A Vietnamese restaurant in Glasgow has been allowed to continue with its controversially named ‘Phat Phuc' menu, after it was cleared by advertising regulators.
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) said it had received two complaints about Hanoi Bike Shop's poster advertising the menu, which offers a four-course noodle menu for £15.95. One advert was seen on a train on 19 October 2015 and the other at a train station on 13 November 2015.
One complainant objected that the ad was offensive because it featured a slogan that sounded like a swear word, and another said it was inappropriate for a public display because children could read the slogan, which sounds like a swear word when spoken.
However, Hanoi Bike Shop defended the name of the event, which it has been running since March 2015 and was also used for some of its noodle dishes, explaining that in Vietnamese it was pronounced "fet fook", meaning "happy Buddha".
Advertising firm Primesight, which put the poster up for display, said it believed it was suitable for outdoor use on the basis that when pronounced properly, the word "phuc" does not sound like a swear word.
The ASA decided not to uphold the complaints.
In its ruling, it said: "The ASA understood that the word ‘happy' in Vietnamese was correctly spelt as ‘Phuc' and although it was pronounced as ‘fook', we acknowledged that it sounded similar to the expletive ‘fuck'.
"However, we noted that the Hanoi Bike Shop sold Far Eastern cuisine, which both posters had made sufficiently clear. In the context of the posters, we considered that viewers who might have been offended by bad language were likely to recognise that ‘Phuc' was from a reference to South-east Asian language, was different from the expletive and would not necessarily be pronounced in the same way. We therefore concluded that the posters were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
Hanoi Bike Shop, on Ruthven Lane, is a sister of Glasgow restaurants Ubiquitous Chip and Stravaigin (the Hanoi Bike Shop is on the former site of Stravaigin 2).
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