Outdoor campaign goes tits up for grass company

Great Grass AdAn outdoor campaign which featured a close-up image of a woman in a bra to promote artificial grass products , under the strapline “real or fake” – that was claimed to be “tasteful and humourous” – has been banned by the ad watchdog for objectifying women.
The campaign, by artificial lawn specialist Great Grass MCR, sparked just a single complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority. But the company pleaded innocence, maintaining it contained its usual ad slogan and took into account the need to have impact but not cause offence.
Great Grass said the ad had not been placed near a school or church or in a residential area and believed 8,000 vehicles per day used the junction where the ad was sited, resulting in around one million views.
Vision Advertising, the site owner, made similar comments to Great Grass. It added that the poster had been placed on one site only and had been there for over three months. It believed it was noteworthy that the ASA had received only one complaint.
These arguments carried little truck with the watchdog, however, which considered that the close up image of a woman in a bra bore no relevance to the product being advertised, and that a link between real and fake breasts, and real and fake grass, was not one that consumers would normally make.
Although conceding the image was not sexually explicit, the ASA considered that the use of it alongside an image of an area of grass, where consumers were asked the question “real or fake?”, had the effect of demeaning and objectifying women by using their physical features to draw attention to the ad.
Banning the ad, the ASA concluded that it was likely to cause serious offence to some consumers. It also warned Great Grass to ensure that future ads did not portray women in a manner that objectified them and which was likely to cause widespread or serious offence.

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