An advertiser's own website and Facebook page.
a. The advertiser's own website www.belgraviacarwash.com featured five images of two women wearing bikinis posed on or against a car. One image showed both women washing a car with soapy water, three images showed one of the women squeezing a sponge of soapy water over themselves and one image showed one woman washing the other woman with a soapy sponge.
b. The Facebook page featured the same collection of images as its cover photo.
The complainant, who believed the images were sexist and degrading to women, challenged whether the ad was offensive.
Belgravia Auto Valet Ltd did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.
The ASA was concerned with Belgravia Auto Valet Ltd's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 1.7 Any unreasonable delay in responding to the ASA's enquiries will normally be considered a breach of the Code. (Unreasonable delay).
We noted that the images showed the women were posed in bikinis, lying back or leaning against the car, with their buttocks directed at the camera or against the car, holding soapy sponges, which they were using to wash each other, themselves or the car, with soapy water on their bodies. We considered the images were sexually suggestive and the use of the models had no relevance to the advertised service and was, therefore, demeaning to women. Because the images were sexist and degrading to women, we concluded the ads were likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule
Marketing communications must not contain anything that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care must be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. Compliance will be judged on the context, medium, audience, product and prevailing standards.
Marketing communications may be distasteful without necessarily breaching this rule. Marketers are urged to consider public sensitivities before using potentially offensive material.
The fact that a product is offensive to some people is not grounds for finding a marketing communication in breach of the Code. (Harm and Offence).
The ad must not appear in its current form. We told Belgravia Auto Valet Ltd to ensure future marketing communications were not likely to cause serious or widespread offence. We referred the matter to CAP's Compliance team.