The UK Advertising Standards Authority has partially upheld a complaint against Britvic for the advertising of its Club Orange soft drink, which features scantily clad women inviting men to admire their “bits”.
The Cinema Advertising Association (CAA) acknowledged the apparent sexism of the ad, but concluded that it was exaggerated to such an extent that it would not be taken seriously, and was likely to be considered satirical of ad campaigns that objectified women in the past, such as the Wonderbra advertisements of the 1990s.
However, the CAA did consider that younger viewers might take it at face value, and therefore approved it for screening with films carrying 15 or 18 ratings. Britvic said that the ad was intended as “a humorous, tongue-in-cheek way of highlighting the product's attributes”.
The ASA received two complaints about the ads – one who saw the ad before a 9.30pm screening of the 15-rated Prometheus, who said the ad was “offensive and irresponsible, because it was sexist, objectified women and reinforced chauvinistic stereotypes to impressionable young people of how women should portray themselves.”
This was not upheld, largely because of the CAA’s prior approval of the ad for screening with 15-rated films.
'Not likely to cause widespread offence'
“We acknowledged that the ad featured a lot of women in bikinis or short dresses inviting men to contemplate their "bits" and that therefore in some respects the ad did reflect sexist attitudes. However, we considered that it was clear the scenario was fantastical in nature, because of the setting and context, and that it would not encourage young women to conform to the stereotype it portrayed,” the ASA said in its ruling.
“Whilst we accepted that some people might interpret it as objectifying women and that it would not appeal to all tastes, we considered that the average viewer would recognise the ad as an over-the-top satirical spoof and that therefore it was not likely to cause serious or widespread offence to audiences aged 15 or over.”
Inappropriate for children
A second complaint, which was upheld, was from someone who had seen the ad before a 12A-rated screening of a Batman film. The complainant questioned “whether the ad was irresponsible and inappropriate for children”.
Britvic said the screening of the ad with the 12A-rated film was due to a technical error, and it had no intention of using the ad again.
The ASA concluded: “We understood that the ad was no longer being shown and that the CAA had taken corrective measures to ensure ads were always shown alongside films with the correct rating. We therefore considered that no further action was necessary.”