Cross'em off your Xmas list 2012

[UPDATE] Spotlight new addition to list for Playboy bed linen

You're about to be bombarded. Bombarded with junk mail, TV, radio and outdoor advertising all competing for your Christmas dollar. Before you purchase gifts for your friends and loved ones, lets remember those brands that have excelled in sexploitation this year, the brands and companies that do not deserve your hard earned money. Cross 'em off your Xmas list!

For our third year running (see lists from 2010 and 2011) we are making it easier for you to make ethical decisions rejecting of companies which have not demonstrated corporate social responsibility.

As a first this year, we've added a positive alternative: Toward the Stars, an inspiring on-line global marketplace for products for girls. And we're hoping to be able to add our first major corporate to sign on to our Corporate Social Responsibility Pledge. (Watch this space!) Here's our list for 2012.




Craft, fabric and hobbies store Spotlight made headlines recently when customers began speaking out against its range of Playboy bed linen.

Spotlight's Facebook page received hundreds of comments from customers protesting the range.

Spotlight defended its decision to stock Playboy stating that other retailers sold the brand and they only stocked the bed linen in Double, Queen and King sizes.

Spotlight's defence of porn industry merchandise missed the point. By stocking Playboy, Spotlight is complicit in promoting the porn industry and the objectification and sexual exploitation of women and girls. Tell Spotlight what you think of their Playboy range.

City Beach


The popular youth surf store continues to push pornified products to young people. City Beach sells what we've called 'porn t-shirts' -clothing with pornified images of naked and semi naked women.

The range extends to thongs, hats and at the start of the year even pencil cases 
were available at its 'back to school' sale. We've held protests outside City Beach stores in Brisbane and Sydney.

We've taken City Beach to the Equal Opportunities Commission and yet they refuse to budge. While City Beach insist on pimping porn accessories to the youth market, you insist on taking your Christmas shopping elsewhere.



Jewellery and accessories retailer Diva began selling Playboy branded jewellery in 2011 to its target market of tween girls. (also read: The Age)

A petition through accumulated over 8000 signatures and Diva withdrew much of its Playboy advertising and stock from the shelves.  But dodgy Diva continued to sell their Playboy range from underneath the counter and stock has slowly crept back out on display in stores again over the past year. 

When challenged again, Diva defended their Playboy range as marketed to their 'mature' customers. No matter their age, girls and women deserve better than being sold the merchandise of the global sex industry - when it comes to your Christmas shopping, drop Diva. 



Lynx, men's deodorant has continued to churn out their trademark sexist ads throughout 2012.

Lynx's 'controversial' promotions - including the "Rules of Rugby"  and the 'Washes Your Balls'  promotion - are the perfect demonstration of how a company can misuse advertising industry self-regulation to its advantage. Create a 'controversial ad', wait for the complaints to roll in, cross promote with sexist 'lads mags' then cash in the dollars from the increased exposure. Lynx seems to think this manoeuvre will stop us from speaking out - it won't.

More reasons to ditch Lynx - the Mouse pad stunt, 'Scrub away the skank', Can she make you lose control. Further examples here.

And while you're boycotting Lynx, you might want to give this brand a miss too...



What? Dove? The brand that brought us the campaign for real beauty? Absolutely!

Dove is owned by Unilever, the same company who owns and markets Lynx. But the sexploitative hypocrisy  doesn't just stop there - under the Dove label, Unilever also sell a number of 'skin whitening'  products, as well as anti-cellulite, breast-firming and breast growth creams.

Making money off body dissatisfaction, sexual objectification AND positive body image campaigns? We're not buying it Unilever.



In February this year, Mossimo ran a competition asking people to upload photographs to their Facebook "peep show" campaign. Images of Australia's Miss Universe contestant in her underwear were given as examples, with the 'peep' which received the most votes winning a digital camera.

Despite the clear references to the sex industry as well as (the crime of) keyhole peeping on women, Mossimo denied any wrongdoing. The Advertising Standards Board saw it differently, upholding complaints about the campaign.  Read about the online protest (and how we won a lovely new Canon camera!) against Mossimo here. 

General Pants


We wrote about General Pants explicit, sexist, and degrading advertising campaigns last year. They have a history of sex industry inspired stunts including live pole dance shows in their shop front windows.

We have continued to hear from supporters about shop window displays and the images they display inside their change rooms. Give General Pants a miss.

The Buddy Ball


The Buddy Ball is the creation of AFL poster boy Lance "Buddy" Franklin.  

When Franklin's not busy flogging over priced footballs to youngsters, he spends his time 'co-directing' Nena &Pasadena, a line of overpriced porn-inspired shirts, popular in surf stores such as City Beach.

In the past 12 months Franklin has brought us (caution when opening links) this, this and this.

Posing as a role model for young boys, and then selling them the degradation of women to wear across their chests? We're not buying it.



Despite being aware of Lance Franklin's clothing line for almost two years, the AFL has refused to enforce their Respect and Responsibility policy and discipline Franklin.

The AFL claims to be committed to addressing sexism and violence against women, but their silence and lack of action indicate they are not serious about these issues.

Thinking of purchasing tickets, a membership or items from the AFL store? Think again.



Lovable is not so loveable following its 'Besties' campaign, which encouraged women to upload 'selfies' to its Facebook page.Jen Hawkins and fellow models, posed in their underwear, featured in the promotion.

While the terms and conditions stated that participants didn't need to upload images of themselves in underwear, the promotion sent mixed messages about cyber safety, prompting the Ad Standards Board to ban the promotion on this basis.

Of course, this is not the first time Lovable has objectified women - previous campaigns have also been so sexualised  that they've been featured in the now defunct 'FHM' magazine.



Typo's 'back to school' 2012 promotion pimped a wide range of porn-inspired travel mugs, iPod covers and notebooks to students. After parents complained and media caught on, Typo agreed to remove the 'Porn is my saviour" and  "Dirty" ranges.

While they withdrew these items,  other items, including notebooks with sexual themes intended for school, remained in stores. Typo are owned by the Cotton On group, who are serial offenders  for selling porn t-shirts and sexploitative advertising campaigns.


Repeat offenders

These are companies that appeared on last year's 'crossed off' list last and which have continued to use sexploitation throughout 2012.


Roger David for sex slavery ad campaign and t-shirts featuring images of objectified women.


Supre for its ads featuring a topless girl and sexualised clothing for girls.

Supre has been criticised for selling adult styled fashions in sizes small enough to fit children.


American Apparel for its pornography themed advertising.


Companies promoting Playboy brands

These companies continue to market the major brand of the global pornography industry, in effect normalizing the abuse and degradation of women.


Bras n things  (read more here  and here)


Adairs (read more here)

Priceline (see photo)


A positive alternative - Introducing Toward the Stars 


Created by Inês Almeida, Toward the Stars is an online market place and a safe haven from the commercialisation and sexualisation of girlhood, from the toxic gender stereotypes that dominate the marketing, media, and products targeted to children and young adults.A place full of gifts that inspire and enable girls to reach for the stars. Offering a venue that motivates and supports artists, business and craftspeople to innovate and explore new products that have the potential to change the world.

If you're looking for gift ideas that will inspire and empower girls, check out Toward the Stars.

Now over to you!

Which stores will you be avoiding this year and why? Are there alternatives to the brands we've listed above? Please join the discussion in the comments section below.

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