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Product: Cleaning Products
Advertiser: Poundland Limited (Dealz Ireland)
Medium: Internet (Social Media)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 3.17, 3.18, 3.20
The three advertisements appeared on the Dealz Facebook page.
The advertisement featured a youthful looking male, with a fit physique, wearing white fitted boxer shorts and yellow washing up rubber gloves. The man, standing on the far side of a dining table and facing the camera, picked up a domestic cleaning product and sprayed some of the contents on the surface. He then used a cloth to wipe down the surface. He stopped cleaning momentarily as he winked towards the camera. The advertisement then featured images of two domestic products and their prices. A pop-up appeared on screen with asterisked text reading “*Hunk not included” is shown onscreen. The advertisement closes with text on screen reading ‘The Big Event’.
The scene panned to the male physique, wearing a full apron folded down below his waist and white fitted boxer shorts, standing in a side profile. He lifted a plate off the counter then bent down and inwards towards the dishwasher with his side profile facing further towards the camera. Looking in the direction of his torso and raises his eyebrows while voiceover is simultaneously aired saying “Oh”. “*Hunk not included” is shown onscreen.
The advertisement opened with a close up of the model’s eyes. It then showed a close up of his chest. A close up of his body from the neck down is shown. He is wearing white boxer shorts and holding two cans of spray. A close up of his face is shown. He raises his eyebrows and the camera shows a close up of his bum. He is then shown flexing his back muscles while standing with his back to the camera. He is also shown wiping down the counter. In the final scene he is standing against the sink with his arms folded. He is wearing an apron which is folded over exposing his chest. “*Hunk not included” is shown onscreen.
The complainant considered that the “Harry the Hunk” advertisements objectified men’s body in an unnecessary way which had no connection to the products that were being sold. He felt this type of advertisement would not be allowed if it featured a woman in her underwear advertising the same products. He said the advertisements, for cleaning products, could have been viewed by anyone on the advertiser’s website, including children.
The advertisers stated that out of 31,000 views for the Facebook campaign only one complaint was received. They said they disagreed that the post objectified men. They said the post was evocative of classic advertisements such as the Diet Coke/Window Cleaner advertisement or the Levi 501 advertisement featuring a man in a launderette washing his jeans.
They said it was clear that Harry the Hunk, the model, was wearing trunks that covered him and that nothing untoward was on show.
The Executive asked the advertisers for data relating to the demographic of their Facebook followers, to also confirm their age-gating procedure and whether their followers were an adult-only audience.
The advertisers stated that in terms of demographics, women between the ages of 25-34 were the leading force amongst their Facebook fans (84% female and 33% 25-34 years). They said only 1.7% were under 18. They said their audience were adults.
Complaint Upheld in part.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
They noted the Code requires that marketing communications should respect the dignity of all persons and should avoid causing offence on grounds of gender. They also noted that marketing communications should respect the principle of equality of men and women.
The Committee, in noting that one complaint had been received, did not consider that the advertisements had caused offence.
The Committee noted that the advertisement had been light-hearted in tone and did not consider that it had been exploitative or demeaning of men. They did not consider Advertisement 1 was in breach of the Code.
Advertisement 2 and 3:
The Committee noted that in both Advertisements 2 and 3, the viewers’ attention was specifically drawn, gratuitously, to various areas of the actor’s body. They considered that the advertisements had displayed sexually suggestive behaviour that bore no relevance to the product being promoted and that therefore, advertisements 2 and 3 were in breach of sections 3.18 and 3.20 of the Code.
No further action required.
Advertisements 2 and 3
Advertisement 2 and 3 should not appear in their current format again.