Unilever ads cleared of inappropriate 'sexualised' advertising

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 27 March 2017
Streets "sexualised" ice creams

Unilever has riled up some viewers with ads promoting its Lynx, Magnum ice cream and Streets ice creams brands receiving complaints about being too sexualised and promoting gay marriage.

The Streets spot is part of a controversial campaign that launched last year and has received complaints to the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) in the past. 

In the latest complaint, an ad promoting Bubble O Bill ice cream has been called into question for containing the words “I can see your white bits”.

The complainant says the text is “creepy” and endorses attitudes of sexual entitlement of men.

“Clearly ‘white bits’ refers to women's 'pink bits'. Men's privates don't get mentioned in ads and become the punchline of the joke,” the complainant says.

The complaint was dismissed by the ASB with the board agreeing the ad does not sexualise women.

Magnum doesn’t promote lesbianism

In another case about ice cream, Magnum’s ad depicting a same-sex wedding has been slammed as “promoting lesbianism” during family viewing time.

One complainant says: “As gay marriage has not been legalised in Australia I feel this type of advertising is promoting gay marriages not their product. It also has sexual connotations claiming "pleasure is diverse".

Again, the ASB chose to dismiss the case, noting the depiction of a same sex couple does not breach its code.

Lynx’s “over sexualised” spot

A TV ad that shows a man spraying Lynx across his torso has received a complaint to the watchdog for being “over sexualised” and “inappropriate” for the time slot. Part of the Find Your Magic campaign, the ad has received complaints in the past for its modern stance on masculinity.

Unilever responded to the complaints by saying the ad aims to challenge stereotypes of attractiveness and masculinity by showing men that are proud of their unique features.

While the board noted the complainant’s concerns that the ad depicts a semi-naked man, they ultimately decided his level of nudity was “reasonable” for the category.

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