News UK has avoided a ban on three ads which promoted The Sun’s Cleavage Week, despite a complaint from campaign group Object, which believed that the ads were offensive and promoted the objectification of women.
The ads promoted a competition which invited readers to submit an image of their cleavage for the chance to win £1,000 and a photoshoot. The first ad appeared on a double-page spread with a number of images of celebrities in underwear or clothing that accentuated their breasts. Text at the top of the page stated “Join The Sun Cleavage Week and you could win £1,000” and a headline in the middle stated “Bust in Britain.”
In the ad, each celebrity image featured their name, age and bra size, and encouraged readers to “take a snap of yourself in an outfit that best shows off your bust. Then visit the website address below for details of how to submit your picture”.
Others ran under the headlines of “Guess the celebrity pairs”, and “Well, they said Page 3 was history”. Object did what it said on the tin and objected to the Advertising Standards Authority.
In response, News UK maintained the campaign was an editorial piece inspired by the “contemporaneous annual cleavage day” held in South Africa and was not within the remit of the ASA. As such it insisted it did not fall under the ASA’s remit because it was journalism and not a promotion.
The company also refuted claims that it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence or that it objectified women, adding that it had been designed by a woman for women only and was intended to be light-hearted fun. Over 200 readers had entered, while the following week, it ran a similar campaign for men called “six-pack week”.
And while the ASA disagreed with News UK’s assertion that it did not fall within its remit – it was a sales promotion, after all – it agreed that that the ads did not feature nudity and were not overtly sexual, and considered the tone was light-hearted.
While it acknowledged that some consumers might find the concept of a competition inviting women to submit pictures of their cleavages distasteful or offensive, it concluded that the ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to the audience targeted and cleared them for future use.
To leave a comment please register – it takes less than a minute and is free of charge. You will also get our weekly email update The DM Report (to opt out contact email@example.com). If you are an existing user, please log in. If you have forgotten your log-in details please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get them reset!