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Ad watchdog rules rubber outfits were ‘relevant’ in Ultratune ad

ultratune rubberThe ad watchdog has dismissed complaints an UltraTune ad, which aired during the first game of the NRL State of Origin, objectifies women, ruling that the women’s attire of rubber suits in the commercial was relevant to the company’s new range of ‘rubber tyres’.

(Courtesy of Ebiquity)

The ad received a number of complaints to the Ad Standards Board (ASB), most of them relating to the objectification of women and the sexual nature of the ad. One complainant wrote:

“The automotive industry is known for a traditional lack of respect for women, the role of the women in the advertisement was purely as objects. The tag line “we’re into rubber” is  offensive and it deduces the women in the ad to fetish objects not customers or equals.”

Another said: “It was clearly sexually overt, my 3 year old was watching and in a mainstream Sunday football match, stuff like that shouldn’t be in ads at that time, isn’t this meant to be family time?”

UltraTune defended the ad, telling the ASB that the women “are in full control and are shown in a position of power and authority in their dealings with the male attendant”.

“The advertisement commercial is deliberately exaggerated and unrealistic in its nature which is emphasised by the black and white filming style that is used,” Ultratune said.

“The use of a whip is to further emphasise the  women’s dominance in the advertisement. They are not being portrayed as objects of lust in the advertisement. The male attendant makes no degrading remarks or looks at the women  when they enter the shop. He simply raises his eyes to acknowledge them and then nods with understanding that they are after tyres.”

UltraTune also argued that the ad “does not portray sex or sexual act” as it “does not include any graphic nudity and there is no uncovered flesh”.

“The women were treated fairly during the production and were renumerated for their performance.”

In its ruling, the ASB considered “that the depiction of the two women strutting into the workshop portrays the women as powerful and confident and their depiction wearing rubber suits is relevant to the new range of ‘rubber’ tyres in store and does not amount to a depiction that is exploitative and degrading to women”.

While the board noted complainants concerns that “the women use seductive moves around the tyres”, it viewed this as a tool to draw attention of the viewers to the tyres and noted “that it is unlikely that anyone would behave in the same manner around tyres but that the actions of the women are exaggerated and unrealistic in a humorous way and are only mildly sexually suggestive”.

The complaint was dismissed.

Miranda Ward

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