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Advertiser: Howden Tools and Garage Equipment Ltd
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 3.17, 3.18, 3.20
A product leaflet featured an image of a woman wearing pink lingerie posed on her knees and bent over whilst holding mechanical equipment against a car tyre.
A second page in the leaflet featured an image of a woman standing with her legs slightly apart and arm raised to hold her hat wearing a short utility/boiler suit with the front un-zipped partially revealing her chest.
The complainant considered that the advertising depicted images of female models in extremely sexualised positions, and that this sexualisation of women was derogatory and socially irresponsible. They felt that it promoted harmful gender stereotypes and portrayed women as sexual objects.
The advertisers apologised for any offence caused by the advertisement and explained that it was the result of a grave and unfortunate oversight on their behalf and that the advertisement did not promote the message their company was trying to portray. They advised that the leaflets had been withdrawn from circulation and destroyed.
They said they had taken the issue very seriously and that the complaint had made them more aware of their responsibilities regarding any advertising or promotion their company may create in the future.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the case and the advertisers’ response.
The Committee acknowledged that the leaflet in question had been removed from circulation and destroyed, and they welcomed the advertisers’ undertaking in relation to future advertising.
The Committee noted, that there was no relationship between the clothing that the women were wearing and the products being advertised. They also considered that in the picture of the women wearing a bikini, the woman had been posed suggestively. In the circumstances, the Committee considered that the advertising had involved the exploitation of sexuality and the use of provocative images merely to attract attention, and was therefore in breach of Code Sections 3.17 and 3.20.
As the advertisement had been withdrawn no further action was required.