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Swedish 'have an affair' ad sets complaint record

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Swedish 'have an affair' ad sets complaint record
14:31 CET+01:00
An ad campaign by a Swedish dating site urging people to cheat on their spouses has shattered the record for consumer complaints, the country's advertising watchdog said Friday.

On Wednesday, The Local reported on billboards on a number of Stockholm bus shelters with a tagline urging marital infidelity.

"Are you married? Liven up your life - have an affair", the ad suggests.

While complaints began coming into the Swedish Advertising Ombudsman (Reklamombudsmannen - RO) last weekend, but Friday the agency reported that it had received dozens complaints about the campaign from Norwegian firm Victoria Milan.

"Yesterday we got ten in two hours. Now we're up to more than 90 of them, which is a new record for the number of complaints," she told the TT news agency.

The previous record –37 complaints – was held by Comviq, but Victoria Milan's "have an affair" challenge, which includes ads on bus shelters and the Stockholm metro, as well as television commercials, has shattered all previous figures.

According to Victoria Milan, however, it's not only complaints which have skyrockets since the launch of the ad campaign.

"So far our membership numbers and revenues have beat expectations. That shows that the concent works and that there is a large market for this," the company's founder and CEO, Sigurd Vedal, told the Dagens Industri newspaper.

For a monthly few of a few hundred kronor, married men or women can create an account on the site and find a temporary partner.

In one corner of the page is a "panic button" which allows users to quickly leave the site in favour of a less controversial website.

"I understand that people have a reaction. But we're launching a service for a behaviour that already exists. Our service is an alternative to divorce," said Vedal.

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