Russian firm Kaspersky Lab may create some excellent security products, but the same can’t be said of its TV ads. That’s according to the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which has banned a commercial for the antivirus giant after it received complaints from 70 viewers.
The ad appeared on UK TV stations last December. Promoting Kaspersky Total Security software, it starts with a woman unbuttoning her shirt to take a (presumably naked) selfie, while announcing that she wants to show herself but “only to my boyfriend.”
Despite the ad only being shown after Britain’s 9 p.m. watershed, the ASA notes that “older children” may have watched it. Those who complained argue that it could potentially “normalize” sexting for people under the age of 18.
The ASA called the ad “irresponsible,” and consulted with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). “A spokesperson stated that seeing adults engaging in the sending of sexualised images may reinforce the perception that the activity—which presented real risks for children and young people—was widespread and may increase the pressure and coercion that young people already experienced to engage in the practice," the ASA wrote.
The agency ruled that the ad breached BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offense).
Kaspersky Lab didn’t attempt to defend the commercial, but it did apologize for the offense it caused and said it would no longer be used. The company added that it would ensure its future ads were socially responsible and did not contain anything likely to cause harm to people under the age of 18 years.
You can check out the full ad in the video below, courtesy of the Daily Mail.