Malaysia Airlines’ budget airline, Firefly, has copped a bit of flak over its recent marketing stunt, which used the rear ends of women in tight skirts to promote its discounted flights.
The campaign, which has since been pulled from circulation, snuck through the marketing department to crop up on International Women’s Day, and frankly hasn’t been met with the loudest of applause.
— malaysiakini.com (@malaysiakini) March 14, 2016
The senior advocacy officer for Women’s Centre for Change, a women’s group based in Panang, Melissa Mohd Akhir, claims the ads were not exactly what women want to see in an ad campaign.
“It is clear objectification when the image featured had zoomed in presumably on the buttocks of Firefly’s own women employees in order to sell discounted tickets,” Akhir told Malay Mail Online.
“In featuring this tawdry advertisement, Firefly … are effectively saying that women are mere objects for ‘sale’.”
Firefly has apologised for the controversial campaign, saying it was not the airline’s intention to “be discriminatory” or to cause “offence”.
But the ad has stirred up quite the shitstorm, with one Facebook user, Adriene Leong, commenting, “For the record, the two ads were not just discriminatory. That’s putting it in general and imprecise terms”.
“The two ads objectified women, especially Firefly’s own female flight attendants, by zeroing in on their bottoms; and they encouraged sexual harassment (‘Come grab it real fast’).”
Others soon jumped in on the debate.
“Firefly really needs new strategic communication department,” another user wrote.
Facebook user Adriel Denys called the ad “inappropriate and demeaning”, while The Malaysian Feminist Facebook page added, “Firefly still not getting it. The ads were offensive not because they were discriminatory but because they objectified women and encouraged sexual harassment of their crew members.”
Firefly, don’t you think this is inappropriate? pic.twitter.com/FTUiu3jO80
— misshka (@misshka) March 7, 2016
As a result of the campaign, Malaysian MP Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff is now demanding the country’s ministry for women, family and community development put a stop to any advertisement that features women’s body parts.
Per news.com.au, she said Firefly’s ad “exploits women”.
“We hope the ministry stops all these, restricts and bans all forms of advertisements which exploits women in any way, regardless even if the ad features a women’s legs, or faces which makes us feel as if women are trade tool in our country,” she said.