Feck Off! Deemed to Be Acceptable in the Uk
Magners Irish Cider received a number of complaints relating to an advert in which a man tells bees to "feck off", members of the public were concerned that young children could be badly influenced by seeing this advert.
Magners claimed that the "feck off" mention in the advert was a "mild rebuff" to the bees instead of it being an expletive.
Sensitive souls angered at the use of the phrase 'feck off' in an advert have been told where to go by regulators.
A mild rebuff or something a whole lot worse?
The complaints were rejected by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) which ruled the use of the word 'feck' was fair game.
The phrase popularised by the iconoclastic Father Ted character Father Jack was not a swear word, it said.
Cider drink Magners had used the phrase on a campaign poster in which an orchard farmer is quoted as saying "feck off bees".
The instruction was described as a "mild rebuff" by the company.
ASA agreed, ruling it suitable to be used in public and seen by all ages.
If it was an advert featuring a hoody or contained threatening behaviour then the outcome may well have been very different.
ASA spokesman says 'feck' has its limits
The watchdog said: "The use of the word 'feck' in Britain has been popularised by TV programmes such as Father Ted.
"We considered that the tone of the ad was not aggressive or threatening. The term 'feck' was unlikely to be seen as a swear word."
The word has been in popular parlance for over 500 years and has been used to mean "effect", "quantity" or "value" or "amount".
But advertisers have been warned to tread carefully when using the word in future advertisements.
An ASA spokesman said: "This is not a precedent-setting decision and I certainly hope that this does not start a free-for-all with advertisers thinking they can use this all the time."
Programme Complaints & Interventions Report
These reports are case summaries of complaints which appeared to raise issues of substance in relation to the interpretation of the ITC Programme Code. Summary statistics of non-substantive complaints can be found in the full reports which are obtainable from the ITC.
Showing Complaints & Interventions Report for INTERVIEW WITH B*WITCHED
Date & time: Wednesday 13 May: 8.00 am
Complaint from: 1 viewer (upheld)
A live interview with the Irish girl group, B*Witched, was shown in two parts between programmes on this children's service. One of the band members was heard to say what sounded like "fuck off" twice in quick succession. The presenter made clear his disapproval at the language and in the following link an apology was given.
A viewer complained about the use of bad language.
Nickelodeon maintained that the singer had in fact said "feck off", a phrase made popular by the Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted, but acknowledged that this was itself unacceptable at 8.00 am. B*Witched was dropped from further links that had been planned. The licensee believed the behaviour to be the result of immaturity and thoughtlessness rather than any deliberate attempt to shock or offend.
The item was in breach of the ITC Programme Code. The ITC noted the swift action taken by the presenter to minimise any offence. Nickelodeon advised the ITC that it is taking steps to tighten further the briefings given to guests before live appearances.
Feck (or, in some senses, fek) is a monosyllable with several vernacular meanings and variations in Irish English, Scots and Middle English.
Current Meaning In Ireland (North and South):
Verb meaning 'to steal' (e.g. 'They had fecked cash out of the rector's room.' James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist (1964) p. 40)
Verb meaning in Irish slang 'to throw' (e.g. 'He's got no manners at all. I asked him nicely for the remote control, and he fecked it across the table at me.')
Verb meaning in Irish slang "to leave hastily"(e.g. "He's after feckin off down the road when he saw the shades!")