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Irn-Bru ad cleared after complaints

An advert for the soft drink Irn-Bru featuring a mother discussing her cleavage with her shocked son and his friends has been cleared following 176 complaints.

The television ad showed the mother cleaning the kitchen as her son and two friends walked in, followed by her saying: "New push-up bra. Amazing eh?"

The son's shock and embarrassment diminished as he sipped Irn-Bru, and the ad concluded with the mother asking for a "group hug" to which the friends agreed enthusiastically.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said most complainants thought the ad was offensive and irresponsible because they believed that the scenario between the mother and the young men was sexual and inappropriate.

Others complained that the ad was sexist and demeaning to women, while some were concerned that it was inappropriately scheduled at a time when children could have been viewing.

Irn-Bru manufacturer AG Barr said it wanted the ad to "stay true to the traditionally cheeky and irreverent sense of humour" of previous campaigns but not to "objectify women, carry any tone of a sexual nature or cause offence".

It said the focus of the ad was the son's embarrassment and the comedic concept that Irn-Bru would help him deal with such an awkward situation.

It added that the young men were not reacting in a way that portrayed sexuality or colluding in a salacious fashion, but were rather transfixed by the mother's appearance.

The ASA said: "Although we noted that some complainants had interpreted the action in the ads as portraying an inappropriate relationship between the mum and the son's friends, we did not consider that their interaction was a portrayal of irresponsible behaviour.

"We considered that the action relied on the mum being confident and attractive, but not consciously or overtly behaving in a sexualised or flirtatious way. We also considered that the focus of the ads was the son's embarrassment at the effect his mum's appearance was having on his friends."

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