In previous years, sex shop Honey Birdette Christmas shopfront ad campaigns have typically featured Santa Claus. One depicted the beloved children’s icon on his back being straddled by a lingerie-clad model, another with him tugging at a model’s underwear, and another BDSM-themed scenario shows Santa bound and gagged alongside a model in red lingerie.
It’s safe to say that our expectations for 2018 were low.
Honey Birdette lived up to their reputation for sexually exploiting women this Christmas. Highly sexualised images of women were accompanied by demeaning slogans and sleazy double entendres such as “Fill my stocking”, “Hurry down my chimney”, “Take a Ride”, ”Unwrap me” and more. These sexualised images partnered with degrading slogans position women as existing for men’s sexual use.
"Take the reins"
Ad Standards considered complaints against three of these images- “Leave Santa a treat”, “Unwrap me” and “Take a ride”, with complaints against the first dismissed, and the second and third upheld.
Honey Birdette claimed to be "astounded" that complaints against 'Take a ride' were upheld:
"Our very commercial photography does not objectify our model in any way, shape or form. The tag line ‘Take a Ride’ is a nod to the classic Christmas carols that reference taking a ride in a sleigh seeing as though the model is quite clearly sitting in a sleigh. If someone perceives this tag line as meaning to ‘ride’ the model, then that is their personal interpretation."
Nobody is buying it, Honey Birdette.
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.
The Panel noted that the advertisement was in the widow of shopping centres and considered that the relevant audience for this advertisement would be broad, and include children.
The Panel considered the second image. The Panel considered that the poses of the women in this advertisement were more sexualised, with the women holding each other as though they are about to kiss. The Panel noted that the bottom of the body suite worn by the woman who was standing was extremely high-cut and exposed a large amount of the woman’s groin area. The Panel considered that this in combination with the sexualised pose of the women was a highly-sexualised image which did not treat the issue of sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant broad audience and that the advertisement did breach Section 2.4 of the Code.
Ad Industry self-regulation means they get away with it
"The advertiser has not provided a response to the Panel's determination"
Sign the petition to Westfield hereRead more
With no legislation in Western Australia forcing Wicked to comply, expect to see this van again
"This transport advertisement has a WA registration of 1DEA.616 and with text displayed on the boot stating "I'm here for the *bukakke."
*This sexually explicit term refers to a practice seen in hardcore pornography.
With no enforcement laws in place, South Australians can expect to see this van again
Wicked Camper Van with South Australian registration S 388 BSU with the words “if you want to toughen up grow a vagina - those things can really take a pounding” on the rear of the vehicle.Read more
But with no laws to enforce the ruling, South Australians can expect to see this van again
Slogan includes "I GOT A DIG BICK / YOU THAT READ WRONG / YOU READ THAT WRONG TOO." On the side of the van is a picture of a rooster and the words "MASSIVE COCK."Read more
Shoppers continue to #boycottwestfield over their lack of action regarding banned Honey Birdette posters
Guest blog post from "one angry mum"
Parenting is hard at the best of times. You want to make the right decisions for your kids so that they grow up to be well rounded, compassionate, kind human beings. You hope that you can instil in them a sense of justice, that they would change the world and make it a better place. With so many horrific stats around male violence against women in this country I see it as my duty to raise my son to respect women. To see them as fully human, rather than sexualised, objectified things. The research on this is clear on the links between objectification and violence against women.
That is why I am intentional about what we watch, what we listen to, the way I speak about others. Because although he is young, he is listening, he is watching, and he is learning. The foundation is being set on who he will be and how he behaves in the future. A simple trip to Westfield to get groceries shouldn't threaten that.
On July 20 2018 as we walked through the centre my son sat proudly in the trolley, eyes open wide at all the lights and shiny, fun things around him. And then we passed it....a huge blown up poster in the front window of Honey Birdette. This poster was far beyond the type of imagery you should expect to see in a public place frequented by children. They way the model was styled and posed was hyper-sexualised. The particular garment she was wearing was transparent. Why should my toddler be exposed to that when I'm walking through a Westfield to get groceries?
So I went home and typed up a complaint to Ad Standards. I was certain this ad could not be in line with their code of ethics. I received an email from them six days later (on the July 26) that the panel were going to consider my complaint.
On Aug 24 I finally heard back from Ad Standards. Five whole weeks after I lodged my complaint. I was pleased to read in their correspondence that that had in fact upheld my complaint.
The Panel noted that the bra the woman was wearing was sheer and considered that there was a strong suggestion that her nipple was visible. The Panel noted that the design and cut of the lingerie featured in the advertisement left a large portion of her breasts visible and that this imagery did contain a high level of nudity.
The Panel considered that the level of nudity was at the higher end of the scale and as such the image included on a poster that is visible to members of the community standing outside the business was not appropriate for the relevant broad audience which would likely include children.
The Panel determined the advertisement did not treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience and did breach Section 2.4 of the Code. Finding that the advertisement breached Section 2.4 of the Code, the Panel upheld the complaints.Read more
According to Mumbrella infamous car rental company Wicked Campers has had one of its ads banned yet again for using an “insensitive” and “inappropriate” slogan, “Girl sits on judges lap and gets a honorable [sic] discharge”.
Ad Standards said despite there being no accompanying image on the van, the tagline used was a sexual connotation and suggested a power imbalance between a judge and a girl.