This discussion topic is in partnership with ParentPort, a website run by the UK's media regulators. They set and enforce standards across the media to protect children from inappropriate material.

an offer of free ice cream from Ann Summers will attract as many children as adults

(202 Posts)
dontaskforthe99 Thu 10-May-12 10:14:47

Driving on the motorway on Friday (family in car) We passed an ice cream van that offered on the back - 'Free ice cream - Grab a mouthful'. On the back of the van was the web address Along the side of the van it proclaimed 'Summer of Sex'. Am I overreacting to think that kids seeing this may well go to the website to see how they can get their free ice cream only to be confronted by a selection of dildos? I did phone and email the company but got no response.

Whatmeworry Thu 10-May-12 10:58:50

Or dildo shaped ice creams?

Stick a flake down the dead eye sort of stuff....

littleducks Thu 10-May-12 11:08:34

Info here

I would be very hmm if my dcs saw a van offering free ice creams it turned out that:

"Everyone who rocks up to the I Scream van gets free ice cream – while we still have some left. Oh yeah, and, flavoured lube toppings."

ItsAPublicForumWhine Thu 10-May-12 11:10:08

Flavoured lube tastes gross. As do flavoured condoms - they just taste of rubber!

dontaskforthe99 Thu 10-May-12 11:14:16

I'm not a prude but I was completely shock - Actually that emoticon might be completely the wrong one in this context, now thinking how much it looks like one of those scary blow up doll heads.


And I'm not a prude at all, no, just no.

Tee2072 Thu 10-May-12 12:31:54

Darn it, not in Belfast. My life is over...

That is really just odd.

dontaskforthe99 Thu 10-May-12 14:10:29

more the weather for hot soup anyway...

Doyouthinktheysaurus Thu 10-May-12 14:26:12

Eeww, that's just plain odd.

Ice cream attracts children more than adults surelyhmm Imagine trying to explain that one away to young only ice cream! I hate ice cream and ann summers, lovehoney is much better and more discreet

dontaskforthe99 Thu 10-May-12 14:34:03

but what on earth were they thinking when they were having their marketing dept meeting ....can't quite follow the thought processes that would use a vehicle that sells ice cream mostly to children and families to promote sex toys and lingerie. This ice cream van has to be driven between the stores, it can easily be seen by children and they have to park it in public places. It isn't just a stall they set up at adult only events/locations.

blapbird Thu 10-May-12 15:15:55

Ann Scummers more like good for vibrators but the under wear is anything but sexy, all made out of that tacky nylon material no silk, no really tactile fabrics just plastic.
The ice cream thing is weird too, I don't like the idea of it YANBU

"Ann Scummers more like good for vibrators but the under wear is anything but sexy, all made out of that tacky nylon material no silk, no really tactile fabrics just plastic"

Actually that's not correct, and hasn't been the case for some years. I've just left the company after eight years as a team leader, and the fabrics have definitely moved with the times.

That said, this ice cream van idea is frankly bizarre confused.

FanjoString Thu 10-May-12 18:11:49

Pretty stupid idea. And it's hardly ice cream weather. Marketing fail.

gafhyb Thu 10-May-12 18:16:19


littleducks Thu 10-May-12 19:27:16

bump for the evening crowd

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 10-May-12 19:44:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SardineQueen Thu 10-May-12 20:05:27

What a stupid idea.
And who the fuck wants an ice-cream with flavoured lube all over it? Free or otherwise confused

blapbird Thu 10-May-12 20:08:07

woah sardineQueen is that really true? The ice-cream has lube on it? Gross! is the ice cream made out of man milk?
do you want a penis flake in that?

AngelWreakinHavoc Thu 10-May-12 20:09:27

I love Ann summers but this is beyond a joke. I have just looked at the site littleducks shared and I'm going to complain now.

Meglet Thu 10-May-12 20:10:14

Lube topping?


blapbird Thu 10-May-12 20:12:23

yeah wt ACTUAL f? Is that true?

AngelWreakinHavoc Thu 10-May-12 20:14:59

They quote:

Everyone who rocks up to the I Scream van gets free ice cream – while we still have some left. Oh yeah, and, flavoured lube toppings.

SardineQueen Thu 10-May-12 20:16:06

yes it was on the quote upthread.bleurgh.

blapbird Thu 10-May-12 20:20:11

That is disgusting!!!! Whatever next, Vaseline Victoria sponge? Spermicide sweets?

SardineQueen Thu 10-May-12 20:21:32

"A bag of naughty things for everyone who pulls their best “O face” and lets us Facebook it!"

So that'll be a load of kids pulling random faces that they don't know what it means and getting bags full of "naughty things"??? Teens who do know what it means and are giggling having their best orgasm faces on facebook?

Simply bizarre.

SardineQueen Thu 10-May-12 20:21:56

"Turn up to the van in just your bikini, we’ll give you a brand new and exclusive Ann Summers swim set absolutely free."

Just YUK

AngelWreakinHavoc Thu 10-May-12 20:24:56

Is there anything we could do about this? other than complain?

blapbird Thu 10-May-12 20:26:04

Jokes aside for a min...This is a step too far, it's an adults shop, children should no way be exposed to this it's very very irresponsible, quick someone contact the council. What kind of society are we living in? just awful. sad

Aribura Thu 10-May-12 20:30:41

Are they not more likely to experience Ann Summers walking past the actual shops than seeing a van passing, remembering the web address until they get home, and type it in? Yawn.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 10-May-12 20:33:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SardineQueen Thu 10-May-12 20:36:51

There doesn't appear to be any age limit on participating in the promotion though.

AngelWreakinHavoc Thu 10-May-12 20:41:14

Aribura If you are tired then Take Your Yawns to bed smile

SquidgyBiscuits Thu 10-May-12 20:43:32

Well surely anybody outraged enough will be busy wrapping their little ones up in cotton wool and sheltering them from the fact that sex exists and people enjoy it.

Most towns have AS on the High Street....

Aside from that I imagine the people manning the van will probably use their common sense a bit and not give a bag of goodies to a child, nor a lube topped ice cream!

SardineQueen Thu 10-May-12 20:49:15

And what is to stop teenage girls doing their best "O" faces and agreeing to have them on facebook in return for a free bag of "naughty stuff" hmm?

I would have deffo gone for that when I was a teen as would all of my friends. From about 13 up.

SardineQueen Thu 10-May-12 20:49:55

So I guess these days it would probably be younger than that.


SardineQueen Thu 10-May-12 20:52:04

Also I knew quite a few girls at school who would have been happy to strip down to a bikini for "free stuff" which is the other thing they are offering. Have they considered that a large number of people going for the "free stuff" will be underage girls I wonder.

dontaskforthe99 Thu 10-May-12 21:00:02

I'm mainly outraged that kids passing the van would see the web address and connect it with an offer of free ice cream, they could then easily visit the site and see unsuitable content. Kids as young as 8 have smart phones and they are hard to restrict for internet content (harder than home PCs).

SardineQueen Thu 10-May-12 21:03:48

I'm definitely mainly a bit concerned that the vans will be a magnet for secondary school age girls getting their "best orgasm faces" on facebook and getting free bags of "naughty" goodies in return, possibly combined with stripping to bikinis on the street.

How do they intend to deal with that I wonder.
A free ice-cream is much more tempting to someone on pocket money than a grown-up, surely.

AngelWreakinHavoc Thu 10-May-12 21:05:45

The O faces concern me too. I know at 13 I would not have hesitated at doing something stupid like that.

SquidgyBiscuits Thu 10-May-12 21:09:08

For a kid as young as 8 to see an ice cream can drive past, remember the full and correct web address and then visit it later on would be remarkable.

For a kid to see the van parked up, people getting ice cream and decide to memorise the web address and visit it later rather than try to get ice cream there and then would be ridiculous.

I've just had a look on the blog and could see plenty of pics of adult women and men, all of whom presumably consented to having their picture taken, having posed for it. The T&Cs state subject to availability which is a get out clause for a company to restrict the offer for anybody they suspect is under 18. The marketing people are approaching people who have the ice cream for the pics, and supposedly they are using their judgement in doing so.

I just don't see it as a big deal. If we have high street sex shops then they are already visable to under 18s. When I was about 12 me and my friends got a load of flavoured condoms and licked them to see if they really were flavoured. It was a giggle, it didn't make us straddle the nearest guys.

SardineQueen Thu 10-May-12 21:16:46

It's nothing to do with "straddling the nearest guys" confused

SardineQueen Thu 10-May-12 21:18:29

That is a really strange thing to say.


I can't find any T&Cs.
It says do the things and you get the stuff.
Orgasm faces + agreement to facebook = naughty bag
Strip to bikini = free swimming stuff

I think that will appeal enormously to girls in the 13/14 age bracket.

dontaskforthe99 Thu 10-May-12 21:19:45

SquidgyBiscuits - you don't think 8 year olds can remember It's not a very lengthy web address. They may be passing in a car, on the bus and not able to ask for their free ice cream there and then but want to find out who/why they are giving away free ice cream. It is really inappropriate marketing. Why do we have to have this tacky shit on show on our motorways and high streets.

EdithWeston Thu 10-May-12 21:21:26

I think the juxtaposition of "free ice cream" and "summer of sex" is wrong in itself, regardless of whether DCs remember web addresses etc. Other over-18 products (like booze) cannot be advertised in ways likely to appeal to children, and I think even the vanilla end of sex shops ought to be considered in this way.

(Was it vanilla, BTW?)

SardineQueen Thu 10-May-12 21:33:45

Yes that is a good post edith.

weeonion Thu 10-May-12 22:29:14


southlundon Thu 10-May-12 23:13:41

I was approached by a lady working for one of these vans on Liverpool high st this Monday. No, I didn't want to book a home party and no, I didn't want to give them my details - either of which they needed for the free ice cream and 'goody' bag.

Now I'm by no means a prude but there is a big difference between having a AS shop on the high st and having a van parked slap bang in the middle of the busiest shopping st, seemingly giving out free over creams and leading to me having to explain to my upset 3yo DS that he couldn't have an ice cream because mummy didn't want to spend a lt p money on something I didn't want to buy just to get an ice cream. That was the only way I could explain it to him.

I was v pissed off about this, as was my SIL and our DHs who we were with. Luckily her preteen girls didn't notice.

Glad someone's brought this up on here.

southlundon Thu 10-May-12 23:15:31

Oh and I was walking along the street holding hands with my DS when I was approached, which makes it even worse in my eyes.

Excuse typos btw.

spammertime Thu 10-May-12 23:20:31

It's horrible, and what happened to you is totally inappropriate south.

If they ever make it done here and did the same, I think I would ask if they could be the ones to explain to my sons what they would like me to buy.

Edith's post sums it up v well

LynnCSchreiber Thu 10-May-12 23:30:20

The issue here is that they are targeting adults using images and concepts that will attract children.

"Free ice cream" is so fecking creepy. What is next, "Do you want to see my puppies".

And approaching someone on the street when they are with children is a definite no no.

LynnCSchreiber Thu 10-May-12 23:35:25

Btw, if you use the #annsummers hashtag when you tweet about it, it appears on the bottom of their website.

Tee2072 Fri 11-May-12 07:21:21

It appears to not be a live feed, MmeL. I just tweeted and it's still showing yours from 7 hours ago but mine hadn't appeared.

Tee2072 Fri 11-May-12 07:31:41

I take it back, my Tweet just showed up on their site.

McKayz Fri 11-May-12 07:38:23

I like Ann Summers. Their lingerie is mainly what I get as its very comfy and now the local La Senza has gone I'm stuck with AS or M&S.

But this is just stupid. I have a 5 and 3 year old and if they saw an ice cream van they would be asking for it. DS1 is learning to read too so might be able to make out Free.

How many parents, grandparents etc are going to have to deal with upset children because of this? Quite a lot I expect.

Then there is all the teenage girls wanting to strip off to bikinis. I know I would have at 15 or so with my friends.

blapbird Fri 11-May-12 08:27:33

We should tweet them all in one go then they'll be trending and when people click on their name it will have all our protests, I've tweeted them already.

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 11-May-12 08:44:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AngelWreakinHavoc Fri 11-May-12 08:49:35

I have a Twitter account but dont understand how it works! I have emailed them though.

Merrylegs Fri 11-May-12 08:52:47

There is also an AS radio advert (it plays on our local KISS station) which is aired throughout the day - especially it seems at school pick up time! That's how I heard about the free ice-cream. (Mind you, the songs KISS play are all basically all about 'me likey likey having sex' and the demographic is young people, so I guess it fits right in. (They do play it on the school bus though. That's a lot of pre-teens hearing about free ice-cream.)

LynnCSchreiber Fri 11-May-12 08:58:39

You have to refresh the page for the tweets to show.

I wrote about this on the blog yesterday, as did SGM.

LynnCSchreiber Fri 11-May-12 09:08:04

We are not allowed to link to blogs on MN but if you happen to look in the bloggers' network forum you might find some interesting blogs.


<hides from MNHQ>

If anyone blogs and would like to add to that, please do.

wonkylegs Fri 11-May-12 09:55:17

Since my nearly 4yo can remember and type in off the delivery van (he loves the Tesco man and decided to try and make him come again by 'doing shopping like mummy') I don't see why young kids couldn't do the same for free ice cream. Even asking a distracted parent if it was ok because I think if I hadn't read this and my kid asked if he could go online to claim his free ice cream I'd probably think it was a promotion by Walls or Ben & Jerrys or something like that, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't cross my mind that it was a sex shop.
I'm not a prude, I understand that there is a market for AS but this is a poor marketing choice that will appeal to kids whether it was meant to or not.

LynnCSchreiber Fri 11-May-12 10:52:28

Exactly, Wonky. My DS comes home and says "We need to look up cause they are giving away stuff" so I don't think that would be difficult for them to remember.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 11-May-12 12:17:27

Hello. We're going to move this thread to our Parentport topic - which is a topic specifically for discussions about ads/programmes/games that might be unsuitable for children.

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 11-May-12 12:20:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MerylStrop Fri 11-May-12 12:21:42

that location is a bit niche, MN, are you scared of upsetting Anne Summers?

OP - very weird indeed

Get0rfMoiLand Fri 11-May-12 12:23:57

Why has this been moved to parentport Helen?

Half of us don't even know what it means - it is certainly not intuitive. I think it is certainly appropriate for AIBU or Feminist topic.

A lot of MNers view threads via topics - this subject may well die a death in here <echoes>

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 11-May-12 12:25:16


that location is a bit niche, MN, are you scared of upsetting Anne Summers?

OP - very weird indeed

No, we have made it a Discussion of the Day, too.

ParentPort is a new(ish) topic we've set up in partnership with ParentPort itself, a website run by the UK's media regulators. They set and enforce standards across the media to protect children from inappropriate material.

There are links there to follow, if you want to report any ads/programmes. And also the folks at Parentport keep an eye...

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 11-May-12 12:25:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Get0rfMoiLand Fri 11-May-12 12:28:27

OK fair enough - I had no idea re the parentport but it sounds like a good idea.

However I think it is just as appropriate a discussion from the aspects of it being a godforsaken and awful ad campaign because of its misogyny, not just from the POV of being seen by children (however I do recognise that is the thread title).

MerylStrop Fri 11-May-12 12:28:34

yep, niche

LynnCSchreiber Fri 11-May-12 12:28:56

So that means we can contact Parentport, Helen? Are they going to be kind of a CEOPS for inappropriate online content?

LynnCSchreiber Fri 11-May-12 12:31:09

Oh, no. I just looked at the website, they just direct one to the right place to complain.

Which is quite a good idea, but I do think that a good ranty AIBU thread will reach more people.

Maybe if MNHQ were to tweet about it, and FB the thread?

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 11-May-12 12:37:31


Oh, no. I just looked at the website, they just direct one to the right place to complain.

Which is quite a good idea, but I do think that a good ranty AIBU thread will reach more people.

Maybe if MNHQ were to tweet about it, and FB the thread?

Already done wink

LynnCSchreiber Fri 11-May-12 13:04:18

Thanks Helen. Have RTed.

dontaskforthe99 Fri 11-May-12 13:13:21

Wondered where my thread had gone. I do think it is an AIBU and moving it will hide it. Perhaps you could have referenced the other area so that people were aware of it. Does Mumsnet accept advertising from Ann Summers? It would be interesting to know if this has influenced your decision. My main concern is with children being directed towards inappropriate website content and sexual marketing in inappropriate places. It isn't as if I haven't bought stuff in AS before. Don't think I will in the future.

It won't be hidden if people bump into it enough smile wink

LynnCSchreiber Fri 11-May-12 13:23:16

maybe you should move this thread back to AIBU and put a link to the Parentport bit.

and while you are on this thread, can you have a look at this.

AbigailAdams Fri 11-May-12 13:40:41

Oh this is just pants. How inappropriate. Will tweet now.

RCheshire Fri 11-May-12 13:40:59

It's a 'Discussion of the day'. How more visible can it get?

My first thought on looking at the campaign page for this was "oh, I really hope my 3yr old doesn't see one of these vans while we're out and about, there would be all manner of tantrum to deal with as I try to explain that lube flavoured topping really isn't what she wants and that yes, the lady in the picture forgot to put her top on...".

Then seeing the post further upthread that this had happened already to another MNer made me angry and wonder WTF are Anne Summers thinking?

Free ice-cream, I mean come on. Your creative team didn't really think this one through did they? hmm.

Get0rfMoiLand Fri 11-May-12 13:59:15

I can imagine my dd's ranting at the thought of ice cream with lube on top.

I might text her and tell her about it - she is on twitter.

Saw one of these vans in town - it was surrounded by teenagers. 'Nuff said...

Get0rfMoiLand Fri 11-May-12 13:59:58

My dd is 16 btw, and a feministy ranter, just in case you thought I was telling an 8 year old about it. grin

Hebiegebies Fri 11-May-12 14:08:57

Where is the best place to complain? It's all very well me writing on here, but how do we get our voice heard?

fridakahlo Fri 11-May-12 14:10:48

This is wrong, wrong, wrong. It is a way of getting teenagers hooked into the brand before they are actually old enough to be officially targetted. By using ice cream, they will even end up making children aware of their branding. I really really hate marketing. If I had my way, advertising would be severely restricted.

TheShriekingHarpy Fri 11-May-12 14:13:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I doubt, in this case, frid that it's as calculated as that. More misguided stupidity. A bunch of people with silly glasses sitting around on beanbags brainstorming 'how can we make summer 2012 all about Anne Summers, what do you associate with summer, 'ICE CREAM!', yeah man let's get a bunch of ice cream vans and give away free ice cream, that'd be coooool'


Harpy, of course you say no and carry on walking <with screeching child>, but being put in the position of having to discipline my 3yr old because a bunch of idiot ad execs came up with a stupid idea is really irritating.

KatieMiddleton Fri 11-May-12 14:18:13

Yuk. That is all... unless any MNers are setting up a rival van offering free ice cream (while it lasts) if punters keep their dignity and clothes on? <throws down gauntlet>

Leo35 Fri 11-May-12 14:31:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PatriciaHolm Fri 11-May-12 14:32:01

This has to contravene the ASA's latest stance on "sexual imagery in outdoor advertising":

"The ASA has issued a statement to the advertising industry highlighting the firmer line we will be taking when considering complaints about ‘sexualised imagery’ in outdoor advertising where children are likely to see it. The protection of children from inappropriate or harmful material sits at the heart of our work and the Advertising Codes. We are signalling a tightening of our approach in light of new evidence we have received from the public on what is acceptable in terms of sexual imagery on posters, and also in response to a Government commissioned report into the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood, the Bailey Review. We will, as we have when judging such matters in the past, be looking to reflect the opinions of society and generally."

You can complain to the ASA at

TheShriekingHarpy Fri 11-May-12 14:32:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MarysBeard Fri 11-May-12 14:33:10

They probably welcome the adverse publicity this will bring.

It lacks so much genuine creativity. As a PR this is the kind of campaign dreamed up by ad men that people in my field do our very best to stop happening... or at the very least have a bloody good laugh at.

On a serious note I do think the imagery on the van is inappropriate for outdoor space and may well contravene ASA guidelines. I will submit a complaint.

RCheshire Fri 11-May-12 14:39:39


"Noted on the website that this was all down to a woman. Typical."

Sound offensive that way round?

dontaskforthe99 Fri 11-May-12 14:43:26

thanks PatriciaHolm that is useful information. Saying no to your children isn't the issue here ShriekingHarpy, my children would probably tell you that my default setting is no! The issue is exposure to unsuitable imagery. Whatever filters you set up on your PC it is hard to restrict the content on mobile phones.

LynnCSchreiber Fri 11-May-12 14:43:52

Anyone who believes that setting up a filter will stop their children seeing a website such as Ann Summers needs to educate themselves better. No filter can prevent a teenager looking at the site at their friend's house, or on the phone of a school pal.

And that is not the only issue.

More worrying is the early sexualisation of children - this advertising campaign is going to attract the attention of teenagers (see InigoMontoya's post) and gives the impression that stripping off to a bikini in order to win a box of sex toys is a cool and funny.

RCheshire Fri 11-May-12 14:45:54

I doubt it's intentionally aiming at children. I suspect it's exactly as missmavixcruet says:

"I doubt, in this case, frid that it's as calculated as that. More misguided stupidity. A bunch of people with silly glasses sitting around on beanbags brainstorming 'how can we make summer 2012 all about Anne Summers, what do you associate with summer, 'ICE CREAM!', yeah man let's get a bunch of ice cream vans and give away free ice cream, that'd be coooool'"

And because they probably sit in a daft office somewhere in Soho completely removed from the real world they have little grasp of social responsibility. Or don't care.

<disclaimer: I have sat in many a daft office in Soho so I know that of which I speak>

LynnCSchreiber Fri 11-May-12 15:04:16

Yes, I agree MissM. As a very good friend of mine would put it: nincompoops!

southlundon Fri 11-May-12 15:11:01

I've just complained at the Advertising Standards authority. Unfortunately I forgot to copy and paste the quotation above about the ASA's stance on sexualised imagery in outdoor advertising but I hope I made my point clear.

KatieMiddleton Fri 11-May-12 15:36:14

Oh I'm sure it's not deliberately aimed at children but the fact remains that it will and has attracted children. But surely the obvious misogyny would have occurred to somebody in an organisation run mainly by women?

It's ironic but I never thought of Ann Summers as being sexist or misogynistic before. Their tacky products aren't my cup of tea, but giving women control of their orgasm and sexuality are feminist aims and Ann Summers has made that accessible to many women - so why go and do something as sexist and misogynistic and downright degrading as this campaign?

TheShriekingHarpy Fri 11-May-12 15:44:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LynnCSchreiber Fri 11-May-12 15:53:02

Erm. Yes. And how would that child know to google Ann Summers, if he/she had not seen the van parked in the town centre advertising free ice cream?

No, I don't think a filter does much to minimize the dangers of a child seeing something it ought not to. It does minimize the worry for the parent but it does not protect the child.

If you want to protect your child from the nastiness online, then you have to talk to them about it. Not lock it away (the internet, not the child).

And you are spectacularly missing the point. "One would hope that they would exercise good judgement" - it is not the judgement of the person in the I Scream van, but the fact that the van is out there bringing sex and sex toys into an environment that is aimed at kids, ie an ice cream van in the high street.

The images are simply not acceptable. It is like broadcasting softporn before the watershed.

TheShriekingHarpy Fri 11-May-12 15:55:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KatieMiddleton Fri 11-May-12 16:04:00

Of course it's misogyny giving women an incentive to be half dressed in a shopping street hmm It shows a complete lack of respect for women.

SardineQueen Fri 11-May-12 16:07:49

The bare flesh is most likely to be that of an underage girl though.

have they thought of that.

TheShriekingHarpy Fri 11-May-12 16:18:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LynnCSchreiber Fri 11-May-12 16:22:38

It may reduce the possibility. You are welcome to try it out on your children.

Going by the fact that most parents have some kind of filter yet around 60% of teenagers under the age of 15 have seen porn, I am sticking to my way of protecting my kids.

And yes, talk of ice cream with lube and handing out goodie bags on the high street is comparable with soft porn.

What do you think is in the goodie bags?

SardineQueen Fri 11-May-12 16:33:44

"In mentioning "exercising judgement" I was actually alluding to the bikini for free merchandise gimmick and the general concern that this may attract the attention of underage girls.."

In what way is "exercising judgement" going to prevent teenage girls doing orgasm faces for facebook and possibly stripping to bikinis (I had friends who would have done that at 14) for "free stuff".

SardineQueen Fri 11-May-12 16:36:38

Free "naughty" stuff, no less.

This campaign is much more appealing to children and teenagers than to adults. I have bought stuff from AS in the past but you wouldn't catch me eating lube, doing orgasm faces for facebook or taking my clothes off in the middle of the high street. It is most likely to appeal to gaggles of schoolgirls I'd have thought (and apparently that is exactly who they are attracting).

TheShriekingHarpy Fri 11-May-12 16:47:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheShriekingHarpy Fri 11-May-12 16:53:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheShriekingHarpy Fri 11-May-12 17:01:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dontaskforthe99 Fri 11-May-12 17:02:43

Well went to the Parentport area, ASA seemed only appropriate avenue for complaint but they've already told me they aren't the right people to complain to: "I’m sorry to tell you that we can’t deal with your complaint because the ASA isn’t entitled to regulate the material you object to. Our remit doesn’t cover material on vehicles belonging to the advertiser (i.e. not in paid for space). "

SardineQueen Fri 11-May-12 17:04:31

Presumably you were once a teenage girl TSH?
It's not hard to imagine at all confused

SardineQueen Fri 11-May-12 17:05:52

"Excercising judgement by not selecting underage kids to pose for Facebook shots... Over 18? It's their prerogative I'd say.."

How is that going to stop them?
The person doing it is hardly going to get out of the van to prevent them doing orgasm faces and (possibly) taking their clothes off confused

SardineQueen Fri 11-May-12 17:07:36

Plus it does not contain an age limit anywhere that I can see in the promotion, so said teenage girls are not going to slink off when told no they are going to argue!

They really haven't though this through.

If it says free goody bag for orgasm face and doesn't say you have to be over a certain age then teenage girls is what they are going to get.

KatieMiddleton Fri 11-May-12 17:10:38

And where exactly would one keep her ID when dressed only in a bikini? wink

How about I open a van selling hot dogs, rename it Cock Dogs and give every man who comes along and poses in a pair of budgie smugglers a bag of "naughty things"?

I imagine it will be the same sad old letches in their pants who think the current Ann Summer's campaign is a good idea, except nobody's going to want to see that so no marketing miles in that one.

TheShriekingHarpy Fri 11-May-12 17:17:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Migsy1 Fri 11-May-12 17:18:48

That is just WRONG!

TheShriekingHarpy Fri 11-May-12 17:20:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

surfsister Fri 11-May-12 17:54:13

can't we all email Ann summers to ask what's going on?

What a stinky sick idea. sad

gafhyb Fri 11-May-12 18:39:28

I'm prepared to exercise my judgment regarding what my children have access to, but it's swimming against a tide of pornification. This campaign is so fucking misguided.

LynnCSchreiber Fri 11-May-12 18:39:46

Never believe a statistic that you haven't faked yourself (I paraphrase). Yy, I know.

Even without stats - as a few teenagers. They ARE being exposed to porn, and sadly it is not soft porn.

I didn't know about anal sex until I read it on MN. I had NO idea when I was 18 or 19 what it was. Now we have young girls on FB talking about taking it up the bum.

If that is not sexualisation of children, then what is?

Perhaps soft porn analogy is wrong. Maybe it should be, "It is like giving away lube in Top Shop". A brand that is not only for young girls, but extremely popular with them.

blapbird Fri 11-May-12 18:40:59

I have made a complaint to them and threatened to contact my local MP as this is a major component to a societal concern about the sexualisation of young people

NovackNGood Fri 11-May-12 19:19:07

When people claim outrage at how this might mislead teen girls do you mean 16,17,18,19. I think not.

LynnCSchreiber Fri 11-May-12 19:42:16

By that time, the damage is done.

I am talking about how this is adding to the sexualisation of children in UK. Being a teenager should be about your first snog. Not your first bottle of lube.

TheMistsOfAvalon Fri 11-May-12 19:45:10

Wrong just wrong. There is a line.

They're depending on everyone being 'adult' 'cool' and 'hip' about it though. Protecting the children from early sexualisation is sooo yesterday.

gafhyb Fri 11-May-12 19:51:06

Novack - I'm talking about 12, 13, 14 year olds

luzluz Fri 11-May-12 19:51:27

Not outraged just think AS and the like are tawdry and utterly depressing, if your sex life requires regular input from Ann Summers then I think you would be better spending the money in therapy with a nice psychotherapist.

Bleurgh, bleurgh, bleurgh.

gafhyb Fri 11-May-12 19:51:52

10, 11

Anyone who can read, so that's 6,7, 8, 9

NovackNGood Fri 11-May-12 19:53:44

Well the actual age fo loosing virginity hasn't changed much for the last 40 years so the sexualisation thing is just faux outrage.

I think most folks have their first snog when 11 or 12 don't they.

LynnCSchreiber Fri 11-May-12 20:09:05

Have you actually read anything on this topic or are you just guessing, Novak?

It is not (just) the age that kids are losing their virginity. It is the massive change in what is seen as "normal" sexual behaviour.

I posted earlier that anal was a word for someone who was a bit overly obsessed with tidiness when I was in my late teens. Buttplugs were unheard of. Now teens and young adults think it is totally normal, and even post about it on FB.

Girls are made to feel like freaks if they don't shave their bodies.

fridakahlo Fri 11-May-12 21:45:59

I am so glad I live in small town america sometimes. Not that the enviroment is repressive, the next town over has three sex shops (well, two, since one has rebranded to be more about gothy clothes).
But you can't tell from the outside what they are, they display lingerie in a tasteful manner and have strict no under 18's policies.
We also are not surrounded by images of scantily clad women on a day to day basis.
I went down to Philadelphia the other day, and the ad's on top of taxi cabs for strip clubs were rife. I feel sad for all the children who have that waved in their face every day.
I grew up in London and frequently went to Tottenham Court Rd, which is where one of the first Anne Summers stores were. I was probably aware of it from the age of twelve/thirteen. By the age of fifteen, my friends and I were going in, but not casually,as we knew if we got challenged for ID, we would be thrown out, not offered some lube and a bag of sex toys, for making an orgasm face.
That's progress I guess, but I can't see it as a good thing.

lolajane2009 Fri 11-May-12 22:22:33

totally wrong imo

Hopefullyrecovering Fri 11-May-12 22:28:01

TSH all the PCs and the broadband gizmo are set to filter out unsuitable sites. Unfortunately the Ann Summers site gets past them all ...

cabbageandbeans Fri 11-May-12 22:39:44

Complain the ASA (advertising Standards Agency). It is a highly inappropriate campaign to have roaming our towns.

It is easy to do, just click on link:

dontaskforthe99 Fri 11-May-12 22:51:02

cabbageandbeans my complaint has already been dismissed by the ASA (see earlier post) apparently you can put any old shite on a vehicle.

cabbageandbeans Fri 11-May-12 22:58:45

Yeah, I saw that afterwards. It is bloody shocking! I have actually seen shocking images on vehicles before and never thought about complaining but clearly there is no-one to complain to. There is nothing misguided about this campaign - this is strategic. They know that no-one can make an official complaint so that is why it is on a vehicle.

fridakahlo Sat 12-May-12 03:35:12

Online badgering and peititions it is then.

EdithWeston Sat 12-May-12 06:02:04

I was wondering, as this issue had identified there is a gap in regulation, if MN might consider campaigning to close that gap?

It seems astonishing to me that you can carry out promo activities from a vehicle, with any content anywhere.

So if you want to put up say an explicit ad for lap dancing outside a school, you'll be told (eventually) to take it down. But if you plonked the same thing on the side of a van, it's OK as there's no one to stop you.

And everyone knows that children are attracted to ice-cream vans. There is a strong and obvious case for banning their use to promote over-18 merchandise.

NovackNGood Sat 12-May-12 06:37:00

Having just seen a photo of the van it looks nothing other than an advert for a magazine like gracia or other supermarket type mags summer edition with a picture of a bikini clad girl all over the side and a sailor looking girl in a bustier type thing on the back.

merrymouse Sat 12-May-12 06:42:48

I think the food/icecream link is also designed to make Anne Summers 'safe' and mainstream. I'm trying to imagine another 'adult' brand e.g. alcohol promoting itself with icecream - buy some whisky and get a free cornetto. Its sex for 'kidults'.

NovackNGood Sat 12-May-12 06:50:00

Like magnums with baileys you mean?

NovackNGood Sat 12-May-12 06:51:10

Pina colada was a great flavour when i was a child so there is nothing new there is there.

merrymouse Sat 12-May-12 07:04:12

That is icecream containing alcohol, not selling icecream to encourage purchase of alcohol. Similarly, liqueurs have been around for a long time, but you don't tend to get free sweeties when you buy a six pack. I suspect its illegal.

NovackNGood Sat 12-May-12 07:14:31

I dont think ice cream contains alcohol of any note to be honest even if it has a name like an alcoholic beverage. At most you could maybe get a sorbet but with the freezing point of alcohol being so low it would be mush within seconds of taking it out of a batch freezer. I'm sure they are just flavoured like the drink with zero alcohol content.

Anyway that is diverging off topic

ZombieFrootShoot Sat 12-May-12 07:30:40

Candy floss, bubblegum, tutti frutti are some of the lube flavours from the 'candy shop' range. I imagine these will be the toppings for the free ice cream.

Not exactly aimed at adults, imo.

ilovesprouts Sat 12-May-12 07:34:42

put me right off ice cream now ,do u want bits and lube on shudder shock

merrymouse Sat 12-May-12 07:37:45

Anyway the point I am trying to make is that Ann Summers promotes itself by making sex toys 'safe' and not scary. This is the point of the Ann Summers parties and games.

Other 'adult' products (except perhaps alcohol aimed at women like Baileys) don't try to make the product seem less adult. OK, maybe adult products aimed at men don't try to make the product seem less adult?

ZombieFrootShoot Sat 12-May-12 07:51:12

Ok, so ice cream parked in town centres for maximum attention.

Young women urged to strip off in public and eat free ice cream whilst making orgasmic faces. Bikinis only. (somehow, I doubt this is aimed at say older women in Stornoway or Aberdeen where it is a bit bloody cold)

Promoting of the 'Summer of Sex' tacky

Results photographed and posted on facebook.

This is deemed as acceptable? That if we find this idea horrifying then we must be prudes? It smacks of grooming.

StewieGriffinsMom Sat 12-May-12 08:21:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pearliwhile Sat 12-May-12 10:16:41

I'm now very wary of ice cream vans and would probably stay well clear from ever buying from an ice cream van again. To me alarm bells ring very loudly. You only have to see what has been uncovered in the papers this week at that dreadful trial and how no-one took the 15 year old girl seriously enough to investigate. For heaven sakes we ARE talking about children and there is a time and place for everything, ice cream vans are to entice children... as * ZoombiFS said "smacks of grooming".

LynnCSchreiber Sat 12-May-12 11:14:00

The <ick> factor is huge.

It has connotations of "do you want to come and see my puppies?", of men enticing young girls.

I think too that this is disturbing because of the memories I have of running out to an ice cream van, a 10p clutched in my hand, the discordant musak ringing in the air, excited as only a child can be when she is getting a 99 cone... it is a picture of childhood innocence.

I haven't had a reply from ASA yet. Could someone who has had a reply email them back and ask if there is a government body that deals with these complaints.

I don't think it is something that MN could campaign to have changed though, as it probably doesn't come up very often.

More likely is that public pressure will force them to cancel their Summer of Sex.

Someone on Twitter made a very good point - in the 60s it was Summer of Love.

shock I would not have believed this was possible. How crass, ill-thought-out and tacky. Agree it's very analogous to asking a child if they want to see some nice puppies. hmm

I'd imagine it won't last long though - it's already getting so much negative publicity. <hopes> I'm going to email someone about it too.

LynnCSchreiber Sat 12-May-12 13:44:06

have tweeted Jacqueline Gold.

KatieMiddleton Sat 12-May-12 14:27:04

It finished on 11th May although they plan to do it again so worth keeping up the pressure.

KatieMiddleton Sat 12-May-12 14:29:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KatieMiddleton Sat 12-May-12 14:29:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KatieMiddleton Sat 12-May-12 15:00:26

Sorry MNHQ have deleted the wrong posts. It's supposed to say "It finished on 11th May although there may plan to do it again so worth keeping up the pressure."

Something crashed when I tried to post that before and it went a bit wonky.

fridakahlo Sat 12-May-12 16:29:21

Anyone had a response yet?

blapbird Sat 12-May-12 18:37:40

No response at all hmm
Where from here?

blapbird Sat 12-May-12 18:38:16

Maybe contact BBC radio 4 womans hour?

southlundon Sat 12-May-12 21:24:49

I got a response from ASA:

Thank you for contacting the Advertising Standards Authority.
I’m sorry to tell you that we can’t deal with your complaint because the ASA isn’t entitled to regulate the material you object to.  Our remit doesn’t cover material on vehicles belonging to the advertiser (i.e. not in paid for space). 
Our website,, contains more information about the ASA and the work we do.  (The “Other Bodies” page has links to other organisations that might be able to help you.)
I am sorry we are unable to help further but thank you for contacting us nonetheless.
Kind regards,
Laura Kelly
Complaints Executive
Direct line 020 7492 2163
Advertising Standards Authority
Mid City Place, 71 High Holborn
London WC1V 6QT
Telephone 020 7492 2222

southlundon Sat 12-May-12 21:26:03

Bit annoyed actually. Hey must have had some sort of license for parking in the middle of the damn high street so I'd call that 'paid for space'...

SundaeGirl Sat 12-May-12 21:27:09

Really?! So anyone could drive around with whatever they liked on their cars?

Hmmmm. Does anyone know any MPs looking for an easy way to pass some legislation in their name...?

NovackNGood Sat 12-May-12 23:24:46

Personally i'd rather a daughter was able to go to a safe environment on the high street like Ann Summers than end up with an electric toothbrush in a test tube or infection from experimenting with fruit etc. Lets face it you can buy sex aids in almost any chain electrical goods store and most large supermarkets stock the whole durex play range with all the fruity flavours coloured.

They were not selling to children nor handing ice cream to children and he hand out appear to have been aimed at students not schoolchildren.

Most european countries with legal prostitution allow large billboards advertising brothels and their teen pregnancy rates are far better than the UK.

AndiMac Sun 13-May-12 11:27:30

I've lived in a country in Europe where prostitution was legal and never, ever, in 13 years, did I see a billboard or any other type of open public advertising for a brothel. Right now I'm in The Netherlands for an extended weekend and there aren't any here either. I honestly think you are just making that up.

If you read the whole thread, you'll read that a poster, southlundon was approached by a woman from the vans whilst with her toddler. So your statement they weren't handing them out to children isn't exactly accurate.

NovackNGood Sun 13-May-12 11:49:51

Bilboards are not uncommon at all in Spain for the club hotels with there large neon signs with phases offering you 90 different ways to relax f they have 90 girls working there for example. Many taxis have the applique adverts on the sides of them.

According to a study the Independent quoted a few years ago about 45% of spanish men claim to have been to the brothels. The largest one has 1800 woman who work in it.

KatieMiddleton Sun 13-May-12 12:12:15

Novak your last post last night is just revolting. It also misses the point spectacularly. Nobody on the thread that I've noticed has said Ann Summers should not exist. We are complaining about a dodgy marketing practice.

I'm really not sure why you're so determined to defend the indefensible them. Are you an Ann Summer's shareholder or just the type that likes to argue black is white?

southlundon Sun 13-May-12 14:02:59

Novackngood I was approached and I'm in my mid-30s, holding hands with my 3yo DS. There were other mums there with their young children who were eating the free ice cream. So sorry, but it wasn't like you suggested in Liverpool at any rate. Tbf they weren't approaching the 3yos but that's because they were looking for ladies to sign up for a home party.

Like I did above, I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with Ann Summers on the high street. I really don't. But being a massive focal point on a major and very busy shopping street in the centre of a city, handing out gifts and free ice cream - you couldn't miss it. There was no way I could walk my son away from it and in the end I was approached anyway so that option was taken away from me.

SardineQueen Sun 13-May-12 14:08:03

electric toothbrushes in test tubes?

What an imagination you have.

LynnCSchreiber Sun 13-May-12 14:21:05

I lived in Germany where there are brothels and sex shops etc and it is perfectly normal to go into the sauna nude. None of that has anything to do with this advertising campaign.

As others have said, I have no problem with AS shops in the high street. I don't use them, and can walk past them without questions from my kids.

I do have a problem with this campaign. For several reason.

1. I don't want to have to explain to my kids what "lube" is and why people are putting on their ice cream. I don't want to have to explain what an O face is and why these people are pulling funny faces. - that is the personal level

2. It contributes to the sexualisation of your youth, and indeed our society. Nothing against sex, but does it really need to be smack in the middle of the high street?

3. It is tacky and cheap

4. As Dillytante put it,

"We as a society need to start proving that we value women as more than just sexual objects. We need to give them more to aspire to than life as “that girl who slept with a footballer then went on Celebrity Big Brother”. Only then can they have confidence in who they really are and have a sexual relationship that they really want, with someone who respects them, and not feel the need to feed into the sordid, misogynistic view of sex that Ann Summers promotes."

TheGrandOldDuke Sun 13-May-12 14:30:12

Inappropriate. Yes adults do buy ice creams from ice cream vans, but they really are aimed at children aren't they? So shouldn't the advertising they display reflect this?
Also, dislike the fact it goes against the whole 'don't take sweeties from strangers' epithet.... "but it's okay if they're wearing penis deelyboppers...."

It's all just wrong!!!

LynnCSchreiber Sun 13-May-12 14:39:46

<snort> at penis deelyboppers.

See what I am missing, by never shopping at AS.

Wheezo Sun 13-May-12 16:11:22

Wasn't it Boris who had ultimate authority (in London anyway) to prevent the Christian group who was advocating that they could pray away being gay on the side of buses in response to the Stonewall bus campaign (vehicle advertising)? Just wondering who does have authority to licence this that can be complained to.

Am pretty sure they must need a food hygiene licence and a street traders' licence for this but doubt whether this covers the advertising aspect.

SardineQueen Sun 13-May-12 16:54:59

In London the buses are all run by TFL and so they do get to decide what they will put on their buses or not. I guess if it's a private company they can put anything they want on their vehicles?

edam Sun 13-May-12 18:08:32

Good grief. What a stupid, tawdry idea. I gather the 'promotion' is over - if they try it again, I suggest anyone who lives in an area targetted by this horrible campaign asks their MP to raise it on the floor of the Commons, and tips off the local paper. Seems as if there is a glaring loophole in the regulations.

LynnCSchreiber Sun 13-May-12 19:28:03

Thinking back to the "Career Women make Bad Mothers" campaign. That was on buses, was it not?

Or did they have billboards too?

It was on buses, but I'm not sure it's the same as the buses weren't privately owned by the advertiser.

I remember that campaign all too well. Wrote a LOT of emails that week... Garry Lace biscuit... wonder what he's doing now? hmm

LynnCSchreiber Sun 13-May-12 19:48:18

oh look

He started a DadNet. Anyone heard of it?

fridakahlo Sun 13-May-12 20:01:22

Not before that article, no. What was the career women campaign? Must admit that one passed me by.

Here's a link to the Guardian piece about it frid here

How bizarre that Daddy site is... seems to just be a load of articles written by Ed Owen. No forum or user generated content at all? I suspect it's just another one of their 'data gathering' websites for marketing intelligence purposes.

LynnCSchreiber Sun 13-May-12 20:28:35

Yes, it is odd. Not much new content in last months.

Ah shame...

dontaskforthe99 Sun 13-May-12 21:37:11

The ASA is saying it can't act if AS own the van. But what if they have rented the van for the campaign (more likely?) Then surely they would have to act. I don't really understand how it is OK to put what they like on the side of a van they own rather than on rented advertising space. Does this mean that Tesco, Sainsbury's etc. could put any spurious claim on the side of their delivery vehicles? Either the manner of their marketing is acceptable or not. This definitely crosses a line.

TiggyD Sun 13-May-12 22:08:23

As an extremely kinky old pervert, even I find this very tacky.

blapbird Tue 15-May-12 16:13:19

Here is the email I got back from Ann Summers;

Dear Blapbird,

Our campaign is targeted at adults and the I Scream Van staff were briefed to target over-18’s only - while also being executed inside school hours. The use of innuendo within our language aims at an adult audience which allows us to take care when marketing to our target audience. The use of the I Scream Van is based on our summer offer and campaign, using a product which is symbolic of summer.
As with any of our campaigns, we do not want to cause offence or upset and we apologise to any individuals that have been upset by the messaging of our campaign.


Communications Team

blapbird Tue 15-May-12 16:13:37

hmm hmm hmm

Tiggy shock

You're not old


fridakahlo Tue 15-May-12 21:23:06

Well, they were hardly going to turn around and admit to a bit of sly advertising to the under 18's.
It does not change the fact it is a very ill thought out campaign or a well executed piece of marketing that is doing exactly what they planned it to do. hmm

TheWomanFormerlyKnownAsSGM Wed 16-May-12 09:34:02

Here's an interesting article which demonstrates Ann Summers links with one of the major producers of hardcore porn who were on the I-scream tour:

trigger warning it is a link to a pornography industry journal and contains explicit photographs.

TheWomanFormerlyKnownAsSGM Wed 16-May-12 09:34:43

Actually, this is the text of the journal:

LOS ANGELES — The Screaming O and the Scream Team have teamed with U.K. retailer Ann Summers for the “I Scream” truck tour, handing out free ice cream and sexy treats across the British countryside.

And for a snapshot of their best “O-faces,” fans get a chance to win baskets full of Screaming O goodies.

“It’s been great fun traveling the countryside with the Ann Summers team and seeing what kinds of O-faces our products inspire across the pond,” The Screaming O partner Keith Caggiano said. “There’s nothing quite like interacting one-on-one with your fans — especially when there are Screaming O sex toys and sweet treats involved!”

The Ann Summers I Scream Van took off from Newcastle and headed to Manchester, Liverpool, London and Birmingham. “To the Scream Team’s delight, the crowds have been nothing but thrilled to take part in the festivities with a constant crowd surrounding the truck. Knowing that only the most authentic, ridiculous and giggle-inducing O-faces make the cut in the contest, British Screaming O fans have made sure to make sweet, silly love to the camera,” the company said.

weeonion Wed 16-May-12 09:43:33

thanks twfkasgm wink

LynnCSchreiber Wed 16-May-12 11:44:15

This girl is not 18 is she?

And <boak> at the mum doing this with her teenage daughters

LynnCSchreiber Wed 16-May-12 11:45:12
LynnCSchreiber Wed 16-May-12 11:52:10
LynnCSchreiber Wed 16-May-12 12:03:02

she looks v young

Our campaign is targeted at adults and the I Scream Van staff were briefed to target over-18’s only - while also being executed inside school hours

Hmm. Didn't look like they were targeting over 18s.

TheWomanFormerlyKnownAsSGM Wed 16-May-12 12:50:06

Definitely don't look 18. They should have been checking IDs.

fridakahlo Thu 17-May-12 00:36:39

They should not be running this highly inapropriate campaign in the first place.
I mean associations with hardcore porn on the highstreet, that's going right through libralism out to the pornification of society as a whole.

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