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Habito’s ‘mortgage kama sutra’ ad offends but ASA reject complaints

  • 29/01/2020
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Habito’s ‘mortgage kama sutra’ ad offends but ASA reject complaints
A Habito advert featuring suggestive sexual positions received complaints for being inappropriate and offensive, but the industry watchdog did not uphold them.


It is the second time the firm has been reported to the advertising regulator.

On this occasion images of ‘Downpayment Doggy’, ‘The Standing Variable Rate’, ‘Prime 69’ and ‘The Base-rate Scissor’ were among the positions depicted in the promotion.

The ‘Mortgage Kama Sutra’ ad stated that “one in 10 couples say that getting a mortgage made their sex lives hell”.

And added: “Habito finds you the best deal so you can focus on the fun stuff.”


‘Fun take on mortgages’

Two people complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the ad, run in Grazia in November 2019, was offensive and irresponsible due to its sexual nature.

Habito defended the promotion, which it said was designed as a fun take on mortgages for an adult-only audience.

A YouGov survey that found the negative impact a mortgage can have on the libido of Britons had sparked the idea for the ad.

The broker added the featured images were not explicit in nature and no words of a sexual nature were used.

Bauer Consumer Media, publishers of Grazia, said they thought the ad was suitable for their magazine, which had an average readership age of 38.


Novel way to draw attention to mortgages

The ASA acknowledged that some would find the illustrations distasteful, but they were not explicit, and added most readers would likely find the ad humourous.

The complaints were rejected by the watchdog.

And the ASA further noted the ad sought to draw attention to mortgages in a novel way that was unlikely to cause widespread offence.


Previous advert clash

It is not the first time Habito has been reported to the advertising regulator.

In February last year the firm refused to withdraw a TV advert after receiving a complaint from an adviser that its content was ‘denigrating’ to the advice industry.

On that occasion the ASA again decided against taking action because it did not believe the advert denigrated a single rival mortgage advice firm.


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