Published on 15 - February - 2012
'Sexist' ad for DIY store banned by ASAA poster ad for Tottenham-based Mems DIY Ltd has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for "overtly sexual" content which "objectified women."
The ASA ordered Mems DIY to remove this advert after branding it sexist and offensive
According to the ASA, the poster featured a woman wearing a bra, denim hot pants, a tool belt and a hard hat. She was holding a hammer and with the other hand she pulled at the front of her shorts.
The image was accompanied by the text: "Mems, Always HAMMERING Down Prices."
A complaint was made to the ASA on November 7, 2011, with the complainant saying she believed the ad was overtly sexual, sexist and objectified women.
In defence, Mems DIY reportedly told ASA that 'HAMMERING down prices' was "an obvious play on the word 'hammer'" and was "intended to emphasise the fact that low prices were being offered by referring to a product" sold by them and used by their customers.
According to the advertising watchdog, Mems said that in order to reinforce the point the person in the ad was holding a hammer, and that "coincidentally" it happened to be a woman. The retailer said the choice of placing the woman next to a ladder wearing a tool belt and hard hat was to further illustrate the nature of the business.
Mems also reportedly told the ASA there was no explicit nudity and that the woman's hand was resting on her tool-belt, not her shorts.
According to the ASA, Mems DIY said it was not its intention to cause offence, but it "did not believe the ad was overtly sexual or sexist."
After deliberating the case, the ASA ruled this week that the ad must not appear again in its current form.
Its assessment stated: "The ad appeared in an untargeted medium. We noted the woman in the image was wearing a lacy bra and very short denim shorts, which she appeared to be pulling down at the front; she was also pouting.
"We disagreed that her hand was clearly resting on the tool belt. We considered the woman's pose and dress was sexually provocative and had the effect of making her appear sexually available. We also considered the text: 'HAMMERING down prices' in conjunction with the image could be interpreted as innuendo.
"Although she was holding a hammer and wearing items relating to DIY, we considered a sexually provocative image of a woman bore no relation to the product being advertised and that the ad therefore objectified the woman by portraying her as a sexual object.
"We considered the ad was overtly sexual and, because it objectified women, was also sexist. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and that it was irresponsible for such an image to appear in an untargeted medium.
"We told Mems DIY to ensure future marketing communications were prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and society and that, particularly in an untargeted medium, they did not contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence."
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