The advertising watchdog has banned an ad for Unilever deodorant Lynx for demeaning older men – but was cleared of degrading both sexes, racism and bad language.
The part of the ad deemed unacceptable came at end, when an old man produced two deflated medicine balls and asks, ‘Can you help me with these saggy old balls? Nobody’s played with them for years.’
The ad received around 150 complaints from the public, not far off the total for the most complained about ad last year, which received 222.
One of the complaints to the Ad Standards Bureau read: “It is smutty and filled with crude innuendo of a sexual nature. It is not clever advertising but rather immature banter akin to schoolyard talk. It has nothing to do with the advertising of the product and is totally unnecessary and demeaning to men. If the topic was woman’s breasts there would be outrage. Not funny not clever just feral.”
Another reads: “The ad represents a huge gender double standard. If the product on sale was aimed at women for cleaning their intimate areas and the ad had men making suggestive comments and was packed full of the same overtones it simply would not be allowed in the first place. It would be impossible to imagine an ad featuring men washing objects that are portrayed as representing the vagina. So that said why should it be allowed in reverse?”
The ASB ruled that – with the exception of the depiction of the older man – the portrayals of the people in the ad were not offensive.