“Honey Birdette continue to breach the code and get away with it”: Ad Standards failings exposed in Australian media

Days after we exposed sex store Honey Birdette’s 74th advertising ethics violation, our campaign on the failures of ad industry self-regulation has attracted national media attention.

As published in the Herald Sun

A feminist organisation waging war against a prominent Australian lingerie chain claims the country’s advertising watchdog is powerless to temper the raunchy and at times outrageous shopfronts and ads of Honey Birdette, which has now breached ad standards more than 70 times.

Honey Birdette has provocative shop fronts in Westfield and other major shopping centres throughout the state, that have caused public uproar in the past.

Collective Shout — which has strongly opposed Honey Birdette’s sexualised advertising for years — says the Playboy-owned store was found in breach of the Australian Association of National Advertisers code of ethics for the 74th time this month, most recently for its porn themed window displays.

“Honey Birdette has drawn significant criticism for p*rnified ads depicting BDSM, upskirting, choking, orgies, and for displaying visible genitals. We have highlighted the company’s fetishising of female flight attendants, female athletes and lesbians,” a Collective Shout spokesperson said.

“Advertising in Australia is industry self-regulated. The code of ethics is voluntary — advertisers are not obligated to comply with rulings. Ad Standards has no powers of enforcement and there are no penalties for noncompliance which means serial offenders like Honey Birdette continue to breach the code and get away with it,” they said.


Collective Shout campaigns manager Caitlin Roper said in 13 years, nothing had changed.

“We have decades of research documenting how s*xualised and objectifying representations of women contribute to men’s violence against women,” she said.

“We are in the midst of a national epidemic of violence against women, yet Honey Birdette delivers up one ad after another portraying women as things existing for men’s s*xual use.

“Ad industry self-regulation has facilitated this. We need a complete overhaul of the system.”


The most complained about ad was a billboard promoting an adult content creator’s OnlyFans page. Savannah, known as WC Savage, paid for a giant billboard in Perth, featuring her in a bikini and included the OnlyFans logo and a QR code. It received 350 complaints. (Read about our campaign here.)

Honey Birdette’s latest violation was also reported by the Sydney Morning Herald:

The latest series of indiscretions, which were described by one complainant as “straight-up porn” related, as usual, to Honey Birdette’s advertising in its dozens of shopping centre storefronts around the country, where families have no control over children’s exposure to the sexualised images.

Over the years, complaints against the chain – which is touted for sale by its owner, Playboy parent company PLBY – have been upheld over videos played on screens in display windows showing BDSM, upskirting, choking and orgies, but Honey Birdette has developed a simple but effective technique for dealing with the regulator’s rulings.

It mostly just ignores them. Rarely engages in the process, seldom responds to calls or letters and doesn’t remove or modify offending content.

The regulator is powerless to do anything else because the industry-funded body has no legislative power or any real official standing under the “self-regulation” model.

We hope that national media attention highlighting the many failures of ad industry self-regulation puts more pressure on the Government to implement a new system of ad regulation – one that actually works.

See also:

32 Reasons Why Ad Industry Self-Regulation is a Disaster

Media Release: Shopping centre sex store Honey Birdette hits 74th advertising violation

Add your comment

  • Caitlin Roper
    published this page in News 2024-04-25 18:30:51 +1000

You can defend their right to childhood

A world free of sexploitation is possible!

Fuel the Movement