Amazon defends 'offensive' Christmas card

The Amazon.co.uk distribution centre near Milton Keynes
The Amazon.co.uk distribution centre near Milton Keynes Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

The retail giant Amazon has defended the use of the word c*** in a product image used on its website.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned internet advertisement which appeared on the company’s website for a Christmas card which said: “You’re a c***. Sorry, I meant to say ‘Merry Christmas’”.

Amazon has disputed the ruling stating that it was presented in a “light-hearted” way that was unlikely to offend any particular group.

However the ASA ruled that the card was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and banned it under the harm and offence rules within the advertising code.

Amazon defended the card and questioned the ASA's right to ban it
Amazon defended the card and questioned the ASA's right to ban it Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Amazon has contested the ruling stating that “the card was not offensive, aggressive or lewd in its message” to any particular “race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age”. The company claim it was meant as a bit of “light-hearted, irreverent fun”.

the subjective values of a small minority who might find it distasteful should not dictate a product's availability or the method of its advertisement to the wider public.

– Amazon

Smellyourmum.com, the company responsible for both the card and the advert, argued that the BBC had broadcast a whole BBC3 documentary - “The History of the C-Word” - centred on the offensive word which had reached a far bigger audience than the adverts.

Amazon also questioned the ASA’s power to rule on the card, saying that it was a product, not an advert. The ASA declared that the product listing was an advertisement and as such was within their jurisdiction to investigate.