The Sun - banned from offering women as prizes
What's the deal? The paper ran a competition with their Dream Team fantasy football thing and said: "You're signed up to Dream Team and for that we promise to love, adore and cherish you ... You can take your Dream Team experience to the next level by becoming a Chairman and creating a Mini League. Not only do you get to hammer your mates every week, but if you recruit 10 players or more to your league you will get: Entered into a prize draw for a date with a Page 3 girl - we might even let you pick which one, so feel free to start your research now ... Don't listen to your girlfriend when she says size doesn't matter. The bigger your Mini League is, the more prizes you can get your mitts on".
Over a thousand complaints were submitted to the ASA, most of which said that they were offended by the prize of a Page 3 girl, saying that it was "sexist and objectified women," and added that it was also "socially irresponsible", what with a model offered as a prize was an incentive to gamble.
The Sun argued that it couldn't be sexist because women played Dream Team as well as men, and that Page 3 celebrities had been connected with Dream Team promotional activity for around six years. They said they "did not use seductive, glamorous or inappropriate images in their promotional emails or on their website." They also stated that women were not the only prize on offer.
However, the ASA upheld the complaints, saying that pay-to-play fantasy football games were regulated by the Gambling Commission and were a competition that "effectively involved a bet on the outcome of a series of uncertain sporting events."
The ASA said: "We understood that the Sun's male and female celebrities, including page-three girls, were involved in the Dream Team game as Chairpersons and had featured in previous promotional activities. We noted, however, that the celebrities were not simply featured in the promotional material, but that a date with a "page three girl" was offered as a prize. In the context of the ad, we considered that to offer a date with a woman as a reward for success in the game was demeaning to women and objectified those offered as prizes. We also considered that the wording "we might even let you pick which one, so feel free to start your research now ...", further enhanced the impression that the women were simply objects to be selected at the whim and enjoyment of the winner, and had no choice in the matter themselves."
"Because we considered that the email presented the women as objects to be won, we concluded that it was sexist, offensive and socially irresponsible."
The ad must not appear again in its current form.
Of course, there's been other issues surrounding The Sun's Dream Team, with many complaining that they were signed up and charged for Sun+ services without their knowledge.