How Long Will Adland Tolerate Large Breasts In Campaigns?

How Long Will Adland Tolerate Large Breasts In Campaigns?
SHARE
THIS



In The Thicket managing director, Stephan Renard, says too many brands get the idea of “sexy” and “sexism” mixed-up in their brand message. And, in this opinion piece, he argues it will be to a brand’s detriment for those who continue to deliver the wrong message.

The last few weeks as I’ve ridden my motorbike to work in Sydney I’ve regularly got stuck behind a bus sporting the latest campaign for the Bavarian Bier Cafe. And each time I’m transfixed, but not on what the ad wants me to be. Quite the opposite, actually – I’m perplexed by the proclamation that this is the modern woman, like: ‘We’ve taken this Bavarian woman, and modernised her. You can tell because she now wears a push-up bra and you can see her bellybutton.” Is this the modern woman we want to advertise to the modern man?


Why do brands still over-sexualise woman, and why do we still accept it, when gender equity is on the agenda of most businesses and governments around the world; it’s part of their values and commitment.

More than 971 business leaders around the world have demonstrated leadership on gender equality through the Women’s Empowerment Principles. The Westpac website states gender equity “is not about ideology, numbers or political correctness – this is a serious economic and business opportunity”.

Looking inward, it’s working. Among Fortune 500 companies, firms with the highest representation of women board directors outperformed those with the least.
Looking outward, it makes sense. Women are the largest emerging market in the world. Over the next decade, they will wield enormous influence over politics, sport, business and society. By the year 2028, women will control close to 75 per cent of discretionary spending worldwide. Women own about a third of all businesses in the world, and nearly half of those businesses are in developing markets.

So with women the largest growing market, if it’s important for business, shouldn’t it be for brands? Brands are owned by businesses. And yet some businesses persist with a skewed representation of the modern woman.

I appreciate the Bavarian Bier Café ad targets men, but how about the recent UK campaign by Protein World, a dietary supplement who targeted British women in the lead up to Summer by asking “Are you Beach Body Ready?” with an image of a skinny, bikini-clad model. Many women were offended.

London citizens quickly graffiti-ed them with body-positive messages while an online petition to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the company was “directly targeting individuals, aiming to make them feel physically inferior to the unrealistic body image of the bronzed model, in order to sell their product.”

The ad was eventually banned in the UK by the ASA, despite its intended short run which cost of £250,000. It felt like a pretty big misstep by the company. However, Protein World claims the backlash added to the direct sales of revenue by around £1m, according to Business Insider.

But that’s not the end. In New York’s Time Square the company erected the same billboard banking on a similar result, with a rollout across public transport to come. Richard Stavely, the company’s marketing chief told Adweek: “It’s a big middle finger to everybody who bothered to sign that stupid petition in the UK. You could say that the London protesters helped pay for the New York campaign.”

Such blatant insulting first, and then trolling of its intended market seems at odds with marketing in general. And yet it worked because on a base level it was saying ‘you need this.’ We might hope that a female CMO wouldn’t let that campaign through… but the numbers seem to stack up.

According to behavioural scientist Adam Ferrier, in developing markets such as China, India and Indonesia “brands still play an aspirational role”.

These three nations are the first, second and fourth most populated countries in the world, yet according to the World Economic Forum, China is rated 87th, Indonesia is 97th and India is 114th on the recently released 2014 Gender Gap Report that measures gender-based disparity.

Unfortunately, The World Economic Forum suggests we’ll have to wait 80 years for gender parity in the workplace worldwide. Does that mean 80 more years of aspirational advertising?

I’m not suggesting the Protein World model is perfect, or for that matter anyone less toned to be imperfect, but hopefully we continue to reflect reality, the unbiased and imperfect in our advertising, with equality in our representation of the genders, rather than with the aspirational, sexist and tired approach.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Designworks facebook awards Mark Pejic

Latest News

Verizon Media Academy Ends For 2021 With Youth Charity Pitch-Off
  • Advertising
  • Media

Verizon Media Academy Ends For 2021 With Youth Charity Pitch-Off

Verizon Media’s talent program has come to an end for the third year, closing with a hybrid pitch-off event for Musicians Making A Difference (MMAD). The Verizon Media Academy class of 2021, made up of 44 emerging leaders from across Australia and New Zealand media, advertising and marketing industry, were given just one hour to […]

Industry’s Gamers Unite For UnLtd’s Virtual Rocket League Comp
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Industry’s Gamers Unite For UnLtd’s Virtual Rocket League Comp

Social purpose organisation UnLtd’s Big Games competition has raised a combined $85,000 for children and young people at risk. Running over five weeks, the competition involved 32 teams from across the advertising, marketing and media industries battling it out virtually for a chance to qualify for the Rocket League final. The tournament culminated in a […]

Sam Worthington And Phoebe Tonkin To Star In New Stan Original Film ‘Transfusion’
  • Media

Sam Worthington And Phoebe Tonkin To Star In New Stan Original Film ‘Transfusion’

Stan has announced that the Stan Original Film Transfusion commenced filming in Sydney earlier this week and will premiere on Stan in 2022. Transfusion is a taut, muscular thriller starring Sam Worthington (Avatar) as Ryan Logan, a former Special Forces operative, who is battling to cope with life after the loss of his wife and is thrust […]

COVID-19 Saw Stock Imagery Return To Harmful Gender Stereotypes
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

COVID-19 Saw Stock Imagery Return To Harmful Gender Stereotypes

According to a decade of data collected by iStock, Australian brands turned to imagery depicting outdated gender stereotypes during the pandemic. Tracking the keyword ‘women’, iStock by Getty Images found that in 2020, ANZ brands and businesses reverted to gender stereotypes. Images of mothers home-schooling were used at almost twice the rate of images of […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Maddison Connaughton Ends Time As Editor Of The Saturday Paper
  • Media

Maddison Connaughton Ends Time As Editor Of The Saturday Paper

Schwartz Media is congratulating Maddison Connaughton on her three years as editor of The Saturday Paper. Connaughton has decided to finish up her editorship this month. “It’s been an honour to edit the paper,” Connaughton said. “The Saturday Paper is one of the brightest voices in Australian media and I have been happy to see […]

Teenage boy wearing headphones works at desk in his bedroom
  • Media

New Research Names Olivia Rodrigo And BTS The Most Popular Study Music

Research from EdBbirdie using Spotify data has identified the most popular songs to study to. After analysing thousands of studying and homework playlists on Spotify, American singer Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘drivers license’ came out as top song to study to. It featured on 48 study playlists, while other top songs included ‘Ophelia’ by The Lumineers, ‘Falling’ […]

Happy woman drinking tea and waving to someone while having video call over desktop PC in the evening at home.
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

Building A Successful Remote Marketing Team

Dayna Stewart is the Business Director – Digital Marketing, Media & Creative Services at The Nudge Group. Here, she discusses the challenges that come with building a successful marketing team when working remotely. Before COVID-19 changed the way businesses work, most marketing teams spent their days together in a meeting room collaborating on the next […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Australia’s The Kid LAROI Joins Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Olivia Rodrigo And More In iHeartRadio Festival Line-Up
  • Media

Australia’s The Kid LAROI Joins Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Olivia Rodrigo And More In iHeartRadio Festival Line-Up

The line-up for the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Festival has been announced as the legendary event returns live in Las Vegas in September. This year, the epic two-day lineup for the iHeartRadio Music Festival main stage will feature performances by Billie Eilish, Cheap Trick, Coldplay, Dua Lipa, Florida Georgia Line, Journey, Khalid, Lil Baby, Maroon 5, Nelly, […]

Shop! ANZ Calls On Industry To Participate In ANZ Shopper And Retail Marketing Industry Survey
  • Marketing

Shop! ANZ Calls On Industry To Participate In ANZ Shopper And Retail Marketing Industry Survey

Shop! ANZ is calling on shopper and retail marketing professionals from all retail related disciplines to participate in the first ANZ Shopper and Retail Marketing Industry Survey in four years. This important research provides a guide of where the retail marketing industry in Australia and New Zealand has come from and what is anticipated to […]