Billboard suggestive of a peep show banned by ad watchdog

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 9.19.49 AMThe advertising watchdog has ruled against billboard company’s advertisement due to its depiction of a woman that is “both exploitative and degrading” and is suggestive of a peep show.

The billboard depicts an image of a woman’s chest and face which is visible through a hole in white paper. The woman is wearing a black bra and only her mouth and part of her nose are visible. The billboard’s slogan reads “Expose yourself”.

The Advertising Standards Board considered the depiction of the woman visible through a ripped hole is “both exploitative and degrading as it reduced a woman to a part of her body and then uses that part to attract the attention of viewers.”

The board ruled that “the advertisement did employ sexual appeal in a manner which is both exploitative and degrading of women.”

A complaint to the ASB said: “The images are in plain view of the highway. They depict images of a ladies breasts, being exposed in a sexual way. It is semi-pornographic and sexist. It is also objectifying women- they don’t have a picture of a man unzipping his fly.”

In considering the complainants’ concerns that the image is pornographic, the board noted “that the woman’s breasts are covered by a bra and considered that whilst the bra itself is not sexy the woman’s mouth, which is the only part of face visible, shows her lips parted in a way which makes the overall image sexualised.”

The board also noted “that the woman’s breasts are visible through the ripped paper and considered that this depiction is suggestive of a peep show and that the combination of the text, the open mouth, the breasts and the peep show suggestion amounts to an overall depiction which is sexualised and not appropriate for a brad audience which would include children.”

The board ruled “that the advertisement did not treat the issue of sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience.”

The billboard company defended its ad, telling the ASB: “In our defence, our company has been running for in excess of 5 years now, and not once have we received notification of any of our billboards being explicit or sexual in anyway.”

The company continued: “Nor have we been contacted (as our phone number is displayed on the billboards) asking for the designs to be removed for any reason. Our designs have been nominated in the Queensland Media Awards also. None of which have drawn any complaints.

“Our slogan ‘Expose Yourself’ is on all of our logos, that being on billboards or mobile  billboard truck. We have continually used our slogan throughout the last 5 years, with no complaints and refute claims that our slogan is portraying nudity or objectify women. By using ‘Expose Yourself’ as a slogan we are saying to potential clients to use our services to advertise (expose) their businesses.

“Our company believes that in no way, do we, at any circumstance, display images of ladies breasts being exposed in a sexual way. Also we believe strongly that we have never been sexists in any of our advertisements.

The company did explain the choice of a female used in the billboard, saying: “I would say the reason we have gone with the use of female over a male on our site on Peak Downs Highway, would be because the highway is frequented daily by mining companies, of which all our previous clients renting billboards on Peak Downs Highway have been Men, who are directors of companies supplying in the mining industry.”

It concluded: “Our company strongly objects any claims that we are sexist and use nudity/semi pornographic images.”

The ASB did agree that the slogan, ‘expose yourself’, is relevant to the product advertised, however it ruled that “the use of woman’s breasts is not relevant.” The watchdog upheld the complaint and the billboard company has it it will comply with removing and discounting the advertisement despite the fact it “strongly disagrees” with the ASB’s decision.

Abillboard said: “We have no intention of wasting any more time or bare any costs in fighting your decision.”


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