Letting agent advertising featuring a saucy photo of a topless woman hiding her breasts under an arm draped across her chest was branded as sexist and ordered not to be shown again by advertising watchdogs.
A complaint was made about the photo published by Bournemouth letting agent Aquisitive to the Advertising Standards Authority.
The image was accompanied by a slogan stating: “Landlords would you like your property to get this level of exposure? Call XXXX XXXXX”.
The complainer argued the advert was offensive because of the way it displayed the woman.
Aquisitive told the ASA that the image was selected by a panel of women staff and was designed to be tongue-in-cheek.
“The humour was asking if landlords were achieving the market exposure that they wanted,” said the firm.
“The image was a tasteful shot of a beautiful woman in a coy type of pose. Her exposure was obvious, but not of an offensive nature. We are unsure as to how else the ‘exposure’ simile could have been achieved in another way which would have been simply understood.”
The ASA upheld the complaint on the grounds the advert could cause serious offence over the way the woman was displayed and banned the firm from showing the image again.
“We acknowledge the ad did not feature explicit nudity, and we considered the woman’s pose was only mildly sexually suggestive,” said the ASA ruling.
“While we noted Aquisitive’s view that they had used tongue-in-cheek humour to link the text to the woman’s nudity, we considered that by using an image of a nude woman to draw attention to the ad, and inviting consumers to view her image solely from the perspective of her level of ‘exposure’, the image objectified women.
“We noted, furthermore, that the image bore no relevance to the service offered by the advertiser. We concluded the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and therefore breached the advertising code.”