Westfield-based sex shop chain racks up 50th violation
"It was sexually suggestive and I could see her vagina."
Still taken from video of Honey Birdette's shop front ad
So begins Ad Standards’ latest case report documenting its review of complaints against yet another Honey Birdette ad. The video ad for ‘Daisy’ featured a woman wearing white lace lingerie, panning from her upper body to her lower body, following her hands as she runs them down her body.
Another complainant condemned the display of explicit imagery in the public realm:
"Nobody should be subjected to [sexualised] images in public spaces. Particularly not visible genitalia."
While it is good to have a ruling in our favour against the ‘Daisy' ad, it highlights the impotence of the self-regulated advertising complaints system. Shortly before Ad Standards ruled against the Daisy ad, it had released another ruling – upholding complaints against a BDSM-themed choking video. "Daisy" was the ad that Honey Birdette chose to replace the choking video with.
Both rulings were made weeks after the ads were shown on-loop in shop windows in ‘family-friendly’ malls across the country. The rulings came too late, long after the damage was done. What is the point of Ad Standards when rulings come so late and there are no penalties for non-compliance?
Back-to-back breaches: #honeybirdette simply swapped its violating BDSM-choking vid for its porn-themed labia vid. This is how the ad industry aids recalcitrance- issuing untimely rulings which carry no penalties. @Ad_Standards @AANA_says @ICASglobal https://t.co/oJlw3PP84m— Collective Shout (@CollectiveShout) July 22, 2021
And what porn-inspired window displays will replace the vagina video? The Ad Standards Panel acknowledged in its report that ‘most members of the community would consider the depiction of visible genitals to be unnecessary and inappropriate for an advertisement in a public shopping centre’.
So why are members of the community continually forced to see these depictions? How many more larger-than-life labias will we have to complain about to Ad Standards? Another 50? What then?
There are now 50 documented cases of Honey Birdette’s ad industry code violations for sexist, degrading, objectifying, porn themed and even explicit ads which disempower women and girls.
Number 50 - a violating ad which replaced another violating ad - is a stark reminder that when it comes to repeat offenders like Honey Birdette, Ad Standards can’t protect members of the community. Ad Standards can't do its job.