After receiving widespread criticism online, skin whitening brand Glutamax has issued an official apology for the alleged discriminatory tone of its "Unfair 'di ba?" campaign. However, a statement released by the Ad Standards Council (ASC) yesterday reveals that the controversial ad materials were not cleared for publication in the first place.
The ASC's statement reads, "ASC stands for responsible communications and abides by a strict code of ethics. In connection with the recent GLUTAMAX skin care digital and outdoor ads, the materials posted and displayed were not approved by ASC."
The advertising body then quotes the portion of its code of ethics that resulted in the campaign's non-approval. It states, "Article IV Section 1 item a. of the ASC Code of Ethics on DISPARAGEMENT states that: 'Advertisements shall not directly or indirectly disparage, ridicule, criticize, or attack any natural or juridical person, groups of persons, or any sector of society, especially on the basis of gender, social or economic class, religion, ethnicity, race, or nationality.'"
Despite this non-approval, it's apparent that Glutamax decided to push through with the publication of its advertisements. The ASC responds, "The posting of a disapproved material is in violation of the ASC Manual of Procedures. The matter will be dealt with in accordance to the rules and regulations as stated in said Manual."
The ASC describes itself as the "advertising industry body in-charge of screening and regulating content of advertising materials across all medium." All ads that fall under their scope of coverage must be submitted for approval to "protect consumers from misleading, indecent, and unlawful advertisements."
Glutamax has yet to respond to the ASC's statement.