The advertising watchdog has rejected more than 2,000 complaints against a Booking.com TV and cinema ad.
The majority of complaints against the ‘Booking.yeah’ ads came as people thought the word ‘booking’ had been substituted in place of a swear word.
A number of the 2,345 complainants challenged whether the ads were irresponsible because they were likely to condone or encourage swearing amongst children.
But the Advertising Standards Authority threw out all the complaints, saying: “The ASA understood that the repetition of the word ‘booking’ was intended to raise awareness of the ‘Booking.com’ brand and had used word play in a comical way to express that message.
“We noted that the word ‘booking’ was used throughout the ad in a variety of contexts that each lent themselves to substitution with an expletive.”
However, the ASA said it that the voice over artist had “enunciated the word clearly” and was “sufficiently distinct” as to not be confused with the f-word.
It added: “We also considered that use of the word ‘booking’ was not gratuitous or out of context because it was directly relevant to the advertiser’s brand name and the URL they were promoting.
“Although we acknowledged that the placement of the word was redolent of the use of expletives we noted that the ad did not expressly use any explicit language and therefore concluded that, although some viewers might find the connotation and word play distasteful, it was unlikely that the ad would cause serious or widespread offence.”