Australian cosmetics brand Etto has had two of its adverts banned following concerns around their sexual content and nature.
Ad Standards found that the ads, spruiking the company’s Pure Oil Spray hand cleaner, breached section 2.2 and 2.4 of the Australian Association of National Advertisers’ code of conduct.
The above advert breached section 2.2, saying the ad employed sexual appeal “in a manner which is exploitative or degrading.”
The complaints about the ad said that it is “oppressive” and it “conjures thoughts of pornography and bestiality. The image harks back to the 1970s and earlier. Has there been no progression in the advertising industry on the portrayal of women.”
Another complaint said that:
“In the context of the tagline, and that the product is to relieve pain, the clear implication of the image is that the Aboriginal woman is being sexually assaulted by a crocodile. I’m unclear as to whether they think this is amusing but no matter, I find it incredibly offensive that this company thinks sexual assault is a fun way to promote their product. That the woman is Aboriginal is icing on the cake. Aboriginal people are greatly
underrepresented in mainstream media so to see one used in this way is disgusting.”
Etto, meanwhile, maintained that the ad was not only tasteful but that the complaints themselves were offensive in nature.
“Our tagline ‘Australia can be a dangerous place’ and the use of a crocodile pool toy was used in the manner of self-deprecating humour.
We find some of the complaints about the model in the ad, Billie, are quite offensive. Here is a beautiful, Australian woman and some of the complaints are suggesting we shouldn’t have used her because she is indigenous.
“Billie, as a consenting adult, gave her permission to use these photographs and also loves these images herself. They are in no way exploitative. We don’t believe the image is degrading. As a company led by women, we find the image celebratory of natural female beauty.”
However, Ad Standards found that the ad did breach Section 2.2 of the Code.
The second ad, below, broke Section 2.4 of the Code after not treating sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity.
A complaint about the ads said the viewer objected to “seeing young people in sexually provocative situations to sell a product.”
However, Etto said it did not believe the photo to be “sexual in nature,” that “no private parts of their bodies are visible,” the models were “both wearing underwear (similar to swimwear worn at a public beach)” and are even in a relationship.
“We see in this image a protectiveness by the male, empowerment of the woman and an element of tenderness and trust. We fail to see how the female and male forms in their natural state, modestly and thoughtfully covered, need to be seen as sexual, provocative, or pornographic. Is Botticelli’s Birth of Venus offensive? Or just a beautiful description of the female body? Is the statue of David offensive? Or an admired depiction of the male body? We had one reader who saw the ad and likened it to a depiction of Adam and Eve,” the company added.
Ad Standards’ panel disagreed and said that the ad did contain sexuality, nudity and was largely inappropriate.
Etto accepted both determinations and discontinued the ads in The Good Weekend magazine, though both are still visible on social media.