Australian action sports clothing company Unit has got into hot water after a print and online campaign was banned for being too sexually suggestive. A topless woman sits in a bath of milk and what appears to be Kelloggs Froot Loops cereal, wearing a Unit cap. The Advertising Standards Bureau considered and upheld two complaints about the sexualization in the ads. Nine’s A Current Affair featured the campaign extensively today, perhaps doing more to promote the brand than any media placement could.
Unit, started in Australia by brothers Ian and Paul Everest, says the image has been one of their most popular campaigns for both males and females, despite being labeled “offensive to women” by the complainant.
“We have seen over 400% sales growth in our female range of products since this ad was published,” said Unit CEO Ian Everest. “It seems our fruitloop/Miami cap advertisement has not discouraged females from purchasing our products. Almost half of our range comprises of female clothing and accessories. It is clearly not in our interest to offend/exploit half of our target market.”
Paul Everest, creator of the ad, said, “I wanted to create an artwork that was going to be eye catching, creative and edgy.” “With this particular advertising campaign our aim was to create a ‘fun’,‘quirky’ and ‘tasteful’ image designed to reflect the fun and outgoing character of our brand and target audience.”
“The complaint describes our advertisement as ‘pornographic’ and that it ‘exploits women’. These are clearly over-reactive comments ignoring the obvious intention of the advertisement. Most women we have spoken to find the ad interesting and fun and in no way sexist or degrading.”
“The model is in-fact quite covered up and I personally see far more ‘unclad’ material in print media, television and mainstream websites on a daily basis.”