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Product: Equine Industry
Advertiser: Herbal Wise Limited
Medium: Internet (Company Website)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 3.3, 3.16, 3.17, 3.18, 3.20
Advertising on the website for Herbal Wise Limited referred to the following:
“Slut Mix is designed to help regulate the female hormonal system of the horse. We all know hormones have a major bearing on performance. Fillies and mares are known to lose focus and be particularly bad tempered particularly during the spring and summer months. Although there are some hardened individuals that are in this mode twelve months of the year. We know your pain of these individuals, (sic) why we invented this product.
The extremely powerful tincture extracts that make up Slut Mix help normalize the hormonal response of the female system. Once this is achieved, the horse will be easier to work and be around…”
The complainant drew attention to the fact that a supplier of the product in the UK had been told, following an adjudication by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) UK not to refer to “Slut Mix” in their advertising. The complainant said that while the supplier had amended their own advertising that “Slut Mix” which is made by the Irish Company, Herbal Wise Limited, continued to advertise the product.
The advertisers said that the term ‘Slut’ was used by a trainer when referring to a mare that appeared to be in season.
They also said, however, that they had renamed “Slut Mix” to “Fickle Mare” back in June 2022, and that the original name was no longer in existence.
At the time of adjudication, the ASAI Executive noted that an image of the “Slut Mix” product was still being used on the advertisers’ website to highlight the fact that the name of the product had changed to “Fickle Mare”. They also noted that the “Slut Mix” product was being advertised in the same format on a third-party website.
The Executive asked when the images of the Slut Mix product would be removed and
if suppliers had been requested to address the fact that the product name had changed?
Regarding image removal and product name change, the advertisers said they had advised their suppliers to remove “Slut Mix” from their advertising, but that the owner of the third-party website in question was not a direct customer and, therefore, may not have received their message. They said they would contact them in the matter.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Committee noted the meaning of the term ‘slut’ in equestrian parlance. They also considered, however, that the term was a well-known negative stereotype of women that was commonly used to refer to women in a promiscuous and/or derogatory way.
While noting that the name of the product had been changed from “Slut Mix” to “Fickle Mare” in June 2022, they expressed concern that the image of the original product was still available to view on the advertisers’ website.
While accepting that the product in question was for horses, they nevertheless considered that the use of the term “Slut” was offensive and derogatory towards women and a term that was likely to give rise to further complaints on the grounds of offensiveness if it was not removed. The Committee concluded that the advertisement had breached Sections 3.17, 3.18 and 3.20 of the Code.
The advertising should be removed from the advertisers’ website and the Complaints Committee advised the advertisers to ensure that all of their suppliers were advised to do likewise.