Ad Standards has upheld complaints over a prominent Kittens Car Wash billboard in Melbourne, where sleazy men pay women in g-string bikinis to feign interest in them wash their cars.
A complaint made to Ad Standards read as follows:
It’s sexist and degrading to women. It encourages the notion that women’s bodies are for the sexual gratification of men. It’s in a highly visible area where families with children (including myself) pass by every day. It’s also primarily there to promote the associated strip club and as such is advertising sexual services in a prominent public position. It is demeaning and overtly sexual for a company who only wash cars. The workers wear bikinis to wash your car but the billboard is also to promote the strip club also called Kittens. It is on a prominent corner of a high traffic area.
Ad Standards considered the complaint, noting that the woman’s body was being used as an object to advertise the service. The panel found that the advertisement was in breach of Section 2.2 of the code which states: “Advertising or marketing communications should not employ sexual appeal in a manner which is exploitative or degrading of any individual or group of people.”
The panel also considered the woman’s pose was “seductive and highly sexualised”, finding it was in breach of Section 2.4 of the code, which requires advertisers to treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience.
Kittens Car Wash has a long history of using sexist and sexually objectifying imagery to advertise their sexist business. The ‘Kittens School of Striptease’ bus advertisement sat on the corner of a major intersection in Melbourne in full view of traffic parked next to a bikini carwash. After Ad Standards upheld complaints against it in 2010, Kittens continued to use the same image on a number of different vehicles. Read more.
Ad Standards Board bans Kittens Carwash Striptease bus ad
Kittens Car Wash comes under fire from feminists for paying its female workers to clean vehicles wearing nothing more than bikinis and g-strings- Daily Mail
This is why we need legislation against Wicked Campers.
Ad Standards has upheld complaints against a Wicked Camper van emblazoned with the slogan “Nothing says romance like choking on a d*ck because you’re choosing his penis over air. Now that’s love.”
According to Mumbrella, complainants argued the vans were “highly inappropriate for children”, “damaging for under age children” and “vulgar”.
One complaint said: “They keep showing a disregard and just change the slogans to something else vulgar or offensive. When will people and children’s rights be protected from marketing material put out by this company. They do it with intention. That is proven.”
The Panel upheld complaints on the basis that the advertisement contained an explicit sexual reference and did not treat the issue of sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant broad audience and was therefore in breach of Section 2.4 of the code.
This slogan, however, is not merely referencing a sex act- it is trivialising an act of sexual violence against women.
To date, Ad Standards has upheld more than 80 complaints against Wicked Campers, yet Wicked Campers refuses to comply with rulings.
Tasmania, ACT and Queensland have passed laws to deregister Wicked Camper vans if they do not abide by Ad Standards rulings. Collective Shout has called on Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia to do the same.
MPs in South Australia will gather on the steps of Parliament house on Wednesday, 5th December at 9.30 am to speak about the need to take action against Wicked Campers. We encourage our South Australian supporters to attend.
Wicked Campers are notorious for their sexually explicit slogans and imagery, even advocating rape and murder. Ad Standards is powerless to enforce rulings against them, and as a result, Tasmania, ACT and Queensland have passed laws to deregister Wicked campervans that do not abide Ad Standards Rulings.
We are calling on MPs to enact similar legislation in other states, so we have written to the following ministers:
Luke Donnellan, Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Victoria
Michelle Roberts, Minister for Police and Road Safety, Western Australia
Stephan Knoll, Minister for Transport, South Australia
Melinda Pavey, Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, New South Wales
The Hon. Luke Donnellan, MP
Minister for Roads and Road Safety
Level 22 1 Spring Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
We are writing to draw your attention to the passage of legislation in two states and territories preventing the company Wicked Campers from advertising sexist, misogynistic and racist slogans and imagery on their camper vans. It is our hope that you will do what you can to ensure that Victoria follows suit.
For many years, Wicked Campers has attracted widespread criticism for its normalising of violence against women. The vehicles are notorious for their sexually explicit slogans and imagery, some advocating rape and even murder. The company has also been criticised for its anti-gay and racist slogans. Images of these vehicles can be seen at https://www.collectiveshout.org/wicked_campers.
To date, Ad Standards has upheld almost 80 complaints against the company. However, the panel has no powers of enforcement and there are no penalties for non-compliance. As a result, Wicked Campers has ignored all rulings against it. Given the advertising code is voluntary, there is nothing to stop Wicked Campers from promoting content that vilifies women.
In 2015 the company released a sarcastic media release mocking complainants, stating, “We employed a team of highly-intelligent, socially-conscious super monkeys to closely monitor the subject matter featured on our vehicles and scream loudly when offended.”
Given Wicked Campers’ refusal to comply with Ad Standards rulings and its ongoing disregard for community attitudes and research demonstrating the harms of objectified portrayals of women (J Sex Res. 2016 May-Jun; 53(4-5):560-77. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2016.1142496. Epub 2016 Mar 15.Media and Sexualization: State of Empirical Research, 1995-2015. Ward LM)) state governments must take urgent action to bring the company into line. Queensland, Tasmania and ACT have all taken legislative measures to force compliance.
In 2016 Queensland passed the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) (Offensive Advertising) Amendment Bill enabling the Department of Transport and Main Roads to cancel a vehicle's registration if the owners did not remove offending slogans within 14 days of an Ad Standards ruling.
Under the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Regulation 2000, in the ACT, the Road Transport Authority can refuse the registration of a vehicle in the ACT if it has previously been cancelled and suspended in another jurisdiction. ACT Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety, Shane Rattenbury, stated that vehicles de-registered on this basis in other states would will not be eligible for registration in the ACT.
Similarly, in 2017 a spokeswoman of the Northern Territory, Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics minister, Nicole Manison, said:
“The Northern Territory’s Motor Vehicles Act allows the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to cancel registration of vehicles which are ‘a source of annoyance to the public’, which likely includes vehicles displaying sexist, discriminatory or otherwise offensive advertising.”
In 2017 Tasmania also took action against sexually explicit and discriminating slogans and imagery featured on Wicked Campers vans in response to complaints about slogans displayed on the rental vehicles.
On behalf of our thousands of supporters, we are asking that you move to implement similar legislation. We note that Victoria has taken a strong stand to address violence against women and commend your state’s commitment to the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children. It is our strong view that moving to outlaw sexist and degrading slogans such as those features on Wicked Camper vans would further demonstrate the commitment of your government to addressing sexism in all its manifestations.
Thank you for your urgent consideration. We look forward to your response.
3 October 2018
At the time of publishing these letters, we have not had a response from any of the ministers. You can contact them on Twitter @LukeDonnellan @MelindaPaveyMP @StephanKnoll @MichelleMidland
Sign our petition: Drive Wicked Campers off the road
"We're a target;" Sex shop boss says she will ignore Ad StandardsRead more
Mike Tyson UltraTune ad was #3 most complained about ad this year, but Ad Standards dismissed complaints anyway
Ad Standards has released a blog post naming the top ten most complained about ads so far in 2018. The list includes serial sexploitation offender UltraTune (#3) and the trailer for BDSM themed film ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ (#6).
From the post:
Community concerns about sexually suggestive content in advertising headlines the top 10 list of most complained about advertisements to 30 June. Concerns about violence are also highlighted.
So far this year Ad Standards has processed over 4,000 complaints, an increase of over 1,000 compared to the same period in 2017.
UltraTune have a reputation for sexually objectifying women in their advertising, depicting them as stupid and incompetent drivers- and they did so here. According to them, the vilification and humiliation of women is hilarious. Predictably, Ad Standards found that the women’s outfits were “not overly revealing” and they are shown to be “confident and in control”, and dismissed complaints.
The commercial, featuring convicted rapist Mike Tyson, attracted a whopping 134 complaints. Despite the overwhelming number of complaints over yet another UltraTune commercial that depicted women as brainless yet sexy, Ad Standards dismissed complaints.
It is clear that Ad Standards view of “community standards” is not in line with actual community standards.
We are very pleased to report that we have successfully defended our movement against legal threats from Sexpo, with the Federal Court in Brisbane dismissing an application brought against Collective Shout by Sexpo Limited. Sexpo Limited was also ordered to pay Collective Shout’s costs.
It was in May 2017 that we were alerted to public buses servicing school routes in Perth that featured advertisements for Sexpo. The ads included the web address for one of their sponsors, a broadcaster of live streamed sex shows.
Ad Standards dismissed complaints and rejected our request for a review. Case Manager Nikki Paterson claimed that advertising live sex shows on the side of a bus was not a breach of the code. Our petition to prevent similar ads on Brisbane buses, due out the following month, attracted over 5000 signatures.
Sexpo’s lawyers threatened to sue Collective Shout for damages for “misleading and deceptive behaviour” under consumer law, citing social media posts by two staff members.
Sexpo claimed that Collective Shout was misleading because the bus ads promoting MyFreeCams.com did not share a url, and only included the words ‘My Free Cams’ with no .com to follow. They also denied that the image existed on a bus or any other physical medium. Take a look at a range of photographic evidence that proves otherwise:
In the weeks following the release of our petition, the ‘.com’ from the following billboard was blacked out:
Last month, The Honourable Justice Reeves dismissed Sexpo’s application against Collective Shout, concluding:
I do not consider Sexpo has established that it held a reasonable belief that it had suffered any harm to its commercial reputation as a consequence of Collective Shout’s alleged representations such that it may have a right to obtain relief in a claim against it. Sexpo’s application under r 7.23 must therefore be dismissed. I will order accordingly.
Justice Reeves also noted that Sexpo provided more than 500 pages of affidavit material in connection with their application, yet only three paragraphs were directly devoted to the existence of Sexpo’s belief about its right to obtain relief from Collective Shout, an argument ultimately rejected by the judge. Real the full judgment here.
The ruling against Sexpo is a significant victory- not just for Collective Shout and our supporters, but for all those who support the rights of children to live free from pornography. The sex industry in Australia has been permitted to target children with advertising for pornography and prostitution in public spaces for too long, and we are more committed than ever to stand up for the rights of children.
Ad Standards have upheld complaints against a strip club, Goldfingers Mens Club over an “unavoidable” poster on the corner of King Street and Lonsdale Street featuring a highly sexualised image of a woman with a guitar between her legs.Read more