Advert provokes storm in a Y-front

A STORM has broken out over an advertisement for Scotland's unofficial national drink, Irn-Bru, which shows a woman nibbling at a pair of Y-fronts.

Women's groups say the television advert, the latest in a bizarre series from the fizzy-drink company, is demeaning. It follows another campaign showing an English country gentleman beside his two labradors saying: "I love my Irn-Bru and so do my bitches." Despite complaints about the poster, the Advertising Standards Authority backed Irn-Bru, accepting the argument that the poster was based on the absurdity of such a man using black American slang.

The latest film shows a woman being hypnotised by a psychotherapist. He steals her Irn-Bru and, after drinking it, tells her: "Oh, but you are still a goat." In the last scene, she is seen acting like a goat, nibbling the underpants on a washing line. Gerry Farrell, creative director at Leith Agency, which designed the campaign, said: "This has nothing to with gender. It is part of our theme of demonstrating that people will do anything to drink an Irn-Bru. There is no sexual innuendo. There is clearly nothing inside the Y- fronts. There is more innuendo in a Flake advert.

"The woman is merely doing what goats do - nibbling the washing. Our target audience is 12 and 13-year-olds. This is absurd humour aimed at making people laugh. It is only offensive to those very few women who may suffer delusions that they are goats."

But Lesley Irving, of Scottish Women's Aid, said: "It is not particularly helpful for women to be portrayed as animals, particularly these days, when we are trying to promote equality."

Mr Farrell said that the advertisement had been passed as suitable by the Broadcasting Advertising Clearance Centre. He said the surreal portrayal of women would continue in the new campaign, which is less Scottish than the old "made from girders" ads and aims to appeal more to consumers south of the Border.