A Femfresh ad has been banned in the U.K. by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for “objectifying” women and for the likelihood that it could cause “serious or widespread offense.”
Shown on ITV and Channel 4 on-demand services earlier this year, the ad for the company’s bikini-line shaving products, featured dancing women wearing underwear and swimwear — it also included several close-up shots of the women’s crotches.
According to the ASA, 17 complaints were received, which included claims that the ad objectified women and portrayed them in an overly sexualized way.
Church & Dwight UK, the brand that owns Femfresh, said the ad was aimed at a target audience of 18- to 34-year-old women and that the dance sequence was choreographed by a woman with the aim to illustrate some of the moves regularly featured in exercise classes.
It added that the close-ups shots were used to illustrate that the product could give consumers a smooth bikini line.
Neither Channel 4 nor ITV received any complaints about the ad directly, and both agreed with comments made by Church & Dwight that it did not objectify women.
But the ASA didn’t agree, noting that the dance sequence was “highly sexualized,” with very “few shots” of the women’s faces and high-cut swimsuits that “were more exposing” than most.
“Even taking into account the nature of the product, we considered that it had been presented in an overly sexualized way that objectified women,” the ASA said.
“We concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offense and therefore breached the code.”
It ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form.
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