Sexism, plastic surgery pressure, strip clubs and other reasons to boycott Ultra Tune

[UPDATE] Ad Standards dismiss complaints about Ultratune ad

Ultra Tune has launched its latest "unexpected situations" TV ad. The ad, a knock-off of 1990’s action drama “Baywatch," opens with Warwick Capper ogling Pamela Anderson who starred in the series from 1992-1997.

This is the latest in a long series of Ultra Tune ads routinely depicting women as vacuous, incompetent and sexually objectified for men’s entertainment.

To coincide with the launch of the ad, Collective Shout revisits some of the many reasons to boycott Ultra Tune.

Breach of the franchising code and consumer law

In September 2019 Ultra Tune was ordered to pay $2 million dollars in penalties and publish a corrective notice for breaching the franchising code of conduct.

From the ACCC website:

“Ultra Tune had failed to ensure its marketing fund statements contained sufficient detail to provide meaningful information to franchisees about its expenditures, in breach of the Franchising Code of Conduct.

The Full Federal Court found that there was insufficient detail in Ultra Tune’s marketing fund statements. The Court held that “there is no meaningful information" in simply stating that funds had been spent on television advertising, and that there were obvious details including where ads had aired that should have been provided to franchisees.” 

Read: Full Federal Court confirms franchisor obligations in Ultra Tune appeal decision

Sexual exploitation

In 2014 Ultra Tune produced a BDSM themed television ad for car tyres, depicting two rubber-clad dominatrix women brandishing whips and feigning sexual arousal as they caress car tyres. 

Pop-up website ads featured the same women alongside sleazy slogans like “you’re looking hot and bothered” and “we’re into rubber now.” Ultra Tune referred to the women as “the rubber girls.” 

Sexist attitudes towards women

A recurring theme in Ultra Tune's advertising is use of the “bimbo” stereotype. Women are shown as incompetent drivers struggling with the basics of operating a motor vehicle and needing rescue by male Ultra Tune mechanics and celebrities. 

Vilifying women

A 2016 ad depicting two women staring blankly at an oncoming train after breaking down on railway tracks was found to be in breach of the ad standards code of conduct.

The Ad Standards Panel found:

“The women are depicted as unintelligent in the way in which they sit passively, with blank faces, in the car on the train tracks and also in the way they appear to not notice the oncoming train. This behaviour, in the Board’s view, makes the women appear unintelligent and presents them in a stereotypical helpless female situation.

In the Board’s view, the depiction of the women’s reaction to their situation is a negative depiction of women and does amount to vilification of women.”

Hiring perpetrators of sexual assault and domestic violence to front ad campaigns

Ultra Tune has a pattern of hiring known perpetrators of sexual assault and domestic violence such as Mike Tyson and Charlie Sheen to act as “rescuer” for young women caught in “unexpected situations” 

When questioned by 3AW's Neil Mitchell about the appropriateness of hiring Tyson - a convicted rapist - to be the face of Ultra Tune, Buckley said the company had "forgiven" Tyson for the "transgression."

Buckley also forgave Sheen for his two decades long pattern of violence against women. Easy enough for Buckley to do when he is not the one who has been shot, punched in the head for refusing sex, had his face smashed against a marble floor and been on the receiving end of Sheen’s death threats. 

Buckley has stated that women are not Ultra Tune's "target audience" and has shown contempt for any women who object to their advertising

In a Mumbrella article about Ultra Tune's 2017 tv ads, Buckley has said “Women can jump up and down all they want, but they’re not our target audience.”

In relation to an advertisement showing women spraying each others breasts with a fire extinguisher while the camera pans up and down their bodies, Buckley disparaged complainants as a “vocal minority” of “middle-aged feminists after equality.” 

Ultra Tune reportedly recruits women for their advertising from a strip club called the "Toybox" owned by CEO Sean Buckley

Former Ultra Tune ad “Rubber girl” Jasmin Rainbow has claimed that Buckley has "a really negative outlook towards women” and said “The first thing he did when he hired me from a strip club – like he hires all his girls – was tell me my tits were too small.”

See: Trial by Kyle: Ultra Tune boss defends ads, but admits he met ‘Rubber Girl’ in a strip club

Another Toybox employee made similar claims about Buckley in court:

NRA directors Jimmy Seoud and Mr Buckley, whose Ultra Tune empire includes 300 franchises, both attended the appeal on Wednesday.

Their affidavits and those of Toybox manager Tarra Mann plus affidavits of three dancers, all disputed Ms Baxter’s claims at the first QCAT hearing when she alleged:

- the $14,000 boob job was a gift from Mr Buckley;

- she had been tricked into signing the loan agreement after given cocaine and booze while on shift at Toybox;

- That despite already having breast surgery, Mr Buckley wanted her to get the second boob job so the could be in the Ultra Tune TV ad with Charlie Sheen.

See: Stripper ordered to repay expensive boob job 

Don't expect ethical conduct from Ultra Tune - boycott them

Click here to make a complaint to Ad Standards about Ultra Tune's latest TV commercial

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