Ad Standards Board gives green light to sexualised KissKill ad

The Board noted that in order to be in breach of this section of the Code the image would need to use sexual appeal in a manner that is both exploitative and degrading.

The Board noted the advertised product is lingerie and considered that the pose of the woman is not necessary to promote the product and in the Board’s view this depiction of a woman bending slightly to look in a mirror so that her bottom is towards the viewer is exploitative.

The Board noted that the woman in the advertisement is viewed from behind as she leans in towards a mirror on a dressing table and considered that while only the bottom half of her head is visible in the Board’s view the focus is on the lingerie and the overall image is not degrading to this, or any other, woman.

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The Board noted the complainant’s concern that that the level of nudity is not appropriate. The Board noted that the style of lingerie worn by the woman means that most of her buttocks are uncovered and her nipples are exposed. The Board noted the advertiser had covered the image of the woman’s nipples with black crosses so they are not visible and a minority of the Board considered that although the nipples are obscured in their view the level of nudity is explicit and the depiction of a woman’s naked bottom bending over is sexualised and is not appropriate regardless of the advertised product.

The majority of the Board however noted that while the level of nudity is greater than that normally associated with lingerie advertising the Board considered that this type of lingerie is legally allowed to be advertised and in the Board’s view the placement on the advertiser’s own Instagram page means the relevant audience would be adults who are seeking out this product and not the general community. The Board noted that the woman’s inter-gluteal cleavage is visible but considered that this level of nudity is relevant in the context of the advertised product and is not so explicit as to be inappropriate for the relevant audience.

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  • commented 2017-02-09 14:27:32 +1100
    Hi Jorge,

    I just wanted to contribute my two bobs’ worth. For me, this ad, and others like it, are exploitative in the sense that its creators aim to gain an advantage at the cost of the dignity of the human person depicted. The woman in the ad is positioned in such a way that she is denied humanity – not even her face is visible. Instead, her ‘parts’ are emphasised. She becomes an object of desire and is denied agency. While some may not find this problematic – ‘So what if you can’t see her face?’ – the research shows that it is. Once an individual is denied personhood, they are at risk of having violence perpetrated against them. Some might say, ‘But it’s just an ad.’ And they would be right. It is an ad. But, like any text to which we are exposed, it is not benign. It contributes to a culture in which women are systematically undervalued and taken advantage of, many by their male counterparts, by reinforcing the time old construct that women are sex objects. So not only is the woman in the ad exploited, however willing she may have been to partake in the shoot and the industry itself, but so are women the world over.

    I thought your sentiment that “Once men and women have access to jobs and advertising involving nudity or to images incorporating nudity, the horse has well and truly bolted,” was interesting, but the truth is that children are exposed to ads such as these. And they are impressionable – heck, so too are we as adults. The evidence pointing to the harms of children being exposed to pornographic images, which I dare say this is, is mounting. Children, now more than ever before, are being victimised by their peers.

    And, at any rate, I prefer not to see fellow women, fellow people, being depicted in a way that strips away their clothes and, with them, their dignity. Ads such as these promote exhibitionism and voyeurism. Being ogled at is humiliating. Seeing other women being ogled at is infuriating. And the empty rhetoric that “owning one’s sexuality is empowering” is gut-wrenching. Hugh Heffner, and every person who has helped create the raunch culture that permeates every aspect of our lives, is clever. Very clever. They have convinced women to do exactly what men want them to do and they’ve called this empowerment. I am generalising here of course, but that is the general trend. I hope this helps.
  • commented 2017-02-09 13:50:25 +1100
    I’ve looked at the picture, read the comments and would appreciate some help to see how others see it as exploitative. I ask this because although there is obviously a sensual element, even “sexual” overtones, isn’t that what lingerie is all about? (I must declare, I have no idea where this ad was or who could access it.)

    To me the women isn’t posing in a sexually provocative or degrading way – of course I say this as a man… I must also ad that although the women is crtainly very attractive and sensual, I personally don’t find the image erotic. But then I’m not 16 anymore.

    The only thing I would admit is that it certainly is not representative of the average female, but then how many bodies in advertising fit that criterion?

    I believe there is a deeper issue here, and that is whether, this side of heaven, any level of nudity is not going to be erotic to someone somewhere and therefore potentially exploitative.

    Finally, the home is where the education and morals and values are formed. Once men and women have access to jobs and advertising involving nudity or to images incorporating nudity, the horse has well and truly bolted. Does it mean we should accept the status quo? Certainly Not! But it may provide a better target to aim our campaign.

    Just my quick thoughts on the subject. Happy for feedback.

    By the way thank you for standing in the gap.
  • commented 2017-02-02 15:30:10 +1100
    “Infuriating” certainly is one word for it, but I have to admit that it’s not the first one that came to mind.
  • commented 2017-02-02 00:16:47 +1100
    When I read the complainants complaint and the Ad Boards response I was reminded of the little boys comment in “The Emperors New Clothes”. While everyone (in the story) is being politically correct, a little boy yells out, “But the Emperor has no clothes”. Looking forward to interviewing Melinda Tankard Reist.
  • commented 2017-02-01 13:33:54 +1100
    This is infuriating. “This type of lingerie is legally allowed?” What type of lingerie or clothing is not legally allowed? Is this really the standard here??
  • @CollectiveShout tweeted this page. 2017-02-01 11:41:06 +1100

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