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Spotify broke advertising rules with a saucy song suggestion

ASA rules that you can't say 'f**k you' in an email
Thu Dec 05 2013, 12:11

MUSIC STREAMING GIANT Spotify has had its knuckles rapped by the UK Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) for an email that contained an uncensored "f" word.

The promotional email had the subject line, "Have you heard this song by Lily Allen? Give it a try. Fuck You".

Contextually, the phrase refers to the song "Fuck You" on Lily Allen's album "It's Not Me, It's You", and the suggestion was genuine, generated automatically based on the listener's previous selections.

Unfortunately, this particular Spotify customer chose to take it the wrong way and made a complaint to the ASA, which announced it would uphold the complaint on Wednesday.

Defending against the claim, Spotify said it "believed there was a clear difference between deliberate language use such as that and the context in which it was used in the ad" and that "...around 36 million recommendations were sent to users by e-mail every month and therefore over the years a significant proportion of its users would have had the same song recommended to them".

However, the ASA had not received any other complaints, Spotify said. Upholding the complaint, the ASA ruled that it "considered the use of 'Fuck' was likely to cause serious offence to some recipients of such e-mails and therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code".

Although no action is taken in isolated instances like this, the ASA chose to uphold the complaint "to ensure [Spotify's] future advertising contained nothing that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence".

But what songs had this customer been listening to that would trigger this recommendation? Perhaps he or she is a fan of Cee Lo Green or the Dead Kennedys? µ


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