FCUK ads raise ire of U.K. watchdog

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[London] French Connection is in trouble with U.K. ad watchdogs again over its risque FCUK campaign. The company and its global ad agency, Omnicom Group's TBWA, London, are now required to submit all outdoor advertisements for prior approval for the next two years from the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority's Committee of Advertising Practice. TV, print and online ads are not affected.

The ruling was triggered by an outdoor campaign for the radio station French Connection rolled out this year. The ad read: "FCUK FM from PNUK to RCOK and back. Nonstop FNUK. FCUK FM."

The ASA ruled that the ad was offensive because the juxtaposition of the words meant readers could misinterpret the FCUK-trademark as an expletive. The ASA has warned French Connection before against using its trademark so that it was likely to be interpreted in that way.

Trevor Beattie, chairman-creative director of TBWA, London, and the creator of the long-running FCUK campaign, said the ruling won't prevent the agency from using the FCUK logo in ads or force it to tone down the campaign. "We've developed a clear `tone of voice' for FCUK," he said. "As ever, the work was seen by millions of people, yet complained about by less than five. It's a weird kind of justice, but we can live with it."