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Dublin: 3°C Wednesday 14 April 2021

The Sun's 'win a date with a Page 3 girl' ad banned

The ad was described as “demeaning to women”.

Image: Edward Smith

BRITAIN’S ADVERTISING WATCHDOG has banned an ad for The Sun newspaper, which promised readers a date with a Page 3 model.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) said that the ad, which related to the paper’s fantasy football competition, was “demeaning to women and objectified those offered as prizes”.

The ad told people who had already entered the competition that if they signed friends up, they could win a date with a model.

[I]f you recruit 10 players or more to your league you will get: Entered into a prize draw for a date with a Page 3 girl – we might even let you pick which one, so feel free to start your research now …
Don’t listen to your girlfriend when she says size doesn’t matter. The bigger your Mini League is, the more prizes you can get your mitts on.

The ad received over 1,000 complaints, many from the SumOfUs website.

The Sun’s owners, News UK and Ireland, responded to the ASA that the girls were league spokespeople for the competition.

“The Sun believed that the promotion was appropriate for their target audience. They said approximately 93% of the recipients of the email were male and comprised of either previous or current Dream Team players. They did not believe that the email would cause offence to those recipients.”

The ASA ruled that the ad was, in essence, a direct ad promoting a gambling event, which is against UK rules around responsible advertising and that the ad demeaned women.”In the context of the ad, we considered that to offer a date with a woman as a reward for success in the game was demeaning to women and objectified those offered as prizes. We also considered that the wording “we might even let you pick which one, so feel free to start your research now …”, further enhanced the impression that the women were simply objects to be selected at the whim and enjoyment of the winner, and had no choice in the matter themselves.

“Because we considered that the email presented the women as objects to be won, we concluded that it was sexist, offensive and socially irresponsible.”

The ASA said that the ad must be pulled and not run again and “told the Sun to ensure that their future advertising contained nothing that was socially irresponsible or likely to cause serious or widespread offence.”

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