A toothpaste advert that featured a naked model next to a pile of onions has been banned for “objectifying” women.
The black and white image, seemingly of a woman wearing only a pair of strappy heels, pictured her reclining in a chair with one leg placed on top of a table and the other on the ground.
A cluster of onions were placed on the table beside the model, whose buttocks and groin area were obscured by the arm of the chair.
She could be seen holding a tube of the product for BOCA organic toothpastes.
Two people complained to watchdogs about the advert, which featured in the Raconteur supplement included in The Times newspaper.
A subsequent investigation ruled that it was “voyeurisitic” and breached rules regarding “harm and offence".
Sussex-based Croftscope Ltd, the makers of the toothpaste, said the model was not naked and claimed that, for some people, there was a “fine line between sexual objectification and the expression of sensuality”.
Raconteur Media Ltd stated that they did not believe that the image of the woman in the ad was “overtly sexual” as she was “mostly obscured” by the chair in the image, with only one leg being visible.
But the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned it and warned BOCA to ensure future advertising doesn't “objectify” women.
“We noted that the image in the ad showed only parts of the model's body, including the lower parts of her breasts, her stomach, and her bare legs," an ASA spokesman said.
”We noted that her buttocks and groin area had been obscured by the arm of the chair, and her head, the top parts of the arms and torso, including her nipples, were out of the frame and therefore were not visible.
“We noted BOCA's comments that the model in the ad was not naked and acknowledged that the ad did not include explicit nudity. However, we considered that the way in which the model was depicted gave the impression that the model was fully nude.”
The advertising watchdog said it considered that the pose of the model, particularly given that she was shown as reclining with her parted legs facing an open window, was "sexually provocative", giving the ad a "voyeuristic feel".
“Furthermore, because the model's face was not shown, we considered that the visible parts of her torso, including her lower portion of her breasts, and the lower half of her body became the visual emphasis of the ad, which was likely to draw readers' attention,” the spokesman said.
”We also considered that the nudity and the pose of the model, and the provocative nature of the ad, bore no relevance to the product. Because the ad placed visual emphasis on the model's body in a sexualised manner and such nudity was unrelated to the product, we considered that the ad objectified the model depicted and invited readers to view her body as a sexual object."
For those reasons, the watchdog considered that the ad was likely to cause "serious or widespread offence” and urged that the image “must not appear again in its current form”.
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