Bras N Things removes “vulgar” Playboy lingerie ad after watchdog rules it was too much for shopping centre patrons


Retailer Bras N Things will not use one of its in-store video advertisements again after the advertising watchdog ruled the clip of a female model wearing Playboy-branded lingerie was overly sexualised.

Broadcast from the windows of Bras N Things stores, the clip showed a woman wearing a number of different styles of the underwear. The commercial, which did not include any audio, was to be shown between July 18 and July 31.

According to the consumer who complained to the Advertising Standards Board, the clip was “a demeaning and embarrassing display” and its position on a large screen meant “seeing it was unavoidable”.

“They were not merely modelling the underwear, they were moving suggestively, gyrating and looking lasciviously at the camera – like a very amateur porn movie,” the complainant said.

“This was in an ordinary public place, with children and families there, why should they be confronted with it in a shopping mall. It was vulgar, unsuitable for the young and simply demeaning for any woman walking past.”

While Bras N Things told the Ad Standards Board it had received “very little feedback” about the clip from its customers, it decided to replace the video content with still images from July 28, “to be respectful to the centres that have received customer feedback”.

Bras N Things said the clip did not contain nudity and was promoting a range of products that were available in the stores. The retailer said it does not believe the video “is degrading or exploitative in any way”.

The Ad Standards Board said lingerie retailers are permitted to advertise products that are available to purchase in their stores but in this instance “the manner in which the lingerie is modelled by [the] woman is sexualised”.

And while the board believes still images of the same content “would be suitable for display”, it said the silent, moving imagery in the Bras N Things clip “draws the eye of passers-by” and because the clip did not contain branding for the shop or the products being advertised “there is a more sexualised impact of the material as the focus is on the woman’s body rather than on what she is wearing”.

Given the “very broad” potential audience for the clip in shopping centres, the board ruled the video did not treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity and therefore breached the advertising code of conduct. As a result, it upheld the complaint.

In response, Bras N Things confirmed that the video content would not be used again in its advertising.

Dr Lauren Rosewarne, an advertising expert and senior lecturer at Melbourne University, told SmartCompany the issue in this case is not the fact that the ad featured women in lingerie, but that the ad featured “women in lingerie in sexually suggestive video content”.

“A store like Bras N Things is just a clothing store, as opposed to an adult-content store, and so will be frequented by people of a range of ages and backgrounds,” Rosewarne says.

“Showing such a video in store is going to make some customers feel uncomfortable and retailers would be advised to avoid crossing that line.”

SmartCompany has contacted Bras N Things for further comment.


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5 years ago

That’s disturbing – what sort of sicko would link lingerie with sex!

suzanne henry
suzanne henry
6 months ago

Wow, yet they continue to let Cotton On push all the boundaries and market sex toys to young teens

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