Ham ad nudity complaints rejected
An advert for a brand of ham featuring a group of naked picnickers prompted 371 complaints, the majority objecting that it was offensive.
The television campaign for Richmond ham opened with a man standing in a field and admiring a sandwich while wearing only a cap, before strolling past a group of naked people who were eating a picnic.
The man sang: "Oh Richmond ham, as nature intended, you've nothing to hide Richmond ham, to me you taste blooming splendid," before a voice-over said: "New Richmond ham. Britain's only ham made with 100% natural ingredients."
Most of the complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) objected that the ad, which was restricted to broadcast outside of children's programming, was offensive and inappropriate for younger viewers.
But some took issue with the ad's claims, pointing out that other producers also made 100% natural products, the ham was processed and made with pork protein and was made in Ireland.
Kerry Foods, which owns the brand, said the ad demonstrated a "well-adjusted, comfortable and completely non-sexual attitude to the human body" and received an overwhelmingly positive response from test audiences.
It maintained the claim that all the ingredients were natural but acknowledged that the ham was made in Ireland, saying that the ad referred to the availability of the product rather than its provenance.
The ASA did not uphold complaints that the nudity was offensive, saying: "Whilst we understood the ad may not appeal to everyone, we considered that it was not sexual in tone and we concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence."
It also rejected concerns about the brand's "100% natural ingredients" claim.
However it did rule that the ad misled consumers by describing the product as "Britain's only ham", saying viewers were likely to interpret this as meaning it was British in origin.