An advert implying the surname Ramsbottom originates from people working with sheep's bottoms, might not be correct but wouldn't cause widespread offence either, the Advertising Standards Authority says.

K Ramsbottom complained to the authority that a Trade Me TV ad was factually wrong, breached their privacy and was defamatory.

The ad for Trade Me Jobs said: "There was once a time when the name of your family defined your job. Cooks were born to cook. Smiths were born to work with metal. And the Ramsbottoms? Well, the name said it all."

It then showed a little girl with the surname Ramsbottom being handed a glove while a close-up of a ram was shown and heard bleating.


The complainant said the assumption that the name Ramsbottom came from sheep and their behinds was incorrect.

"This is clearly defamation ... the name has nothing to do with 'rams' in any form, the derivation being from the pre 7th century Olde English word 'hramsa' meaning garlic and 'bopm', which strictly speaking means land at the bottom of a valley suitable for agriculture."

The authority said the reference to Ramsbottom did not reach the threshold to be considered to have portrayed people with that surname - or similar - in a manner that was reasonably likely to cause serious or widespread offence or widespread hostility, contempt abuse or ridicule.

It also found it did not breach the complainant's privacy because it did not refer to them directly.

It ruled there were no grounds to proceed.