An advert for an Italian restaurant in Glasgow was rejected over concerns about nudity.
When a school principal resigned in Florida after complaints that pupils had been shown Michelangelo’s statue of David, many people reacted by saying “only in America”.
But David’s naked figure has been causing problems for an even less likely destination – an Italian restaurant in Scotland.
Glasgow restaurant Barolo produced an advert showing Michelangelo’s David eating a pizza, but the company which looks after advertising in the city’s subway, Global, rejected it.
Barolo says it proposed covering up the offending genitalia with stickers of the Italian flag, but that this was also rejected as they were too small.
The published version of the advert as seen on public transport in Glasgow now depicts Michelangelo’s David from the waist up.
Mario Gizzi, director of the DRG group who runs Barolo and many other venues, remains unimpressed.
“This is a globally recognised piece of art. It is taught in schools. People from all over the world travel to see it,” he told Euronews.
“It’s not the 1500s anymore, it’s 2023. Are we really saying that the people of Glasgow can’t handle seeing a naked statue?
He added: “We were somewhat bemused to receive an email from Global which confirmed that our ad could not be used as ‘it is art but it is still nudity and the way it is cropped in this copy may not be suitable for the untargeted medium’. We then had to go to the cost of a full reprint.”
The advertising watchdog in the UK, the Advertising Standards Agency, said there was no specific rule that prohibited nudity in advertising.
But it added: “It’s in the gift of media owners to refuse advertising space. They often have their own criteria, alongside the Advertising Code, for what they will accept. That is a commercial decision and not something we regulate. We respond to concerns about ads once they’re in the public domain.
The ASA said it’s code doesn’t specifically prohibity nudity in adverts, as long as it is not explicit or gratuitous, and is relevant to the product.
But nudity which is “sexual in nature”, says the ASA, “should appear in targeted media only.”