The Advertising Standards Authority ruled the “blatant” comparison between a girl posing in a “provocative” way and a food product was likely to cause “serious offence” to some visitors to the site. The spot was one of a series on the brand’s Facebook page for its Piri Piri Pot flavour.
Brand-owner Unilever claimed the content’s tone was appropriate for the target audience (18-24 year olds), arguing the term “hottie” is a popular term for an attractive person of either gender among this demographic demographic.
In response to the ruling, a Unilever spokeswoman, says: “Whilst we’re disappointed with the adjudication we respect the ASA decision and will not run the advert again in its current form.”
Separate complaints about two other Facebook ads were rejected, however. One, a video ad featuring the strapline “peel the top off a hottie” (see video below) depicted a Pot Noodle eating man dreaming of dancing with a pole dancing woman before she removed her top. The ASA, however, ruled the female character “was not presented in a sexist or degrading way”.