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'Sexually Explicit' Pussy Energy Drink Advert Banned By Watchdog

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An ad for energy drink brand Pussy that reprimanded viewers for considering the word's slang alternative has been banned following 156 complaints that the campaign was offensive and unsuitable for children.

One poster, which appeared in various locations across the UK, stated 'pussy' in large bold text, followed by smaller text reading: "The drink's pure, it's your mind that's the problem," while a second poster featured the word in large text to the left of the headline.

The brand's website also included the line: "Our goal is global pussyfication and we aim to bring pussy within everyone's reach."

pussy energy drink

Original message remains on energy drink's website

Most of the 156 complainants believed the first poster was offensive because it implied a sexually explicit reference and some said it was derogatory, sexist and degrading towards women.

Two complainants said the first ad was offensive to those with religious beliefs and was unsuitable to be displayed near a church, while many said it was unsuitable to appear where it could be seen by children.

Two people said the website was offensive because it implied a sexually explicit reference, was derogatory, sexist and degrading towards women.

In a written response to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), Pussy Drinks said complaints that the first ad was offensive were "ironic, given that the posters clearly stated that the drink was pure and it was the mind of the viewer that was the problem".

The company said the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) stated that a pussy was "a cat, particularly a kitten", adding that the brand was "cool, beautiful, feline and natural, with attitude, which explained their choice of name".

banned energy drink pussy

Customers can purchase 'Pussy Natural Energy Drink' from Amazon.co.uk

It said that until the OED changed the meaning of the word, it defended its right to advertise the product, and questioned why the complainants were automatically referring to the slang meaning of what it believed to be an innocent word.

Upholding complaints that the first poster was offensive, the ASA said some consumers would recognise that the term "pussy" had both a conventional and slang meaning and could therefore colloquially refer to the female genitals, as well as retaining the traditional meaning of cat or kitten.

It said: "We noted that... the ad consciously made reference to the dual meaning of the word 'pussy', including its colloquial meaning, which some would consider sexually explicit, as well as showing an awareness that the colloquial use of the term 'pussy' might be considered impure or problematic, and could therefore cause offence."

While it said that the ad did not make express reference to women, "we nonetheless concluded that because the ad made express reference to the dual meaning of the word 'pussy', it would be understood to be intended as a sexually explicit reference which, in the context in which it appeared was likely to cause serious and widespread offence."

It ruled that the first ad must not appear again in its current form.

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