Breast complaint upheld: latest watchdog ruling

By Amy Kellow | 23 April 2013
The ad watchdog has upheld an ad from music group Pelvis on the grounds it "degraded" women. Image: Pelvis' website.

The ASB has upheld complaints against two ads from differing brands, including a poster which showed a woman's breasts as edible treats, claiming they "degraded" women and "glamourised" smoking.

The first ad was a poster promoting music group Pelvis' performance at Sydney-based club Goodgod. It was an illustrated graphic of a woman arching her back under a table. On top of the table were two desserts which looked like breasts, giving the illusions the woman's chest was poking through holes in the table.

The complainant told the ad watchdog it was "offensive and degrading to women" and showed the woman in a "tortured position". They argued it was near a park and bus stop and was "clearly visible" to children.

Pelvis - which apologised for any offence caused and took full responsibility for the ad - said the image used was an old album artwork of music being played on the night. It claimed the poster had content for its target audience was meant to funny.

It also claimed the drawing's lack of physical or explicit detail meant it wasn't a breach of the watchdog's codes.

The ASB slammed the company however and said it was "degrading to depict a woman in this position under a table with her breasts displayed as edible objects". It claimed that the drawing was "strongly suggestive" of a naked woman and did not treat the manner of sex and nudity with relevance to a broad audience, as Section 2.4 demands. Pelvis said it had as a result removed the ad.

The second determination related to a television ad promoting an electronic cigarette called 'Clever Smoke', which aimed to help people quit the habit. It promoted the physical and financial benefits of quitting smoking and showed smokers using it at work, in a bar and in front of their children.

The complainant - a self-confessed reformed smoker - said the ad was "disgusting" and that it encouraged smoking. They argued it should be banned, particularly because it showed a mother using it in the presence of her child.

The advertiser hit back, arguing there was no encouragement or inference to start smoking in the ad. The watchdog however ruled that it did indeed promote the habit and "glamourise" smoking because it showed people enjoying the habit, even though they were fake cigarettes. It upheld the complaint on the grounds it breached Section 2.6 of the Code, which monitors the depiction of smoking, drinking and gambling.

The advertiser said it had pulled the original spot from air and was currently editing a new version.

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