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

Media Release

Shopping centre sex stores Honey Birdette hits 74th advertising violation

Playboy-owned sex shop Honey Birdette has been found in breach of the Australian Association of National Advertisers code of ethics for the 74th time. The latest Ad Standards rulings related to three p*rn themed window displays. 

Since 2010, Ad Standards has investigated over 160 complaints about Honey Birdette promotions, upholding complaints against 74* – three in the last month alone. Two separate ads were deemed to have a “high level of nudity” and found in breach of Section 2.4 of the Code.

Honey Birdette has drawn significant criticism for pornified 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.

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 non-compliance which means serial offenders like Honey Birdette continue to breach the code and get away with it. See 32 Reasons Why Ad Industry Self-Regulation is a Disaster. 

The company continues to broadcast porn and BDSM-themed advertising to an all-ages audience with no consequences.

A petition initiated by Melbourne father of three Kenneth Thor calling on Honey Birdette's landlords to stop the company's porn-themed window displays has attracted almost 79,000 signatures. 

Collective Shout Campaigns Manager Caitlin Roper said in 13 years, nothing had changed.

“We have decades of research documenting how sexualised 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 sexual use.

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

* By Ad Standards' count, there are 70 violations. Our count is 74, which is more accurate given Ad Standards sometimes considers multiple ads in a single case report. 

Tuesday 23 April, 2024

Contact: Caitlin Roper, [email protected]

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