Honey Birdette falls foul of advertising watchdog, again

Lingerie brand Honey Birdette has again been found in breach of the advertising code of ethics for its shopping centre displays.

In the latest complaint, shoppers complained to the Ad Standards Community panel about the sexual and violent nature of the retailer’s ‘Do not Disturb… GEORGIA” campaign.

Previously, Honey Birdette has been sanctioned for its risque digital billboards as well as an ad featuring a bound and submissive Santa, which was banned in 2016.

In the latest complaint to the board, one of the submissions said: “The model wears a costume depicting sexual bondage, dominance, sado-masochistic (BDMS) behaviour towards women that encourages sexual violence towards women.

“Whether consensual or not, this advertising normalises violence against women and teaches our kids that it is normal. This may be ‘normal’ in a porn shop, and Honey Birdette should be classified as one and not allowed in a shopping centre.”

While the board noted the “the advertisement is slightly more sexualised than typical lingerie”, it decided the posters were not unreasonable given the store’s merchandise, saying: “This is a style of lingerie sold by the store and it was reasonable for the store to depict it in their advertising”

The regulator ruled the adverts were not degrading as “the Board considered the pose of the woman in both advertisements was strong and confident and that the advertisement did not appear to lower the woman in character or quality.”

Similarly the board found the lingerie ads while sexuaulised did not feature nudity as breasts and genitals were fully covered.

However the board did find the posters breached section 2.4 of the Australian Association of National Advertisers’ Code of Ethics which states “advertising or marketing  communications shall treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience,” as the adverts were displayed in shopping centres where they could be seen by minors and the general public.

“Overall, in the Board’s view the advertisement did not treat the issue of sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience and determined that it did breach Section 2.4 of the Code.” The ruling concluded.

Honey Birdette did not provide a response to the complaint or the ruling.


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