Twinings has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority of playing on negative racial stereotypes.
The ASA received a complaint about recent television advertisements for Lady Grey and Earl Grey tea, from a woman viewer who complained that the advertising suggested that black men were sexually promiscuous and existed to provide sexual services for white women.
In the commercial, the black man, writes a message on a noticeboard informing customers that the drink "puts the zing in your ding-a-ling". In the dialogue, actor Stephen Fry said that the tea could be "felt, deep down". The black assistant replies "In your ding-a-ling?"
The makers of the commercial said they believed the innuendo to be no worse than in a Carry On film.
The ASA said: "We acknowledged the innuendo was mildly sexual, but we did not consider that it was reliant on the young man's ethnic origins or a racial stereotype. We concluded that the ads were not harmful or likely to cause offence to most viewers."
By Ian Broughton