A medical clinic that offers help to men with erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation concerns has fallen foul of the advertising watchdog for a television commercial which was considered to vilify or discriminate against men with those conditions.
But Jack Vaisman, the founder and chief executive of Advanced Medical Institute (AMI), has hit back at the Advertising Standard Board’s ruling, telling SmartCompany this morning the board “doesn’t know what they are talking about”.
The advertising watchdog upheld a complaint against an AMI television commercial which featured a number of women announcing to their male partners in bed that they are not happy with their premature ejaculation problems, before going out on a balcony in their lingerie to shout that they can’t take it anymore.
A man with a megaphone then shouts to the women that instead of getting upset, they should look at AMI’s treatment options for their partners.
One complaint received by the Ad Standards Board called the advertisement “sexist, derogatory, emasculating” and said it “projects unacceptable and reprehensible behaviour on behalf of the female partners”.
“Premature ejaculation is an emotionally and psychologically sensitive matter and the degradation of the male partners in this ad projects the message that it is ok to tell, scream and demand ‘better performance’ and projects a complete disregard and dismissal of a man’s psychological and emotional wellbeing,” said the complainant.
While the Ad Standards Board ruled the commercial did not breach section 2.4 of the Advertising Code, which requires advertisers to treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience, it did find AMI breached section 2.1 of the code, which prohibits the vilification or discrimination of individuals or groups on a number of basis, including gender.
“The majority of the board considered that the advertisement does single out an identifiable section of the community and that the women’s attitudes of being unhappy with their partners, the tone and language they use and their behaviour in shouting their frustrations from their balconies amounts to a depiction which ridicules men with sexual performance issues and implies that these men should be thought less of as a result of their conditions,” said the board.
This is not the first time the Ad Standards Board has upheld complaints against AMI, which it ordered to take down large billboards advertising for “longer lasting sex” in 2008.
The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission has also kept a close eye on the company, which the corporate watchdog said in 2011 had failed to inform customers it went into administration in late 2010.
But Vaisman says the television ad was “educational” and it was intended to convey that premature ejaculation affects women as much as men.
“Fifty percent of men have this problem, but 50% of female partners are suffering,” he says.
“We were the first to show that women are not happy.”
Vaisman says AMI has little choice but to comply with the regulator’s ruling but says forbidding his company from advertising such messages will only mean individuals will continue to suffer from their medical conditions.
“And who will suffer more? It will be women. They will continue to suffer in silence,” he says.
An example of one of AMI’s ads for the treatment of premature ejaculation. This is not the ad brought before the Ad Standards Board.