Inconsistent rulings show ad industry self-regulation failure
In dismissing one of the complaints, (Case Report 0222/19) Ad Standards claimed:
The Panel noted the complainant’s concern that the sheer underwear draws attention to the woman’s genitals and the sexualised image is unsuitable for public display.
The Panel noted the advertiser’s response that although this is a mesh set there are no genitals on display at all as they have been photoshopped out.
Further contradictory comments from July 2019 Ad Standards case reports include:
“…the woman was posed wearing lingerie and considered that such a pose and such attire was not in itself a depiction of sexual intercourse or sexually stimulating or suggestive behaviour. The Panel considered that the advertisement did not contain sex.”
“…the image references sexual matters as it is a promotion for a store that sells lingerie in a wide variety of styles and that the image of the woman posed in a manner that suggests she is showing off the lingerie is a depiction of the woman expressing her sexuality.”
“…the sexualised nature of the product itself may not be considered appropriate to be advertised in public facing areas by some people shopping in the centre, including those with young children, however in this instance the Panel considered that there was no sexual messaging or themes in the advertisement which would make it confronting for these audiences.
“…young children would be unlikely to view this advertisement as sexually suggestive, and the most likely interpretation by this audience would be of a woman posing in underwear that is available for sale in the store.”
“the advertisement was sexually suggestive due only to the nature of the product, but not highly sexually suggestive…”
In November 2018 complaints against a similar advertisement (with sheer fabric exposing the models pubic mound) were UPHELD, which is just one more example of arbitrary and inconsistent determinations from Ad Standards.
The Panel noted the underwear on the model, and considered that while the woman’s breasts are well covered, the sheer material of the bottom half of the bodysuit is transparent and the woman’s pubic mound is clearly visible. Case report here