A home improvement firm has been slapped down by the ad watchdog over an online campaign promoting its new bathrooms which featured a “sexually provocative” image of a naked woman holding her breasts and exposing her behind.
The ads, for Pontypridd-based HDS Builders, drove consumers to a ‘virtual tour’ but one consumer was less than impressed, and challenged whether the image of the naked woman in the ads was offensive and unsuitable for display in an untargeted medium.
In response to the Advertising Standards Authority inquiry, the firm defended the image – which viewers could zoom in and out of – saying nobody takes a “shower with their clothes on”.
However, they did agree that some might not find the image “acceptable” but argued that “no intimate body parts were visible”.
But the ASA ruled the image of the woman with one arm raised, her back arched and one foot on tip-toe was “sexually provocative” and was likely to “demean women”.
The ASA said its “sexually suggestive tone” was enhanced as consumers were able to “freeze the image, zoom in and out and change the angle”.
It added: “We acknowledged that someone using a shower would be naked, but considered that it was not essential to use such an image in order to explain how a shower worked or to highlight a bathroom installation.
“Although the image had some relevancy to a bathroom and shower, we nonetheless considered it was likely to be seen as sexist and to demean women by using their physical features for no other reason than to draw attention to the advertising.”
The regulator warned HDS Builders not to use similar images in its advertising in future.
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