Store’s breast-grabbing Santa office party ad slammed by Ad Standards Board

A raucous office Christmas party featured in a letterbox-delivered brochure for discount store Cheap as Chips has been censured by the Ad Standards board.

The ad drew complaints about a worker portrayed wearing just a mankini, with Santa’s face covering his genitals, while another staffer dressed as Father Christmas apparently grabs a laughing female colleague’s breasts.

One complaint to the ASB stated: “The photo of the office party 2017 is offensive on several levels. The promotion of alcohol appears excessive, the man-kini is inappropriate but the perceived behaviour of ‘Father Christmas’ appears at a glance as though he is groping his female coworker, standing over her with an over familiar expression on his face.”

Cheap As Chips ignored the ASB’s invitation to defend the ad.

UPDATED 2:50pm

Cheap as Chips CEO, Shane Radbone, said in a statement to Mumbrella: “Contrary to one on-line newsletter report, we weren’t even contacted.

“We didn’t set out to offend anyone – just to promote some of our novelty Christmas items which just happen to include a festive mankini and a novelty apron – neither of which reveals more than
the plentiful range of lingerie catalogues that also turn up in my letterbox at Christmas!”

The advertsiement was displayed in its catalogue

The ASB ruled:

“The Board noted that one man is located at the front of the image and is wearing a man-kini which comprises a Santa head placed over his genitals.

“The Board noted that the additional images in the office such as the man grabbing the woman’s breast, the text ‘office party’ and the presence of alcohol are all elements that add to an overall sexualised context to a work Christmas party.

“The Board also considered that the inclusion of the man wearing only a man-kini was quite prominent in the advertisement and was imagery that drew attention to his nudity.

“The Board noted that the advertisement is part of a catalogue which is distributed in mail boxes and that the audience for material distributed in this manner is likely to include Children, particularly in the lead up to Christmas.”

Was Santa fondling his colleague’s breasts, or was he holding a red cup? And were his fingers Photoshopped in later?

Focusing on the question of the woman’s breasts being “fondled”, the board added:

“The Board noted that there is significant community concern regarding sexual harassment and appropriate behaviour in the workplace and that the depiction of the man grabbing the woman on the breast is not behaviour that is acceptable in this environment.

“The Board noted that the woman is wearing a novelty apron and that it is likely that her actual breast is not being fondled. In the Board’s view however, the impression is that she is being touched and that the advertisement is suggesting it is acceptable to do so because of the party situation.”

The ASB ruled that the ad breached its rules on meeting prevailing community standards.


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