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Newbridge ad deemed too sexy (not the Ronan O'Gara one)

The advertisement was deemed ‘overtly sexual in nature’ and ‘provocative’ by the ASAI.

Image: Sensual lips/Shutterstock

A COMPLAINT AGAINST a Newbridge ad promoting its eShe Jewellery range has been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI).

The ASAI said that the advertisement in question featured model Roz Purcell posing in “sensual” ways while wearing clothing that was “predominantly low cut and revealing”.

The woman who complained about the imagery used in the online video said the ad objectified women and was “promoting women in a sexual way rather than promoting the jewellery”.

In the ASAI’s latest complaints bulletin, the organisation detailed the scenes in the ad that gave rise to the complaint.

“One of the scenes in question featured the model wearing a kimono which was open to, and tied at, the waist together with one of the neck pieces from the range. She was partially draped backwards, leaning on a table with one leg raised as if perched on a stool, whilst holding onto a ceiling lamp with her head tilted backwards.

In another scene, the model was sitting on a couch wearing a strapless yellow dress and two of the neck pieces. While both her legs were not visible in the scene it was obvious that they were spread apart as one leg was visible as it was raised into the camera range. The model was shown drinking a cocktail and at one stage she dips her finger into the cocktail and licks her finger.

Newbridge defended the ad, saying it was never their intention to objectify women – the primary target audience for the product range.

image

[Pic: YouTube]

In explaining its decision to uphold the complaint, the ASAI cite three sections of the Standards in Advertising Code, including section 2.19 which states: "Advertisers should take account of public sensitivities in the preparation and publication of marketing communications and avoid the exploitation of sexuality and the use of coarseness and undesirable innuendo. They should not use offensive or provocative copy or images merely to attract attention."

Newbridge stated that they did not believe the campaign had caused widespread offence.

Terms & Conditions apply

Consumer complaints were upheld against numerous companies including eircom, Sky Ireland, Aer Lingus and eFlow. Industry complaints were upheld against Daft.ie, the Paragon Bar & Nightclub and Molson Coors.

The complaints made against eircom and Sky Ireland related to honesty. Two people complained about an eircom ad promoting their superfast broadband.

One complainant considered that the small print used in the advertisement, which notified consumers that the advertised price was a promotional price for six months only, was very small. He noted that the contract was for 18 months which meant that the actual monthly cost of the bundle for the duration of the contract was €50 per month.

He thought that the claim to have the “best value bundle” at €30 was misleading. He also considered that the voiceover should have made reference to the price after the promotional period.

The second complainant considered that the practice of a headline offer price which was then contradicted by the small print was misleading.

The advertisers noted that their 30 second television advertisement clearly stated in print “price after promotion €60 a month” which was on screen for 8 seconds. They considered that this was sufficient for the average consumer to see and read.

Reading glasses

Text size was also an issue in relation to a Sky Ireland leaflet about its Digital TV service, which was delivered to homes by An Post. Terms and Conditions related to the offer were listed in full in a small script in grey font on a white background.

In this instance, the complainant stated that he had difficulty reading the T&Cs with his reading glasses. He also considered that the text size was too small and may lead to some consumers signing up to the service without being able to read the terms and conditions.

Sky Ireland stated that the font style and size used in the advertising was Sky Text size 5.5. They considered that the industry standard for small print was on average between point size 4 and 4.5 and they therefore the small print in their advertisement was larger than average. They added that the font should have been clearly visible to a "normally-sighted person".

Industry complaints

An industry complaint was upheld against property website Daft.ie. Rival website MyHome.ie claimed that Daft.ie could not state it was “1st for buying, selling and renting in [for example, Dublin 2]”.

MyHome.ie made reference to the ASAI Code which states: “A claim that any product is superior to others should only be made where there is clear evidence to support the claim. Wording which implies superior or superlative status such as “number one”, “leading”, “largest” and the like should be capable of substantiation with market share data or similar proof.”

The advertisers contended that their claim to be “1st for buying, selling and renting” in certain areas was substantiated by having the most number of properties available in those respective areas.

The advertisements against which complaints were upheld cannot reappear in their current form.

Daft.ie, part of the Distilled Media Group. Journal Media Ltd has shareholders - Brian and Eamonn Fallon - in common with Distilled Media Group.

Read: Ads in breach: Small print from Three, bad coverage from eMobile, indecency from The Wright Venue

Read: Kellogg’s agree to axe music from new ad after Kodaline controversy

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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