Car parts and service chain Ultra Tune are facing a flood of complaints on social media in response to its sexist ‘We’re into rubber’ TV commercial. The BDSM themed ad for car tyres depicts two rubber-clad dominatrix women brandishing a whip and feigning sexual arousal as they caress the tyres, while a male employee smiles and nods to himself, signifying his enjoyment.
Ultra Tune’s Facebook page has become overrun with complaints by men and women who have seen the commercial, pledging to not have their car serviced at Ultra Tunes while women are depicted as “fetish objects” to sell products and services.
Ultra Tune’s sexist commercial has already made the list of Top Ten most complained about commercials this year, with at least twenty formal complaints made to the Advertising Standards Bureau for being ‘exploitative and degrading to women’, some noting the sexism already prevalent in the automotive industry, others the inappropriate time slot during ad breaks for sporting events and other seemingly family-friendly viewing times.
In typical form, the ASB dismissed complaints, ruling that rubber clad dominatrix women were "relevant" to the product being sold. (rubber tyres)
Click here to read the Advertising Standards Board Case Report
Ultra Tune defended their commercial by saying “it did not include graphic nudity” and “the women were renumerated” for their work. While we are appreciative Ultra Tune managed to promote car accessories without graphic nudity, and super impressed they paid the women for their work, this is not good enough.
Ultra Tune have a history of using sexism to promote their services, including this 2011 commercial portraying women as dumb.
One woman, Jodie Swales, saw Ultra Tune’s “revolting” ad during the Sunday afternoon football game. The very next morning she made a phone call to Richard Coppock, Ultra Tune’s National Operations Manager to tell him what she thought of the ad. He admitted they had received many complaints, claiming he would address the situation.
After weeks of silence and ignored emails and upon seeing the ad was still being shown, Jodie sat down and emailed every Ultra Tune franchise in the country to tell them how the advertising demeaned women.Here are some of the surprising responses she received back:
“I agree completely with your comments and find almost all the ads produced to be highly offensive.”
“I apologize for the ad… I have also told head office it is a terrible ad and degrading to women so I totally agree with you.”
“All franchise owners are disgusted in the ad and we have asked for the ad to be taken off air.”
“I could not agree with you more, as a Franchise owner i am appalled at the current advertising [and I] complained to Ultra tune head office on day one.”
“We are doing are best to get the ad removed!”
“Many of the franchisees feel the same way as you.”
Jodie didn’t stop there- she launched a petition on change.org calling on Richard Coppock from Ultra Tune to withdraw the sexist and demeaning ad campaign, which also featured similar images on their website.
Please sign Jodie’s petition and help us to send a message to Ultra Tune that sexism doesn’t sell.
Contact Ultra Tune on Facebook and Twitter
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It is not sexist to depict women as smart, independent or successful. That is a nonsensical argument. Ads that depict women as multi-dimensional, as human, rather than just sexy playthings for men, are the opposite of sexism. I’m not sure why anyone would be opposed to fair and respectful portrayals of women in advertising.
This is not a good campaign as you suggest, it is lazy, lacks creativity or original thought and it’s sexist. It’s worth noting also that research from the American Psychological Association found sex does not sell- advertisements that rely on sexual objectification to promote products does not translate into more sales, in fact it could even have a negative impact on sales: