Bed retailer ad banned for potential to cause offence
An advert by Vic Smith Bedding, a bed retailer based in Southgate, Enfield and Whetstone, has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for its potential to cause widespread offence on the grounds of race.
The advert, which ran in the Enfield and Haringey Independent newspaper in February, depicted a cartoon image of a Union Jack-sporting mattress wearing a surgical mask, plus text stating: “British build [sic] beds proudly made in the UK. No nasty imports.”
The ASA said the ad was likely to be taken as a reference to the coronavirus outbreak, and, when combined with the image, was likely to be read as a negative reference to immigration or race, and in particular as associating immigrants with disease.
The retailer said it had intended to cause offence, and that its customer base was a multi-ethnic mix, so doing so would make no sense – and that its beds had been made in the UK, rather than sitting in a damp container from China, in which mould spores could develop.