Flashing is against community standards, says ad watchdog

A women’s clothing brand which used a cartoon of a flasher in an online ad to promote a three day flash sale has been told off by the advertising regulator.

Kinki Gerlinki featured an image of 1950s cartoon character The Flash exposing himself to a woman, along with the message: “Flash Sale! 25% of all dresses! 3 days only!”.

A complaint from a member of the public to the ASB over the ad said: “This advertisement is offensive as it trivialises the sexual offense of indecent exposure as a means to promote the sale of women’s clothing. It is also extremely sexist as this crime is predominately perpetrated by  men against women and such a depiction reinforces men’s dominance and abuse of power over women.”

Kinki Gerlinki responded: “We often use references from vintage popular culture for our advertising as it is in sync with our overall aesthetic. As  a company that consists of 16 female staff members and only one male (our director) we have always taken pride in empowering our female clientele and would never have intentionally trivialised something as serious as sexual assault.”

However, the ASB ruled that the ad breached its regulations on community standards. It said: “The intention of the advertisement is to draw the viewer to the promotion by shocking them.”

Kinki Gerlinki confirmed the ad had been discontinued and would not be used again. It added: “They said: “We wish to reiterate again that the ad was never intended as a shock tactic or to trivialise the very serious matter of sexual assault.”


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