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Sprite ad saying "she's seen more ceilings than Michelangelo" ruled sexually exploitative

The ad campaign was featured on two Irish websites.

Image: Shutterstock/Abramova Elena

A SPRITE AD that said “she’s seen more ceilings… than Michelangelo” has been ruled sexist by the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI).

In its latest report, out today, the ASAI said that the ads under the subject of the complaints were featured on Joe.ie and Waterford Whispers.ie. They were for Sprite’s #BrutallyRefreshing campaign and featured bottles of Sprite Zero and regular Sprite alongside the following captions:

“She’s seen more ceilings… Than Michelangelo”
“You’re not popular… You’re easy”
“A 2 at 10 is a 10 at 2”

There were 10 complaints received in relation to the campaign.

All complainants considered that the advertising was sexist, degrading to women, offensive and insulting. Several of the complainants also considered that the advertisement was misogynistic.

In response to the complaints, the advertisers said that they “strive to deliver the highest standards of advertising”.

They recognised that on this occasion the content had not met with their or their consumers’ expectations. They also said that when they realised their advertising was causing concern, they immediately had it removed and issued a public apology for any offence caused.

The complaints were upheld. The complaints committee noted that the advertising code acknowledged that humour was acceptable in advertising but that the portrayal of people should not be likely “to cause grave or widespread offence, or to cause hostility, contempt, abuse or ridicule”.

They also noted the requirement for advertisers to “avoid the exploitation of sexuality and the use of coarseness and undesirable innuendo” and that “offensive or provocative copy or images” should not be used merely to attract attention.

It considered that the advertising had caused grave offence, had been exploitative of sexuality and had used coarse and undesirable innuendo.

In addition, it had used offence [sic] and provocative copy. In the circumstances, the Complaints Committee considered the advertising to be in breach of Sections 3.16 and 3.20 of the Code.

Because the ads had already been withdrawn, no further action was required in this case.

Read: Vodafone bull ad branded “disgraceful” for making light of “very dangerous animals”>

Read: “You wanna feel?” – Complaints that this Opel ad is ‘sexist’ have been rejected>

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