Advertising watchdog slaps online hardware brand on the wrist for cartoon “degrading” to women

Advertising watchdog slaps online hardware brand on the wrist for cartoon “degrading” to women

The Advertising Standards Board has upheld a complaint against hardware and machinery brand Macket Bracket after it found an image on its website to be “exploitative and degrading” to women.

In the advertising watchdog’s case report, the image was described by the complainant as a cartoon woman “wearing a small bikini and jean shorts unbuttoned”.

The person who complained about the advertisement referred to sections 2.1 and 2.2 of the Advertising Standards Act, which state communications should not portray people in a way that discriminates against gender or employ sexual appeal in a way that is “exploitative and degrading” towards an individual or group of people.

“I was deeply offended by this type of advertising,” said the complainant. “Not a great endorsement of young women, who are clearly over-sexualised in this campaign.”

In response, Macket Bracket told the advertising watchdog it was sorry and had taken down the advertisement.

“We are recalling all advertising pamphlets and changes to the website,” said the company. “Sorry if this has offended this one and only lady.”

A number of businesses have come under fire this year over sexually explicit advertising. In June, a coffee bean distributor was bombarded with online complaints due to a porn-inspired advertisement on its Facebook page, while Wicked Campers last month committed to changing some the controversial slogans on its vehicles in response to an online petition. 

Michelle Gamble, founder and chief executive of Marketing Angels, previously told SmartCompany it is not a good idea for businesses to effectively alienate and objectify 50% of their customers.

“Part of the current cultural climate is that feminism is having a resurgence,” said Gamble.

“People are really objecting to objectifying women in all parts of life, not just ads.”

SmartCompany contacted Macket Bracket for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.

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