An ad for a gym, Fenton Fitness, seen on 26 June 2017 featured an image of a woman wearing a sports bra and pulling down her leggings to partially expose her right hip area.
The ad also featured the text “XT24 is a 24 hour gym with 24 inhouse [sic] challenges. We embrace every facet of fitness. Aesthetics and performance. If you want a squat booty, great strength or a defined mid-section, XT 24 is the place for you £30 pm basic or £40 pm including the strength & aesthetics classes …”.
The complainant objected that the ad was degrading to women.
Fenton Fitness Ltd did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.
Local Choice Magazine stated that the ad was promoting a core fitness programme and the image displayed showed a woman clothed in gym wear demonstrating the results possible from the programme.
Local Choice did not consider the ad to be any different than those featuring women on billboards promoting underwear products, fitness magazines or TV ads, all of which would be seen by adults and children in public places and at any time of day.
The ASA was concerned by Fenton Fitness’ lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
We noted that there was no explicit nudity in the image, and considered that it was reasonable to feature a model exposing suitable parts of her body for an ad promoting a core fitness training programme.
We considered that the nature of the service being promoted meant that viewers of the ad were less likely to regard it as gratuitous and degrading to women. The ad showed the model wearing a sports bra and pulling down the waistline of her leggings to partially reveal her hip area. We considered that this was to demonstrate to consumers the possibility of what could be achieved with the training classes that were being advertised, specifically a toned abdomen with a v-line. Furthermore, we did not consider that the model's facial expression was suggestive whilst she was slightly pulling down the waistline of her leggings to reveal her v-line.
Because of that, we considered that the image was not degrading to women and concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society.
(Social responsibility) and
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), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.