ASA wet blankets…Advert censor whinges at website for carwash showing girls in bikinis

Posted: 11 June, 2015 in ASA Advert Censor
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balgravia carwash advert Belgravia Car Wash’s own website and Facebook page.

  • a. The advertiser’s own website featured five images of two women wearing bikinis posed on or against a car. One image showed both women washing a car with soapy water, three images showed one of the women squeezing a sponge of soapy water over themselves and one image showed one woman washing the other woman with a soapy sponge.

  • b. The Facebook page featured the same collection of images as its cover photo.

A complainant, who believed the images were sexist and degrading to women, challenged whether the ad was offensive.

Belgravia Auto Valet Ltd did not respond to the ASA’s enquiries.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ASA was concerned with Belgravia Auto Valet Ltd’s lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay).

We noted that the images showed the women were posed in bikinis, lying back or leaning against the car, with their buttocks directed at the camera or against the car, holding soapy sponges, which they were using to wash each other, themselves or the car, with soapy water on their bodies. We considered the images were sexually suggestive and the use of the models had no relevance to the advertised service and was, therefore, demeaning to women. Because the images were sexist and degrading to women, we concluded the ads were likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

The ad must not appear in its current form. We told Belgravia Auto Valet Ltd to ensure future marketing communications were not likely to cause serious or widespread offence. We referred the matter to CAP’s Compliance team.


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