Advertising Standards Bureau Review of Operations 2014 - Page 39

Sex, sexuality and nudity (Section 2.4, AANA Code of Ethics) The use of sex, sexuality and nudity in advertising generally attracts the most complaints compared to any other section of the Code. In 2014, this issue raised only 14.27 per cent of complaints. Down significantly from previous years when the issue has been the subject of up to 45 per cent of complaints (2010). The Board considers the relevant audience with Section 2.4 and particularly distinguishing between acceptability of content within public domains which children may be exposed to (such as billboards) as opposed to other forms of media which may be more restrictive, such as internet sites and TV advertisements with timing restrictions. In considering cases under Section 2.4, the Board will also consider the relevance the sex, sexuality or nudity has to the product or service being promoted. In general, using these themes to promote sex shops or lingerie products will be more understandable as the imagery relates to what is sold. Product relevance The Board’s view about the relevance of images and concepts used in promoting products and services remained strict in 2014. Concerns were raised about the images of women used by a coffee company (Fresh One - 0213/14) in the form of posts on the Facebook page of the advertiser. The Board upheld complaints against each of the six posts finding them to breach the Code in relation to Sections 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5 and 2.6. Three images were found to breach the Code in relation to Section 2.4. One image featured a woman viewed from behind, wearing only a g-string with her thumbs hooked in the sides and appeared to be in the act of pulling her underwear down. The accompanying text was, “A Freshy will leave you feeling pleasured and guilt free after the grind”. Another image was of a woman kneeling in front of a man with accompanying text, “Ain’t nothing like a morning Fresh One. I’ve been waiting to Review of Operations 2014 explode in your mouth all morning. Let us treat you to a Fresh One.” In the Board’s view both posts were sexually suggestive and did not treat sex with sensitivity to a relevant audience of Facebook active adults interested in coffee, and was also overly and clearly sexualised to an extent that was unacceptable. The third image found to breach the Code in relation to Section 2.4 was of a coffee cup with the Fresh One logo, a cat in a washtub and a cockerel. The text accompanying the image read, “What do you get when you mix a cock and a wet pussy?” The Board view was that the accompanying language was a direct reference to colloquial descriptions of both male and female genitalia and that the combination of images and text amounted to an overall depiction that was a strong sexual reference and not appropriate for the relevant audience of Facebook active adults who are expecting to see content related to coffee and coffee beans. Different images of naked women on a vehicle advertisement and on a billboard (Enhance Clinic – vehicle 0029/14 and billboard 0030/14) resulted in opposing views from the Board. Its view of an image on the bonnet of the vehicle where the woman’s breasts were covered by her hands and no detail of the breasts were visible and on the side of the vehicle where the image was not clear, was that neither were overtly sexualised and that the images were relevant to the advertised product. However, the Board’s view of the billboard image was not as positive. The billboard featured an image of a naked woman with her hand between her legs. The woman’s hand and genital region were hidden by a love-heart shaped sticker. The Board view was that although the love­‑heart is placed over the woman’s genital region, her hand is still clearly placed over her genital area which made it appear as if she was touching herself intimately rather than covering herself, and considered that this made the image sexualised. The Board had previously determined that the same image without the sticker breached the Code and considered that the sticker had not effectively addressed the concerns previously raised and that the image still had a sexualised tone that was not relevant to the product. Highlighting the importance of product relevance was the view of the Board in an advertisement where viewers see a bare breasted woman singing “I touch myself ” (Cancer Council NSW - 0195/14). Ten Australian female artists, sing Chrissy Amphlett’s song ‘I Touch Myself ’. The head and shoulders of the women are seen and they appear not to be wearing tops. There is no actual nudity other than in the M rated version of the advertisement, where a woman is seen naked to the waist. The woman has undergone reconstructive surgery following breast cancer. The Board view was that the aim of the campaign was to increase community awareness of breast cancer and the importance of self-examination and that the advertisement was not sexually suggestive in any way and considered in the context of a community awareness campaign about breast cancer, the level of nudity shown was not inappropriate. Breast feeding is a natural activity and the Board takes a consistent view of scenes depicting women feeding their children (La Trobe University - 0290/14 and Nutricia Australasia Pty Ltd 0237/14). Its view in these cases was that in the context of an image of a woman breastfeeding a baby the level of nudity in the advertisement was not inappropriate for a broad audience which would include children. Each year the Board consistently receives complaints regarding the use of sex, sexuality and nudity in the promotion of lingerie. The Board continues to note that it is reasonable for an advertiser to depict its products, particularly lingerie, being modelled in its advertising. In 2014, the Board dismissed complaints under Section 2.4 regarding models in lingerie and underwear (Pacific Brands Holdings Pty Ltd – 114/14, 0385/14, 514/14, Aussiebum – 0105/14, Myer Pty Ltd – 0347/14, Target Australia Pty Ltd – 0108/14 and 0344/14, Capri Body Fashions – 0109/14, Bras n’ Things – 0130/14 and 0419/14, Woolworths Supermarkets – 0349/14, Honey Birdette – 0460/14). In these cases, the Board considered the imagery of models in lingerie to be appropriate considering the product sold, the images were not overly sexualised and that they did not use inappropriate nudity or exposure. 37