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Can Marketers go too far using sex to sell?

Sex Sells – But What is Too Far?

A recent ad, for web hosting service CrazyDomains, features former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson and her female assistant in a boardroom of men. One of the men begins fantasising about them, and Anderson and the assistant are then shown cavorting in gold bikinis and slathered with whipped cream. Later, the female assistant pours a man coffee while he oggles her cleavage.

The ad was banned in Australia, after the Advertising Standards Board deemed it sexist and exploitative, saying the gratuitous fantasy sequence had “no relevance to the product”. According to Ad News, there was only one complaint from Australian consumers.

Now, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has followed suit, banning the raunchy ad after complaints from viewers, The Guardian reports. The ad is “likely to cause serious offence to some viewers on the basis that it was sexist and degrading to women”, the ASA said.

The ad was initially given the OK to air after 9pm in the UK, with vetting company Clearcast ruling Anderson was “a celebrity who was known for flaunting her body,” and arguing that the women were portrayed as “attractive, dynamic and confident business people”.

In contrast, the men were “nerdy and lacking confidence”, so the racy spot was “anything but degrading to women,” Clearcast said.

However, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority disagreed and yanked the risque ad off the air, after it received four complaints from viewers who said it was sexist and degrading to women.

The ASA said Anderson and the female assistant were depicted “sexually throughout the ad”, and the fantasy sequence suggested the man “viewed his female colleagues as sexual objects to be lusted after.”

If you view the ad via the link below you will see that there is a huge comparison between two barely clothed bikini bodies covered in cream rubbing against each other vs a topless sweaty man working outside.


I am no prude and appreciate humour and some sexism in advertising to a degree, but this ad borders on soft porn in my opinion and is not appropriate, nor is it relevant to the service being marketed.  If you have an opinion, please comment on our relevant post on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/HallofFameMarketing



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