To BEEP or not to BEEP

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hannahlyter/ (cc)

Ikea have a great advert running in Australia at the moment.

[Agency:Three Drunk Monkeys, Sydney]

But when is it OK to use the BEEP?

A few years back, the Scott Mills show on BBC Radio 1 got into trouble with OFCOM for a feature they ran which featured supposedly rude words beeped out. In fact, they beeped out perfectly clean words, but by beeping them out, made the audio sound filthy.

A listener complained about an item called “Badly Bleeped TV” – a regular feature in this radio programme, in which extracts from TV or radio are played with words ‘bleeped’ out. The words themselves are later revealed as being not offensive. However, the remaining beginning and ending sounds of the words give the impression that the ‘bleep’ is masking an offensive word, or create the beginning and end sound of an offensive word on either side of the ‘bleep’.

At Capital when BAM BAM had a (annoyingly short lived) show, we were tasked with creating some imaging that launched his show. It was created by my former colleague Arden Hanley and it featured the 6 year old son of our then marketing director saying lots of words that sounded like he was swearing. But the piece talked about the fact that BAM BAM had a beeping machine – precisely to stop people swearing. [If anyone has a recording -let me know – I’d love to share it here too].

Maybe the Aussies are just a little more laid back about this sort of thing??

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One thought on “To BEEP or not to BEEP

  1. James says:

    In my job, I get to hear quite a lot of Aussie radio, albeit it’s the ABC rather than commercial radio.

    Even being the ABC, they’re still far more laid back than we are here on the BBC or on commercial radio stations.

    It’s not unusual for contributors and presenters themselves use ‘bollocks’ to describe something they disagree with. I’m sure the f-word would probably be taking it a bit far, but with a bleep they’d probably find it more than acceptable.

    The problem in the UK is that Ofcom will respond to a handful of complaints as “the majority”. The other thousands or millions of regular listeners either don’t bat an eyelid or aren’t moved enough by it’s offensiveness to complain…

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