British watchdog group the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is on a roll: they recently banned images of too-skinny models, Dakota Fanning‘s Lolita posing and Hailee Steinfeld‘s Prada campaign. Their latest target is Lynx–UK equivalent of reliably tasteless deodorant brand Axe–which is owned by Unilever. The ads depict UK glamor model Lucy Pindar in various compromising positions, like so:
Sidenote: who wears a blazer and bra to DJ?!
Another online ad “featured various close ups of her cleavage, while on-screen text invited viewers to ‘Play with Lucy’ and gave the Lynx website address.”
Images like these of women are par for the course in advterising (especially the kind aimed at teen boys) so it’s surprising to see them banned. In a ruling published last week, the ASA said:
We considered that the various activities that Ms Pinder carried out were presented in a sexually provocative way, and that alongside the focus on Ms Pinder’s cleavage … were likely to be seen as gratuitous and to objectify women. We considered that was emphasized by the text ‘Can she make you lose control?’ … and the invitation to ‘Play with Lucy’, which we considered would also be seen as degrading to women. We therefore concluded that the ads were likely to cause serious and widespread offense. [The ad’s language was] clearly intended to imply that using the advertised product would lead to more uninhibited sexual behavior… We therefore considered that the poster would be seen to make a link between purchasing the product and sex with women and in so doing would be seen to objectify women.
Unilever has defended itself, saying that the ads are targeted toward men aged 17-27 (!) and campaigns in this style “had been popular over the years for [their] playful, sexy, tongue-in-cheek take on the ‘mating game’ narrative’.”
It’s not hard to argue that a woman leaned over an oven in lingerie beside language about control is quintessentially degrading. …But do you think the ads should be banned?
(UPDATE: But wait! There’s more!)
(via the Daily Mail)