Virgin Media has received a rap on the knuckles from the Advertising Standards Authority for possibly causing offence to red-heads.

A Virgin Media press ad for its "Dating in the Dark" TV show appeared in The Metro asking "How do you spot a ginger in the dark? … LOOKS OR PERSONALITY WHO WINS?".

Three complainants lodged objections with the ASA saying the ad was offensive to people with ginger hair, because "it implied those people were unattractive".

The ASA agreed: "We considered the ad was unlikely to be interpreted to be light hearted in tone and was instead likely to be seen as prejudicial against people with ginger hair.  We concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence".

Virgin Media has been banned from running the ad again and the ASA has told the broadcaster "to ensure that their future marketing communications did not contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence".

Meanwhile, a similar ASA ruling against Disney has seen the studio told off for a web ad that encouraged users to lift a woman's top to reveal her breasts, calling the ad "gratuitous" and "likely to cause serious offence to some users".