An online advert for a London car wash which showed young bikini-clad women pouring soapy water over themselves has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) – after receiving just one complaint.
The agency decided this morning that the advert by Belgravia Auto Valet was “sexist” and “offensive”, adding the images were “sexually suggestive.”
In its ruling, the ASA said: “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 and must not appear in its current form.”
Although Belgravia Auto Valet has been told to ensure their future marketing communications do not cause serious or widespread offence, the company’s manager, Jacques Moses, has said: “I can't really see any problem with it at all, really. Most of my clients are women and they love the advert. They find it funny.
“It’s not as sexist as it has been described. I don’t see the point of how it’s offensive.
“At the end of the day, sex appeal sells and all we had was soap and water to work with – we wanted to make it more appealing. We're all adults.“
The ASA said it was “concerned with Belgravia's lack of response and apparent disregard for the code.”
Only a month ago, another advert for a protein powder – which showed a woman in a bikini alongside the catch-line ‘Are you beach body ready?’ – was banned after appearing on the London Underground.
Feminists and body-image campaigners began a change.org petition which garnered more than 70,000 signatures.
The company's head of marketing, Richard Staveley, then appeared on Good Morning Britain to defend his company's advert and found himself challenged by host Susanna Reid: