Builders merchants are not exactly known for their subtle advertising but a campaign for T Brewer & Co which featured every builder’s seemingly ideal model – a woman wearing short shorts and a cropped T-shirt – has been cleared, despite the ad watchdog conceding some people would find the ads distasteful.
The first poster stated “Timber drive thru you order we load” and featured the model pouting, and holding a tape measure and notepad. A second execution stated “Cutting service while you wait” showed the same model holding a beam of wood. Meanwhile the third poster featured a map which indicated the store locations, with the model shown smiling and holding a power tool.
However, they were all a bit too much for one member of the public who challenged whether the ads were offensive, because they were sexist and objectified women.
In response, T Brewer & Co said the posters had been in place for three years or more and they had not received a single complaint during that time. It stated that many people commented the ads were more cheerful than the mundane ads which previously appeared on those billboards and believed the ads communicated to their customers that it was a business which did not take itself too seriously, but also reinforced the fact that it provided an excellent service.
Insisting that the firm felt it had produced a series of billboards that were inoffensive and while being playful, they were not overt in any way.
In its ruling, the Advertising Standards Authority admitted the use of the woman in the ads bore no relevance to the products or the services advertised and we acknowledged that some people would find the ads distasteful and the woman’s poses appeared to be suggestive.
However, it noted the ads were no more than mildly sexual in nature and did not contain any form of nudity. Furthermore, we did not consider that the woman was portrayed as a sexual object in the ads and that any innuendo that existed in the ads was subtle.
For those reasons, it threw out the complaint and concluded that the ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
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