Ad watchdog reproaches real estate company for reducing woman to objects

The ad watchdog has reprimanded a real estate company, TWT Property Group, for featuring a woman in a way which implied that she was an object “whose purpose in the advertisement was only to be seen as decoration”.

In a print advertisement TWT Property Group featured a woman in a backless ball gown with tall buildings in a window behind her and was accompanied by the words “Living Works of Art”.

An event from TWT Property Group’s “Living Works of Art” campaign

A complaint said it was unclear what the image had to do with selling real estate and questioned whether “using a image of a female in this way for this spurious reason – is legitimate in 2018”.

Ad Standards agreed, stating the ad “takes advantage of the sexual appeal of the woman by depicting her as an object or commodity” and the focus of the image is not on the real estate but on the woman’s bare back.

The ad was irrelevant to the real estate being advertised and instead focused on suggested nudity, the watchdog added.

Despite TWT Property Group’s argument that the focus of the ad is art, Ad Standards upheld the complaint.

“The wording of the ad is very clear in terms of the focus of the organisation on the arts, what our goals are in terms of development and articulating the role of art, arts and people in our buildings,” the property group said.

Ad Standards concluded that the ad employed sexual appeal in a manner which is exploitative.

TWT Property Group said it won’t run the print ads again but it will continue to use the tagline.


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