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'Have an affair' ad cleared by industry watchdog

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'Have an affair' ad cleared by industry watchdog
16:28 CEST+02:00
An ad campaign by a Swedish dating site urging people to cheat on their spouses and which shattered the record for consumer complaints, has been cleared by Sweden's advertising watchdog.

The Local reported back in March that billboards from the Victoria Milan dating site had appeared 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 suggested.

The ad prompted a storm of consumer protests and the Advertising Ombudsman (Reklamombudsmannen - RO) duly took up the case to consider whether the advert had breached the industry's code of ethics.

On Wednesday, the ombudsman announced that it had decided to clear the advert and Victoria Milan from any wrongdoing.

"The Advertising Ombudsman's advisory board has now cleared the advert as the advertising can't be distinguished the content of the service," RO wrote in a statement.

RO's advisory board considers whether an advert is in conflict with International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) rules on advertising and marketing communication, for example by causing offence, being contrary to accepted moral standards, or encouraging behavior that is generally regarded as reprehensible.

For a monthly fee 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.

When the controversy over the site's advertising broke in March the firm's founder and CEO, Sigurd Vedal, claimed in an interview with the Dagens Industri (DI) daily, that the service was very much in demand.

"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," Vedal told DI.

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