Renault ad banned for objectifying women

A Renault ad featuring gyrating burlesque dancers has been banned by the ad watchdog for portraying women as sex objects.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dismissed Renault claims that a YouTube video ad featuring gyrating burlesque dancers was a humorous parody of French culture, claiming the portrayal objectified them as “sexual objects” and ordering its removal. 

The slot – called “Two Unsuspecting Guys Take the Renault Clio for a Test Drive” – featured hidden camera footage of two men taking a Renault Clio for a test drive around London when one passenger presses a “Va Va Voom” button. 

This is followed by a mock Parisian street scene moving into position in front of the car, including a number of burlesque dancers gyrationg around the vehicle (see video), with a single complainant arguing the scene objectified women. 

The ASA’s subsequent investigation dismissed Renault’s argument that the ad was only made available on YouTube in order to reach an older demographic compared to TV, and the inclusion of the burlesque dancers was a light-hearted take on French culture. 

The ASA acknowledged Renault’s argument that the female dancers were just one of a number of iconic Parisian scenes featured in the ad but argued the length of the scene, use of slow motion shots and close up the women’s breasts objectified them as sexual objects. 

The ad therefore caused “harm and offence” and must not appear again in its current form, according to the watchdog.