Banned slogans: from the obscene to the ridiculous

Toyota’s “Best Built Cars” tagline is joining these other slogans on the scrapheap...

Toyota spoke of its bewilderment today as a new Advertising Standards Authority ruling means we’ll no longer be hearing how they're the “Best Built Cars in the World” – at least in Irish ads.

Steve Tormey, CEO of Toyota Ireland, expressed his frustration:

"It would appear to us [ASAI] are dancing on a pin head as regards the use of the English language and common sense, particularly given that the independent automotive industry expert commissioned by the ASAI expressed the viewpoint that the proposition had been substantiated in relation to the ‘Best Built Mass Produced Cars in the World'".

A complaint from Volkswagen means we’re waving goodbye to one of the most famous slogans around, but it won't be the first or the last time an advertising authority (or public opinion) has come down hard on a tagline.

From iconic, long-lasting lines from the likes of Cadbury and Guinness to occasionally offensive tags and ridiculous puns, here’s a short trip through five of the most notable slogans now residing solely on the Great Billboard In The Sky...

Cadbury – "A Glass And A Half"

A move bemoaned by more right-leaning, Brexit-favouring British punters for its "EU gone mad" narrative (they'll be straightening bananas next, eh?), the world famous chocolate maker dropped its trademark of 80 years from labels back in 2010.

The reason? While a glass and a half explained the amount of milk required for a half pound of its chocolate, EU regulations stated pack measurements should all be metric.

With that, the famous phrase was replaced with "the equivalent of 426ml of fresh liquid milk in every 227g of milk chocolate". Slightly less catchy. 

While a Trading Standards Institute spokesperson said it would have no objection to the famous slogan being used, the company (now owned by US food giant Kraft) seemed quite happy with the change.

"A glass and a half" still occasionally appears in altered ways, but after the success of a gorilla drumming to Phil Collins, Cadbury was ready to move on ad-wise.

Design by: Fallon London advertising agency, UK

Guinness – "Guinness Is Good For You"

Adopted back in the 1930s (at a time when even cigarette companies were advertising the health benefits of their products), the "Guinness Is Good For You" slogan had a run of around half a century before alcohol advertising restrictions tightened in the '80s.

Its longevity and relative innocence (as opposed to one of the beers below) mean it's still a line associated with the Black Stuff today.

Every time some medical experts come out suggesting there could be health benefits to a moderate amount of the stout, media outlets will invariably run with the line.  Such as last year, when Wisconsin scientists fed Guinness to dogs and found it may work as well as aspirin in preventing heart attacks.

Diageo makes no health claims for the drink, which is probably more sensible than giving a tipple to canines.

Old Guinness poster. Taken from theaposition.com

Bud Light – "The Perfect Beer For Removing 'No' From Your Vocabulary For The Night"

About as ill-judged as it gets, this was the advertising equivalent of Brian McFadden's anthem 'Just The Way You Are (Drunk At The Bar)'  sample lyric "I can't wait to get you home so I can do some damage" - which quickly caused outrage online.

While Bud Lightwas probably thinking of "a friendly chat with close friends" or "karaoke" with the accompanying campaign hashtag of #UpForWhatever, it should really have known it would go down as well as... well, a bottle of Bud Light.

The campaign was quickly ended in April 2015 with Vice President Alexander Lambrecht apologising through Buzzfeed News, saying:

"It’s clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it. We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behavior".

A year later, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was bigging up the beer to an audience of millions following his Super Bowl win. Safer publicity for sure.

Image from Reddit.com

L'Oreal Australia – "F 'n' L!"

Now on to the cheeky punnery section. L'Oreal seemed to be aiming for a bit of raunch when advertising Garnier Fructis Full & Luscious hair range on television Down Under.

The Advertising Standards Board decided "F 'n' L!" sounded too much like "effin' hell" for children to hear after it received a number of complaints. A male actor in the ad uttered the phrase and fell off his chair as a female colleague (with full and luscious hair, it must be said) walked past.

One shocked viewer said: "I am deeply offended by the pronunciation of the loud F 'n' L, it is obviously intended to sound like a swear word and I do not want my young children to overhear the ad and repeat it".

This despite the fact that "effin' hell" is hardly much of a sweary term.

Sofa King - "Our prices are Sofa King Low!"

Read the last three words fast and you'll cop that it is indeed a little bit more vulgar than L'Oreal's ad.

A risque slogan for a Northampton shop, the tagline was used for a full eight years after initial complaints to the police in 2004.

The Advertising Standards Authority in England eventually upheld the objections of a regional newspapers readers in 2012.

The furniture store continues to operate and, according to one Yelp.ie review, the prices are, indeed, stupidly low.

Sofa King advert. From telegraph.co.uk