An ad for last minute booking website, lastminute.com.au, has been cleared by the Ad Standards Board, after it found it did not, in fact, breach any of the codes complaints claim it did.
The ad depicts a couple who, upon discovering they’re childless for the weekend, book a spontaneous getaway to the fictitious accomodation, ‘The Stables Guesthouse’.
Throughout their process of booking, travelling to, and arriving at the accommodation, the couple’s excitement builds, amplified by humorous “ooooooo” squeals from the couple.
The end scene shows the husband dressed as a horse and the wife dressed as an equestrian rider. She cracks a riding crop in her hand and he canters and walks like a proud dressage horse, his “oooooohs” turning into “neighs”.
You can watch it here:
Complaints included the likes of, “Is before 9 pm, I think advertising of last minute travel website is inappropriate for this time of the day, I think fetish advertising is little bit too much”.
Other complaints objected to the “promotion / allusion of kinky sex” and claims it’s just “some advertising guru pushing their own agenda”.
Ad Standards disagreed, stating the ad was not in breach of any sex, nudity, violence or health and safety concerns.
“While the Advertisement contains a sexual role-play reference in its final scene, the Advertisement does not employ sexual appeal in a manner which is both exploitative and degrading of any individual or group of people,” it stated.
“It is apparent at all times that the characters were both in control of their decision to book their weekend away in order to engage in their escapist fantasy and that their shared excitement was mounting throughout the Advertisement.
“Further, the costumes and props are carefully used so that the effect of the role-play scene in the Advertisement is suggestive rather than explicit: There is no suggestion of a threatening or predatory behaviour, or anything else that would objectify or demean the characters.
“In our view, the use of the suggestive role-play scene is relevant to the accommodation booking services on lastminute.com.au as it enables people to act spontaneously to book a dream weekend away.”