An outdoor poster ad for Not Just Cooling, an air conditioning company, seen in July 2019, featured a woman in denim shorts, a white T-shirt and sunglasses. Large text adjacent to the image stated, “YOUR WIFE IS HOT!” alongside the claim “Better get the air conditioning fixed”.
Twenty five complainants, who believed the ad was sexist and objectified women, challenged whether the ad was offensive and irresponsible.
Not Just Cooling Ltd said that the tagline, “YOUR WIFE IS HOT” was relevant to the nature of their business. They did not believe that the tagline was inappropriate and added that the woman was tastefully dressed. Space Outdoor stated that the ad was relevant to Not Just Cooling’s industry. They highlighted that the woman’s clothing was chosen to symbolise an individual on a hot day with a summery appearance. They added that the flame stylised text was also used to reflect temperature rather than the appearance of the woman. They did not believe the ad was sexist or that the tagline objectified women.
The ASA noted that the ad depicted a woman wearing summer clothing alongside the tagline, “YOUR WIFE IS HOT”. We acknowledged that the choice of image and tagline was broadly relevant to the advertised product which would predominately be used in summer when an individual was too hot, and therefore in need of air conditioning. Although we acknowledged that the use of the woman and tagline would be understood as a double entendre on the women being both literally hot and also attractive, we considered that it was likely to be viewed as demeaning towards women. While some consumers might appreciate that the use of the double entendre was comical in tone, we considered that the ad had the effect of objectifying women and by commenting on a woman’s physical appearance to draw attention to the ad. In light of those factors, we concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence to some consumers and was socially irresponsible.
The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Not Just Cooling Ltd to ensure their advertising was socially responsible and did not cause serious or widespread offence by objectifying women.