In previous years, sex shop Honey Birdette Christmas shopfront ad campaigns have typically featured Santa Claus. One depicted the beloved children’s icon on his back being straddled by a lingerie-clad model, another with him tugging at a model’s underwear, and another BDSM-themed scenario shows Santa bound and gagged alongside a model in red lingerie.
It’s safe to say that our expectations for 2018 were low.
Honey Birdette lived up to their reputation for sexually exploiting women this Christmas. Highly sexualised images of women were accompanied by demeaning slogans and sleazy double entendres such as “Fill my stocking”, “Hurry down my chimney”, “Take a Ride”, ”Unwrap me” and more. These sexualised images partnered with degrading slogans position women as existing for men’s sexual use.
"Take the reins"
Ad Standards considered complaints against three of these images- “Leave Santa a treat”, “Unwrap me” and “Take a ride”, with complaints against the first dismissed, and the second and third upheld.
Honey Birdette claimed to be "astounded" that complaints against 'Take a ride' were upheld:
"Our very commercial photography does not objectify our model in any way, shape or form. The tag line ‘Take a Ride’ is a nod to the classic Christmas carols that reference taking a ride in a sleigh seeing as though the model is quite clearly sitting in a sleigh. If someone perceives this tag line as meaning to ‘ride’ the model, then that is their personal interpretation."
Nobody is buying it, Honey Birdette.