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Dublin: 2 °C Sunday 15 December, 2019
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Dealz ad featuring 'Harry the Hunk' filling a dishwasher falls foul of ad rules

Dealz argued the ad was evocative of the Diet Coke window cleaning ad.

A still taken from the Dealz Facebook ad.
A still taken from the Dealz Facebook ad.
Image: Facebook/Dealz

AN ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN by low-cost retailer Dealz featuring a scantily clad ‘Harry the Hunk’ has fallen foul of advertising standards.

A series of ads featuring the half-dressed muscular actor prompted complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI), two of which have now been upheld.

In its report on the complaints, the ASAI describes that the character is shown wearing white, fitted boxer shorts and an apron folded down below his waist.

In the ad, he bends over to pick up a plate and places it in the dishwasher while looking at his torso and raising his eyebrows.

“A voiceover is simultaneously aired saying ‘Oh.’ and ‘*Hunk not included’ is shown on screen,” the ASAI states.

The ad was for the sale of Finish dishwasher tablets at Dealz.

The complainant in this case stated that the ad “objectified men’s bodies” and that it had “no connection to the products that were being sold”.

“He felt this type of advertisement would not be allowed if it featured a woman in her underwear advertising the same products,” the ASAI states in its summation of the complaint.

In its response, Dealz said that the ad featuring “Harry the Hunk” had been viewed 31,000 times but that only one complaint had been received.

It said that its was clear the character was wearing trunks and that “nothing untoward was on show”.

Posted by on Sunday, 15 December 2019

Dealz disagreed that the ad objectified men and stated that it was:

evocative of classic advertisements such as the Diet Coke/Window Cleaner advertisement or the Levi 501 advertisement featuring a man in a launderette washing his jeans.

The advertiser also pointed to data which showed that only 1.7% of its Facebook following were under 18 and that its audience were therefore adults.

In its conclusion, the ASAI stated that the ad drew specific and gratuitous attention to “various areas of the actor’s body” and “displayed suggestive behaviour that bore no relevance to the product being promoted”.

It found therefore that the ad breached advertising standards and should not be shown again in its current form.

In a different ad as part of the same series, the ASAI rejected a complaint, however. 

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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