Latest Ultra Tune ad did not objectify or degrade women, rules watchdog

Ultra Tune’s latest ‘Unexpected Situations’ campaign featuring convicted domestic violence offender Charlie Sheen has been cleared by Ad Standards.

The ad, which features Sheen allowing the ‘Rubber Girls’ onto his boat so they can dry off and call for help after their brakes fail and the car ends up in the ocean, has been deemed appropriate to air and cleared of degrading and objectifying women.

Complaints posted to Ad Standards said the ad “portrays women in a very stereotypical and sexual way” and “reinforces the stereotype of women drivers being incompetent, and women being clueless and vulnerable in general”.

“It was sexist, unnecessary and in this time of me too and the excessive domestic violence currently occurring this type of ad is just inappropriate. We need to teach our males that this type of behaviour is not ok and whoever sanctioned this ad needs some proper education in how to treat women and the dangers of overt sexuality and mistreatment of women,” another complaint said.

Meanwhile, a series of other complaints said the ad was “unacceptable”, “sexualised”, “sexist” and “offensive”.

Ultra Tune responded to the numerous complaints by arguing the ad doesn’t portray any violence and “at all times, the women were fully clothed in normal casual day wear”.

Defending its controversial ad, Ultra Tune added: “There is no nudity or sexual acts displayed in the advertisements.”

The advertising watchdog said Ultra Tune’s ad doesn’t breach any advertising rules because “women are not depicted as objects or commodities”.

Instead, the group of women are seen having an accident and calling Ultra Tune for assistance once they are able to do so.

“Women’s bodies are not the focus of the advertisement… the clothing worn by the women is consistent with beach attire and is not overly sexualised and there is no close-ups or lingering on the women’s bodies.”

Ad Standards also noted that despite Sheen’s criminal history, “advertisers are free to use whoever they wish in advertisements” and “his history was not mentioned in the advertisement and not all viewers would be aware of who he was”.

The advertising regulator also said the women were not depicted as “stupid or unable to drive” because they had an accident “as a result of circumstances outside of their control”.

This is not the first time Ultra Tune has faced a series of complaints with the brand having its ad banned last year for depiction of violence towards women.


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