was prejudicial against people with ginger hair and likely to cause them offence.

The ad for a programme called "Dating in the Dark", asked the question, "How do you spot a ginger in the dark?"

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it considered the ad was unlikely to be interpreted to be light hearted in tone.

The authority ruled the advert should not be used again.

In its response to the authority, Virgin Media said the advert was not intended to cause offence but to promote the programme "Dating in the Dark" by reflecting participants' comments and emotions.

Not offensive

It said the premise of the programme was to challenge people's perceptions of attractiveness and encourage decisions based on personality as well as looks.

Another ad had featured the text: "He says he works in radio. I just hope he doesn't have the face for it."

Virgin Media said the advert which appeared in The Metro newspaper was a one-off and although it did not intend to show it again, it did not accept it was offensive.

The Metro said they felt the ad was suitable for publication because their readers were young, intelligent, professionals in major British cities.

Tesco trouble

The ASA ruling followed an apology by Tesco for selling a Christmas card that apparently mocked people with ginger hair.

The card carried the slogan: "Santa loves all kids, even ginger ones."

Tesco said it removed the card from all its stores.



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