The advertising appeared in both outdoor and in the programme for the GAA All Ireland Semi-Final Match Programme. The imagery used in each media varied slightly.
The Billboard featured a well-dressed man in a suit jacket and open necked shirt. The man was sitting down and was accompanied by a dark haired young woman who was leaning over him. The woman was in her underwear which included a suspender belt. The man had his left hand on the young woman’s left arm, his right hand was leaning over her lower back. The Caption read:
“6th Sense Global Design
DRESS TO IMPRESS”
The same couple appeared in this advertisement dressed as described above. They were both standing and wore sultry expressions. The man had his right arm draped across the woman’s right arm with his hand embracing her shoulder. She had her left hand on the man’s waist. The caption read the same as above.
All complainants considered the advertising to be sexist and demeaning to women. Some considered it inappropriate for children’s viewing. One complainant objected to the inclusion of the advertisement in a match programme, where there was a greater likelihood of children seeing it, to be inappropriate.
One complainant queried why a young woman had to appear in her underwear in an advertisement for men’s clothing.
The advertisers said it had never been their intention to offend anybody with their advertising campaign. They said they were no longer using the advertising and had replaced the imagery in question.
The advertisers forwarded a copy of their new advertising campaign with their response. This Campaign featured the same man as the previous campaign but this time he was featured on his own.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaints and the advertisers’ response. They reminded the advertisers that “Marketing communications should respect the principle of equality of men and women. They should avoid gender stereotyping and any exploitation or demeaning of men or women” and “not use offensive or provocative copy or images merely to attract attention.
The Committee noted that the product being advertised in this case was men’s clothing. They considered that the images in question had been used merely to attract attention and were provocative and exploitative. The Committee concluded that the advertising was in breach of Sections 3.17, 3.18 and 3.20 of the Code.
As the advertising had been amended no further action was required in this case. The Committee reminded the advertisers, however, to avoid provocative and gender stereotyping imagery in future marketing communications.