Honey Birdette says "In your face" to Ad Standards (and kids)

Collective Shout call for financial penalties for repeat offenders

Honey Birdette are no stranger to the Advertising Standards Board. The sex shop which masquerades as a high end lingerie store in major shopping centres across Australia have repeatedly breached the advertising codes showing little regard for the self regulated system currently operating in Australia. 

We've been writing about Honey Birdette's porn themed advertising since 2011. 

In May this year the advertising standards board upheld complaints about Honey Birdette's front window posters. 


"The Board considered that the image is quite explicit in terms of nudity and has a strong impression of two women in sexually provocative underwear and this context is accentuated by the text that accompanies."

"The majority of the Board considered that this image differs to the first one as the close up on the woman’s face and the text ‘introducing Natalie’ is a stronger impression that the advertisement is referencing the woman and not the lingerie. The majority of the Board considered that this advertisement presents the woman, due to the accompanying text, as the product and that this is of itself debasing and degrading. In the majority’s view this advertisement breached Section 2.2." 

"The Board determined that both versions of the advertisement did breach Section 2.4 of the Code."

THE ADVERTISER'S RESPONSE TO DETERMINATION: "All signage has been changed to SALE due to timing." (Surprise, surprise! Self regulation at it's finest). Advertisers typically rotate signage in shop front windows so by the time the Advertising Standards Board has come to a decision the damage to the community has already been done and the advertisers are off the hook. 

Now Honey Birdette has come out with this. 


Whilst Honey Birdette would claim their images are "empowering women" we cannot ignore two decades of research which says:

"Sexually objectifying portrayals of women are a frequent occurrence in mainstream media, raising questions about the potential impact of exposure to this content on others’ impressions of women and on women’s views of themselves."

"A total of 109 publications that contained 135 studies were reviewed. The findings provided consistent evidence that both laboratory exposure and regular, everyday exposure to this content are directly associated with a range of consequences, including higher levels of body dissatisfaction, greater self-objectification, greater support of sexist beliefs and of adversarial sexual beliefs, and greater tolerance of sexual violence toward women. Moreover, experimental exposure to this content leads both women and men to have a diminished view of women’s competence, morality, and humanity." 

In January this year after the Advertising Standards Board upheld complaints against Honey Birdette's Christmas windows (weeks after Christmas was over) for breaching Sections 2.3 and 2.4 of the Code, their response on social media was to say "Nobody tells Honey B when to take down her signage". 

Honey Birdette can skirt around the self regulated advertising industry as there are no consequences for non-compliance. Honey Birdette's latest advertising is an "in your face" to the Advertising Standards Board not to mention also in the face of the children that pass by in the shopping centres. 

Consequences for Wicked campers

After the recent intervention by Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath there are now consequences for the non-compliance of another repeat offender Wicked Campers. If they fail to remove advertising that is in breach of the advertising code their vehicles can be deregistered. 

We believe there should be financial penalties for companies that are repeat offenders.

The Advertising Standards Board claim that self regulation is working. But this latest example of Honey Birdette shows that clearly it is not.

Only this week an article was published by three academics highlighting flaws in the current code for not including sexism. 

When will Honey Birdette be held accountable? What will it take for them to stop pushing hyper sexualised and pornified images onto families who are just popping down to do the grocery shopping? 

If determinations from the Ads Standards Board won't stop them then maybe it is time that there were financial penalties for companies that are non compliant. Honey Birdette clearly don't care about the community but maybe they would care if it hurt their hip pocket. 

If you have seen a Honey Birdette ad that is in breach of the code lodge a complaint here

Sign the petition here

Read the history of Honey Birdette here

25 Reasons Why Ad Industry Self-Regulation is a Disaster

Sexualised ads are harming kids

20 years of research on how sexually objectifying portrayals of women in advertising are harmful. 

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