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Issues attracting complaint

Discrimination or vilification

(Section 2.1, AANA Code of Ethics) Section 2.1 is a broad category which includes discrimination or vilification on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, disability and age. The issue of discrimination and vilification accounted for 20.6 per cent of complaints, up one per cent from 2010, with objectification of women continuing to dominate complaints about discrimination or vilification. Discrimination against women Most complaints under section 2.1 of the Code relate to the manner in which women are presented in advertisements. In several cases the Board considered the issue of advertisers depicting women in a manner which discriminates against or vilifies them. The Board has noted on many occasions that the Code does not prohibit the use of images of attractive women in advertising – and does not prohibit the use of attractive women in advertisements for products for which it is arguable that the image of a woman is irrelevant. For example, describing women as ‘hotties’ will not necessarily amount to discrimination (Nandos 0251/11). The issue of discrimination is often linked with sexualised images and while an advertisement may not amount to discrimination against women it can end up being considered not to treat sex with sensitivity to the relevant audience.

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A Supre campaign (0145/11) during 2011 attracted considerable controversy – with one image used in a variety of media. In this campaign the image of concern was that of a young woman wearing a pair of ‘jeggings’ with no top on. The Board considered that as the product advertised is jeggings it is entirely reasonable to expect the advertiser to use their product in the advertisement and that the advertisement did not objectify women. The various images used on the internet (0184/11), on television 0183/11 (where the young woman was depicted wearing a top as well as the jeggings), on a bus (0145/11) and on store signage (0152/11) were all considered acceptable as images which did not discriminate against women. The issue of women being used as a sexual object is not seen favourably by the Board. In General Pants Co (0150/11) the Board considered the image was objectifying as it depicted a woman with her clothing being removed by someone else and showed the word sex above her head. This image positions the woman as a passive sexual object. The Board considered that this advertisement was demeaning to women. Generally, advertisers should ensure that women are not presented as objects and it is preferable that women are not shown as headless bodies. In Emerald Star (0274/11) the depiction of a woman from the rear with no face visible was determined to be objectifying and discriminatory even though the advertised service is a strip club. By contrast, in Jersey Shore (0210/11), the advertisement featured only the torso of a woman in a bikini holding

on to the neck ties of the bikini to hold it up. The woman’s face is visible only from the mouth down. In this case the Board noted that the advertisement depicts the woman without a head and that this can be an indication that the image is objectifying. In addition, the Board noted that the advertisement is predominantly the image of a woman’s breasts and torso. The Board noted that the woman is wearing a bikini and that the setting of the advertisement is at the beach and relates to a program which is set at the beach. The Board considered that the image of the woman was relevant to the program advertised and was clearly linked to that program. On this basis the Board determined that, while some people would consider the image objectifying of women, the Board considered that most members of the public would consider that the advertisement does not depict material that discriminates against or vilifies a section of society. However images of women without heads will generally breach the code. Images accompanied by text The text or voiceover in an advertisement can turn a suitable image of a woman into an overall impression of a discriminatory or demeaning depiction of women. In Aussie Boat Loans (0517/10) the advertisement comprised the image of a woman posed in a bikini, without a head or any identity, and that the text accompanying the image suggests that a boat loan should be as good as a woman’s body. In this context the Board considered that the advertisement as a whole objectifies women to the point that the advertisement does discriminate against women.

Review of Operations 2011

Advertising Standards Bureau - Review of Operations 2011  

The Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) administers Australia's national system of self‐regulation in relation to both public and competitor...

Advertising Standards Bureau - Review of Operations 2011  

The Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) administers Australia's national system of self‐regulation in relation to both public and competitor...

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