Lily Allen's Spotify promotional email banned


Glamour Women of the Year Awards 2012 - London

An email promoting a new Lily Allen song sent by music streaming service Spotify has been banned for being likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

The promotional email from Spotify included the text: "Have you heard this song by Lily Allen? Give it a try. F*** You."

A complainant challenged whether the use of a swear word in the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

Spotify said it did not intend to cause offence to users or to the wider public, and the email was intended to recommend songs to a user, one of which was titled F*** You.

The streaming service said the song was not chosen to shock consumers or to drive traffic to its website by being controversial, adding that it appeared alongside nine other recommendations.

Spotify said the recommendation was very unlikely to have been sent to a user who had only ever listened to music targeted at young teenagers or children and was therefore unlikely to have been sent to users who might be more sensitive to the language used.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) accepted that the expletive in the ad reflected the title of a song, but said: "While we considered Spotify users would understand the use of 'F*** You' to be the title of a song, we considered recipients of emails from a general online music service would not expect them to include swearing.

"We considered the use of 'F***' was likely to cause serious offence to some recipients of such emails and therefore concluded that the ad breached the advertising code."

It ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form and added: "We told Spotify to ensure their future advertising contained nothing that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence."

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