A magazine ad for Triuk bicycle frames, seen in Cycling Plus, stated It all starts with great bodywork and featured an image of a bicycle frame and a naked woman. The woman held one arm up over behind her head, while the other covered her breasts. The text TRIUK covered her from the navel down.
A complainant, who believed that the image was sexist and degrading to women, challenged whether it was offensive.
Triuk said, whilst they were concerned that someone had found their ad offensive, they believed that the ad was not degrading or sexist in any way. They said the ad was a piece of artwork with a friendly tongue-in-cheek caption and had intended to be eye-catching and show the aesthetic features of the bicycle frame. They also said, because 45,000 issues of the magazine that contained the ad had been sent out and Cycling Plus had not received any complaints, and because the use of the female form in the cycling industry was commonplace, they believed that the ad was acceptable.
Cycling Plus said their magazine was read predominantly by men in their 30s to 50s and did not believe that the ad was offensive.
ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld
The ASA noted the ad featured an image of a naked woman and that, although the image was not sexually explicit, it had sexual connotations. We also noted that it bore no relevance to the advertised product and that the text It all starts with great bodywork likened the aesthetic qualities of the woman to those of the product. We therefore considered that, in this context, the image was likely to cause serious offence to some readers of Cycling Plus and concluded that it breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).