I’ve just joined a Facebook campaign. It’s to oppose a billboard advertising campaign by an organisation called “MaritalAffair”. That’s a British company, so I’m sure you can work out the web address if you want to visit. I’ve deliberately not included the link so you won’t click through with your husband or wife watching.
The website describes itself as “delivering a dating arena for extra-marital affairs” for “uncomplicated adult fun.” Actually the site is worth a visit. Some of the literature on the website is thought-provoking. Did the Sun really provide such positive media coverage? Actually, no it didn’t…
The Facebook campaign is “Stop marital affair .co.uk advertising publicly in the UK.” When I joined, on Saturday, there were about fifty of us. Two days later, there are now about 1,300 members. Do join if you agree with the premise.
The campaign is led by Jon Kuhrt, a father of three, who – like many others – is offended by the marketing of infidelity as “uncomplicated fun”. He complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, only to be told it would only consider complaints about advertising which offend “against widely accepted moral, social or cultural standards.” I believe the reasoning – to reject the complaint – is absurd on all three counts.
I don’t know what you think, but this advertising offends against my personal moral standards and it’s clear that support for marriage is widespread. I know that not all agree, but marital faithfulness is certainly a “widely accepted moral standard.”
Marriage is a social norm. It may have suffered a recent decline, but it remains something that many people aspire to. If those who choose to be unfaithful feel confident it’s ok, then perhaps they might consider telling their spouses (just to check…) Little surprise that few do. Husbands and wives are often devastated when they find their spouse has cheated on them. Many people consider the infidelity of their spouses a significant enough blot on their character to end the marriage. It often ruins the lives of both partners (and possibly children too). My brother has felt the pain of this and I pray his son is spared from greater pain.
Marriage is evidently a cultural norm. Lots of us do it, and even more of us have been to weddings to endorse our friends and family who take that step. It may not be a cultural norm everywhere, but in this country it is. The advert is here in the UK and it is the British Advertising Standards Authority considering the complaints.
So I will be contacting the ASA. I am puzzled it feels Mr Kuhrt’s compaint is outside its remit and I believe this must be tested further. There are many other ways to pursue the campaign, and the Facebook campaign is a great place to contribute. This blog is where I begin.
So far I have complained to the ASA and written to my local MP (Jim Fitzpatrick). There is a billboard in my constituency (Poplar & Canning Town).
I have also complained to the helpline for Global Personals. This organisation provides back office support to MaritalAffair and I wanted to encourage them to withdraw from this commercial relationship. I think it’s a reasonable suggestion; the Global Personals CEO, Ross Williams, says his core business is “love”. MaritalAffairs is the antithesis of this!
This campaign is clearly one they would prefer not to engage with (at this stage), but many people have complained and all the better if even more people do. Reach Global Personals at 01753 271286. And be polite!
In my complaint to Mr Fitzpatrick, I also copied in my local Tower Hamlets councillors. One of them (Ahmed Hussain) has pledged action already.
The ASA regulates the advertising, but not the product. It says the advertising does not – in itself – offend against “widely held moral, social or cultural standards.” I disagree and the campaign continues. There are now 2,500 members (as of 1pm on 26th January). Please engage if you feel motivated to do so.