A Weighty Decision…ASA dismisses complaints about a taxi advert noting an overweight lady as unattractive

Posted: 8 April, 2015 in ASA Advert Censor
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Read more ASA Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

west quay cars advert A poster for a taxi company, distributed to various venues around Southampton and Eastleigh, featured an image of a woman making a suggestive gesture. Text stated IF I START TO LOOK SEXY BOOK A TAXI . Smaller text stated Don’t make bad decisions because you have had one too many! Don’t drive under the influence, book a taxi with us .

Two complainants, who considered the ad was sexist and also portrayed the woman as unattractive because of her size, challenged whether the ad was offensive.

Asa Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted that the implied message of the ad was that the woman depicted would normally be considered to be unattractive and acknowledged that that was likely to be distasteful to some audiences. However, we considered that the emphasis of the image was on the unusual pose and styling of the woman featured, who was depicted wearing colourful and clashing clothes and large jewellery and accessories, and that the overall impression of the ad was that, owing to those factors, the particular, fictional, woman shown was not conventionally sexy , rather than that her weight rendered her unattractive. We also considered that the light-hearted intent of the ad was clear and that it would not generally be understood as an objectification of women, either in its intent or its result. Because we were satisfied that it would not generally be perceived as sexist, or as discriminatory on weight-related issues, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

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