‘Overtly sexual’ Playboy ad banned

An “overtly sexual” outdoor ad for the Playboy TV phone-in channel has been banned by the advertising watchdog, which said it was likely to cause “serious and widespread offence”.

Playboy TV lorry ASA
Playboy lorry ad banned by the ASA.

The ad, which wrapped around a lorry, featured several scantily clad females – including woman dressed as a police woman; a woman in stockings, a latex bodice and high heels leaning backwards against a chair with her eyes closed and a woman biting her finger.

It raised a complaint that the images were unsuitable for display on an outdoor mobile advertising platform due to the “overtly sexual” nature of the women’s poses and attire.

Playboy TV said it has had “considerable” experience in complying with television content regulations and that it understood what is regarded as “generally accepted standards”.

It added that it believed the images were “cheeky” rather than sexual and that there was not any descriptive text that brought undue attention to the nature of the service. The company also believed the images were less sexual than ads from other brands featuring women in lingerie or other states of undress on billboards or bus stops.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) disagreed with Playboy’s assertion that its ad was not sexually provocative.

In particular it noted that the woman wearing the police uniform showed a “significant” amount of cleavage, which was pushed up to accentuate her breasts and that the woman leaning backwards against a chair was holding a sexual pose and wearing clothing often associated with “sexually charged encounters”. The watchdog added the use of the text “RE-TUNE YOUR FREEVIEW BOX TO GET US!” implied the women’s “sexual availability”.

The ASA said the ads had the potential to be seen by a large number of people – including children – because they were displayed on an untargeted mobile medium, which was “irresponsible” and had the potential to cause widespread offence.

It ruled that the ads must not appear again outdoor. It warned Playboy TV to ensure future campaigns are suitably targeted and to exercise caution if preparing ads for outdoor media again.

Playboy TV lorry ASA
The reverse of the ad, banned by the ASA.

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