A banner ad for Pump n Ride inner tubes, on a website for bicycle accessories on 15 March 2011, featured an image of a woman wearing a black leather cap and studded leather bra, holding a length of rubber tubing. Text stated She might go down on you …, followed by an arrow pointing at the woman. Further text stated These won’t!, followed by an arrow pointing at a box of Pump n Ride inner tubes.
A complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because she believed it was sexist and objectified women.
ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld
The ASA considered that the image of the woman in the ad, and the text She might go down on you … was clearly intended as a sexual innuendo, implying that the woman may be willing to engage in oral sex. We considered that the ad objectified women and we noted FatSpanner’s comment that a large proportion of its business came from women. Although in itself not normally an issue, we also noted that the image bore no relation to the product being advertised. We considered the unrelated sexual imagery had the potential to exacerbate any offence caused. We therefore concluded that the ad, which objectified women through sexual imagery and innuendo in a manner unrelated to the product advertised, was likely to cause serious or widespread offence when published on a website which attracted a large proportion of female consumers.
The ad breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).