The UK's advertising watchdog has allowed a Glasgow restaurant to advertise itself using the slogan "Phat Phuc" despite complaints from the public.
The Hanoi Bike Shop, a Vietnamese restaurant in Glasgow's West End, holds the "Phat Phuc" promotion on the first Tuesday of every month when it invites diners to "Get your noodle on!"
Two members of the public objected to the slogan: one because "when spoken [it] sounded like a swearword" and another because "children could see it".
However, the complaints were rejected by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on Wednesday after the restaurant explained that "Phat Phuc" is pronounced "fet fook" and means "happy Buddha" in Vietnamese.
"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'," said an official ruling from the organisation.
"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 southeast 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."
The ASA also ruled that while children were unlikely to understand the Vietnamese reference, they were also unlikely to read it as an explicit swearword: "While some older children might have pronounced it as the expletive, given the context of an ad for a Vietnamese restaurant and that the word was taken from this language, we did not consider that this made it unsuitable for them to see."
Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.
Contact Jamie Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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