It is the safest sign that a major football tournament is imminent: an influx of adverts portraying women as sport-loathing killjoys and men as oafs interested only in goals and boobs. According to campaigners, this year's World Cup is proving a
A rash of regressive marketing campaigns, apparently from the imagination of 1950s ad men, have been provoking complaints. Pot Noodle's take on the World Cup's Brazilian location is a talking beach towel that leers
at women in skimpy bikinis, which has prompted 94 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority and a deluge of objections on social media.
A Unilever spokeswoman said the advert was intended to be tongue-in-cheek but
that since a number of viewers did not appreciate it , it will no longer be broadcast in its current form.
Meanwhile, the Odeon One cinema in Liverpool has cancelled World Cup Widow screenings of female-friendly films during the tournament after complaints from feminist groups.
A postcard produced by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, which featured a naked man sitting on the back of a woman, has been criticised as being exploitative, degrading and highly sexualised by Australia's Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB).
postcard, which was available from cafes and restaurants around the time of Mardi Gras this year, was the work of photographer Elvis di Fazio and featured burlesque performer Lillian Starr.
The image featured a man raising his hand to strike the
woman, dressed in fishnet stockings and heels, similar to the action of a jockey whipping a horse.
A complaint to the ASB claimed the advert sent:
a message that Australian society tolerates -- indeed promotes
-- sexual domination of women and that the ideal female is one who is willing to go down on all fours to enable a man to ride her.
The ASB said the advert broke several sections of the Advertiser Code of Ethics including using
exploitative sexual imagery. The advert censor explained that the advert had:
No clear connection to the Mardi Gras and that the depiction of someone on all fours in this manner is an image consistently considered by
the community as a sexualised image suggestive of one person dominating another.
Responding to the ASB, Mardi Gras defended the postcard saying it was part of a broader series of three depicting a highly stylised party scene, and Starr
was a key contributor in devising the image.
A poster for the perfume ROGUE by Rihanna, which was displayed on the doors of a lift in a shopping centre, featured an image of the pop star Rihanna sitting on the floor with her head and shoulders leaning against a wall and her legs raised
against a large bottle of perfume. Text at the top of the ad stated ROGUE by Rihanna .
One complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because:
it was overly sexual and demeaning to women; and
it featured a sexualised and provocative image, which was inappropriate for children to see.
1. Not upheld
The ASA noted that Rihanna appeared to be naked in the image and one of her buttocks was visible, with her legs raised. However, we also noted that she was
presented in such a way that she was mainly covered, and the image was not overtly sexual. We noted that Rihanna was depicted looking directly at the viewer and considered that her facial expression was one of defiance rather than vulnerability. We
considered that the overall impression of Rihanna created by the ad was one of confidence. We concluded that the ad was unlikely to be demeaning to women or to cause serious or widespread offence.
We noted the ad was not given a placement restriction and had appeared in a number of places where it was likely to be seen by children. While we did not consider the image to be overtly sexual, we considered that Rihanna's pose, with her legs raised in
the air, was provocative. Because of this, and the fact that Rihanna appeared to be naked except for high heels, we concluded that the ad was sexually suggestive and should have been given a placement restriction to reduce the possibility of it being
seen by children.
The ad must not appear again without a placement restriction to reduce the possibility of it being seen by children.
Councillors from the town of Pecq, in the suburbs of Paris, have censored a bus stop advert featuring 2 female models building up to a kiss.
The advert, which is for the high-end French jeweler Chaumet, is based on the famous Greek myth of Narcissus
and features actress Marine Vacth who is depicted on the verge of a kiss with...herself.
The council claims that it was responding to pressure from locals, the town council then ordered the posters to be taken down from local bus stops. Quoted by
French daily Le Parisien, Mayor Laurence Bernard claimed she had received many calls from parents about the advertising campaign:
They told us that it bothered them that their children were subjected to this
image, that it shocked and annoyed them to respond to their children's comments on the subject.
Local gay activists are not impressed by the prudery. The co-president of the LGBT centre in Ile-de-France was quoted by TF1 television as
Taking down these posters is a serious offence against homosexual people, We are not going to eradicate our existence, our daily lives, under the pretext that it would frighten some parents.
Gay rights group SOS Homophobia described the council's actions as:
An unacceptable practice of censorship which shows and reinforces the organization into hierarchy of couples based on their sexual
orientation. The concealment of the posters highlights a homophobia that dares not speak its name.
Mayor Bernard backpedalled in response to the criticism, and pinned the censorship on an attempt to patronise local prudes:
I am appalled and sorry for the controversy that this raises. I wanted to make things more calm. I thought that by removing them, I made a step towards these residents and that I could get them to accept the evolution of
society without rushing them.
I think that those who asked for it to be taken down didn't even realize that it was an interpretation of the myth of Narcissus, Bernard said.
An advertising agency has apologised to Malala Yousafzai for using her image for a mattress advert.
Ogilvy's advert featured the Pakistani schoolgirl who was famously shot in the face by the Taliban but who so heroically fought back in the battle
against muslim extremism.
The poster ad features a series of images of Malala being shot, falling backwards covered in blood, being put on a drip and then bouncing off a mattress and recovering to receive an award. The poster was made by Ogilvy
& Mather for bed firm Kurl-On, runs with the strapline Bounce Back .
Greg Carton, Ogilvy's press spokesman for Asia Pacific, apologised to Yousafzai and her family:
The recent Kurl-On ads from our
India office are contrary to the beliefs and professional standards of Ogilvy & Mather and our clients. We deeply regret this incident and want to personally apologise to Malala Yousafzai and her family.
A poster advertising a satirical play about the Monarchy and, showing Prince Charles gagged, has been censored by London Underground because it fears it could cause offence.
The advert for the critically acclaimed production of King Charles III
features a punk-style portrait of the Prince with his mouth covered by white duct tape.
But despite the fact that the poster has been displayed across London since the play opened nearly three weeks ago, a nervous Transport for London has
decided to pixelate Charles's face.
There appeared to be confusion over exactly why the poster had been censored. TfL laid the blame on the company that deals with adverts on the Tube:
We work with a company
called Exterion Media, which handles our adverts on the Tube network and offers advice. They may say this or that could cause offence. Exterion may have said the poster doesn't fit with part of their policy. The decision was made without reference to us
and does look to have been a little over-enthusiastic. We will speak to them about it.