Ad Standards has dismissed Australian swimwear brand Seafolly’s Own your Folly campaign ruling it was not “degrading” or “sexist”.
The ad, created by independent agency Thinkerbell, was brought to Ad Standards under the AANA Code of Ethics for allegedly being exploitative or degrading, and featuring sex, sexuality or nudity.
According to some of the complaints, the ad was deemed sexist and “improper for young girls.”
“Girls in bikinis and bathers running around in skimpy clothes and almost always not advertised for real women. Sexist and improper for young girls to assume that this is how they have to be,” read one complaint.
Another read: “In a society where sexual violence against women is prevalent, I feel as a woman and a trained counsellor that this type of material can have a significantly detrimental effect on the public especially young women, many of whom struggle with self image issues which can lead to eating disorders and a sense of low self worth and self esteem.”
Seafolly responded to the complaints by stating the ad was cast with diverse talent and did not promote the idea women needed to look a certain way.
“The TVC is targeting women age 25 – 34 years and was cast with diverse talent for body shape, skin colour, age and ethnicity. The advertisement encourages all women to have fun in their swimwear and makes a point to say that you don’t need to look a certain way to do that.”
The ad in question
The Ad Standards panel determined that the advertisement did not employ sexual appeal that was exploitative or degrading of any person or group of people and therefore did not breach the AANA Code of Ethics and dismissed the complaints.
The panel also determined the advertisement did not contain sex or nudity and treated sexuality with sensitivity to the relevant audience.
The ad was created by Thinkerbell and was rolled out across TV, cinema, retail screens, bus megasides, billboards, and YouTube. The also extended into social media.
When the ad was first rolled out, Seafolly CMO Adriane McDermott said: “We decided it was about time we invested in building a stronger brand narrative. Women today want to belong to brands that liberate them to embrace who they are and share their beliefs.
“The Own Your Folly campaign does just that, in a playful way. It allowed us to break our own rules to remind women what the benefit of great fit can do for their inner confidence.”
Thinkerbell declined B&T‘s request for comment.