Real estate developer’s ‘sleazy’ billboard breaches Ad Standards

An out-of-home (OOH) advertisement from Melbourne-based real estate developer Orchard Piper has been pinged by Ad Standards for breaching Sections 2.1, 2.2 and 2.4 of the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Code of Ethics.

The billboard promoting the development featured several images, one of a woman leaning into a car with her skirt blown upwards, and her sheer underpants visible.

The complaint claimed the ad was “sleazy, salacious and clearly misogynistic”.

“It does not belong on a billboard in this day and age. It belongs back in the dark ages of the 70’s where women were scantly clad and draped over luxury cars that clearly only men could afford. This message is not one that should be portrayed to young girls or women. I do not want my three daughters seeing it when I am driving along Toorak Road or shopping in Toorak Village,” the complainant wrote.

“This misogynistic image needs to be removed, in the same way that a racist image would be removed. It does not belong in modern society…Use of sexual images in a way that is exploitative and degrading. Offensive images that dehumanises women, is sexist and sexualises women with no justification or association with the product.”

The Ad Standards Community Panel found the billboard breached the Code’s Section 2.1 – discrimination or vilification; Section 2.2 – exploitative or degrading; and Section 2.4 – sex, sexuality and nudity.

Orchard Piper removed the photo from the billboard “proactively… as soon as we heard there was offence taken”, despite describing it as an “iconic image of the era”.

“Our vision for the [Toorak] precinct is that it will soon return to its former heights,” Orchard Piper said.

“Our intention with the photo wall was to present a depiction of Toorak Village through time, some of those images taken by one of the cities most renowned photographers of the era, Rennie Ellis. This was very much part of a coordinated campaign which sought to show the former glamour of Toorak Village in the 60s & 70s in particular. We note Rennie Ellis was recently on exhibition at the State Library of Victoria, which was sold out due to his popularity. The Rennie Ellis photographic archives are regularly used in brand collaborations throughout the country.

“Please also note, we (and the builders) have received numerous phone calls, emails & messages of people noting their dismay and questioning why we would remove such an iconic image of the era. As we said, we would prefer to not cause any issues and have replaced the image with another [provided].”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.