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Porn advert shown in children's app

Published 10/06/2015

A banner advert for Ewank.com appeared in an app for children featuring an animated cat who repeats phrases back to them
A banner advert for Ewank.com appeared in an app for children featuring an animated cat who repeats phrases back to them

A sexually explicit advert for a pornography website has been banned after it appeared within the popular children's app Talking Tom.

The banner ad for Ewank.com, which featured an image of naked women engaging in sexual activities, was shown with a 'play' symbol at the top in the app featuring an animated cat who repeats phrases back to children.

One person, whose five-year-old child was playing the game when the ad appeared, complained that it was inappropriately and irresponsibly placed.

Neither Mobjizz Ltd, trading as Ewank.com, or Outfit7, which operates the Talking Tom app, had been able to track down those responsible for placing the ad, they told the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Mobjizz said it allowed its product to be advertised by third parties and therefore had no direct control over the physical placement of ads.

The company said the ad's appearance in the Talking Tom app was a clear breach of its affiliate contract and although it was keen to identify those responsible in order to take action this had not been possible.

As a precautionary measure, it said it had distributed a notice to all affiliates reminding them of their obligations and contacted its third-party monitoring partner with regards to the possibility of 'in-app' checking in future.

Outfit7 said it had a strict advertising policy with partners, who used filters to ensure that only age-appropriate ads appeared within their apps.

It said it had asked partners to double-check their filters but had not found any irregularities, and had not been able to identify who placed the ad.

The ASA said the ad appeared in an app of particular appeal to children despite its sexually explicit content meaning that it should not appear in media where it might be seen by youngsters.

It acknowledged that Mobjizz had procedures in place that were intended to prevent its ads appearing in apps targeted at children.

"However, we noted that they had been unable to identify the third party responsible for placing the ad in the Talking Tom app, and were concerned that their procedures had not been adequate to ensure their ads only appeared in appropriate mediums," the ASA said.

"We therefore concluded that the ad had been irresponsibly placed and breached the code."

It told Mobjizz to ensure that its ads did not appear in apps that were likely to be played by children in future.

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