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Lings Cars Facebook advertisement ruled ‘offensive’ by ASA

Lings Cars screenshot

Lings Cars has recently lost a battle with the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) following an offensive Facebook advertisement that used derogatory homophobic terms.

The advert was first seen on the social networking site on February 23, 2018 and featured text which stated:  "These Fiat Spiders must be registered by the end of March on current reg plate, but are you that anal about number plates?

"Who needs a V8 Kia Stinker or a BMW bum boy car, when you have the best small convertible ever?".

The advertisement was challenged for its use of the phrase “BMW Bum Boy car”, which could be viewed as a derogatory homophobic slur and cause offence.

Lings defended its wording as it “did not believe it was offensive” but rather, a well-known term for a modified BMW owner that likes to drive aggressively.

Lings Cars is an online car leasing broker, based in the north-east of England, and has no connection with the franchised dealer group Lings, based in Suffolk.

The controversial online leasing company further justified the language by suggesting it was targeting people over the age of 24 who had an interest in cars.

The ASA report states that: “‘Bum Boy’ was widely understood as a derogatory term directed at homosexual men and that the use of that term to describe a vehicle would therefore be regarded as homophobic by many people.

“Whilst we acknowledged Ling's Cars comments on their target audience, we considered that a person’s age and their interest in cars had no relevance as to whether or not they would be offended by homophobic language.”

As a result, Lings cars suggested changing the wording to “BMW Batty Boy” which was acknowledged by the ASA and considered to have no significant difference to the original wording and therefore “equally offensive”.

The ad breached the CAP code rules for social responsibility and harm and offence and was ruled to not appear again in its current form.

Lings Cars has been advised by the Agency to ensure their future advertising was prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and society, and that it did not cause widespread offence.

  • Lings Cars is an online broker, based in the north-east of England, and has no connection with the franchised dealer group Lings, based in Suffolk.
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