Controversial GlutaMAX ads 'not approved' by Ad Standards Council

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 15) — The screening body of the country's advertising industry on Monday said it had not approved the controversial ads of whitening product brand GlutaMAX.

In a statement, the Ad Standards Council (ASC) of the Philippines said the ads violated the council's manual of procedure.

"ASC stands for responsible communications and abides by a strict code of ethics," it said.

GlutaMAX drew flack Saturday over its online ads, which encourage women to use its whitening products to avoid being discriminated for being dark-skinned.

One of its ads shows two female models, with the brown-skinned one glaring at her whiter counterpart. The ad bears the words "Maputi lang pinaupo na sa bus? Unfair 'di ba?" (Offered with a seat in the bus just because of fair skin? Isn't it unfair?) and "Nakakainis ba 'pag may unfair treatment tuwing [nagko-commute]? 'Wag magalit, mag-GlutaMAX" (Is it annoying when there's unfair treatment during commute? Don't get angry, use GlutaMAX).

In another material, GlutaMAX also cited a poll result saying that three in five Filipinos believe that fair-skinned people are treated better.

The screening body cited Article 4 Section 1 of the manual, which states that "advertisements shall not directly or indirectly disparage, ridicule, criticize, or attack any natural or juridical persons, groups of persons, or any sector of society, especially on the basis of gender, social or economic class, religion, ethnicity, race, or nationality."

The ASC said "the matter will be dealt with in accordance to the rules and regulations as stated in the manual."

GlutaMAX had taken down the controversial ads from its social media accounts.

The company earlier today also issued an apology.

"We believe that the best intentions are never an excuse for causing harm. And for all those that we've offended over the past few days, we offer our sincerest apologies," GlutaMAX said.