Ad body backs drag queen ad

An ad which was voluntarily pulled by Libra after outrage from members of the transgender community has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Board.

The ad ran in Australian cinemas and on NZ television before controversy blew up in nearly January, leading to parent company SCA Hygiene pulling the campaign. The ad by Clemenger BBDO Melbourne featured a drag queen competing with a woman in a bathroom, with the message “Libra gets girls”.

However, SCA defended the ad following complaints to the ASB. It said:

“The bathroom duel is… a humorous and cheeky demonstration aimed at conveying our ‘Libra Gets Girls’ message.

“The advertisement was created with the intention of being humorous. It was aimed at appealing to the sense of humour of our target market, which is women aged 18 – 25. Before the TV advertisement was produced, the concept was qualitatively researched with members of our target market. The concept researched very positively, particularly on humour and entertainment measures. The ad in no way contravenes to the AANA Code of Ethics as it does not discriminate against or vilify drag queens or transvestites.”

It added: “Our end line of ‘Libra get girls’ in no way qualitatively defines who ‘girls’ is referring to, other than the Drag Queen depicted in the advertisement not being able to use a tampon (for anatomical reasons) as she is a man – Libra believes that this has been a key misinterpretation of the ad. Nor does the advertisement make any value judgments about what constitutes a “real” woman. The intended message of the end line is that Libra understands women’s personal hygiene and menstruation needs.”

The ASB backed the add, ruling:

“The Board noted that the use of a man dressed as a woman was intended to make the advertisement lighthearted and humorous and considered that the overall tone of the advertisement is of exaggerated one-upmanship clearly communicated by the competition between the two „women‟ to have the best breasts, longest eyelashes or best lips. The Board considered that the advertisement does not demean women who do not menstruate, nor does it demean or vilify transgender people and does not vilify men who dress as woman.

“The Board noted the complainant‟s concern with the tagline of the advertisement, “Libra gets girls”, and considered that this message was appropriate for a company who make sanitary products and it was not intended to convey that women who do not menstruate are not „real women‟.”


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