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Swedish wrath over 'naked shocker' advert

The Local · 4 Jan 2013, 17:21

Published: 04 Jan 2013 17:21 GMT+01:00

“I only need my mobile!” naked staff profess in a Christmas advert that set of an avalanche of sexism complaints about the company Seamless to Sweden’s Advertising Ombudsman (Reklamombudsmannen, RO).

In December 2012, a third of all complaints sent in to Sweden’s Advertising Ombudsman (Reklamombudsmannen, RO) concerned the advertisements from e-money firm Seamless.

The full page ads appeared in the Aftonbladet tabloid in the run up to Christmas.

“We nicknamed it the ‘naked shocker’ in the office and we’re proud of the campaign,” Seamless CEO Olivera Andersson told media magazine Resumé on Thursday.

She said they were expecting public reactions to female staff members of all ages stripping down for the risqué pictures.

"But after all, we are born naked."

It was not only members of the public who saw red, tech columnist Peter Esse wrote that he was so annoyed at the marketing ploy that he would never use the company's mobile-payment services again.

"Why are they showing naked women instead of showing us what service the company offers?" he wrote in the online magazine Allt om Mac.

"And seemingly, they don't have a lot of faith in their coworkers competencies, as they're instead showing their bodies in full-page adverts."

The nature of the complaints to the advertising watchdog mostly echoed his concerns.

“The majority of the complains considered the adverts to be discriminatory to women,” ombudsman spokeswoman Elisabeth Trotzig told Resumé.

Story continues below…

The campaign was designed in-house, rather than by a second-party PR agency.

The company now has two weeks to respond to the complaints in a formal letter to RO, which will then decide on a plan of action.

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Your comments about this article

21:08 January 4, 2013 by johan rebel
Of course it is discriminatory to women, 'cause most don¨t have what it takes to pose naked. That no doubt includes 100% of the complainants. They probably don't even have a sex liife, which leaves the with plenty of time to whinge, whine and complain about non-issues like this one. They are also playing directly into the hands of the advertiser, who is getting a lot of free publicity.
22:17 January 4, 2013 by newsjerseyballs
First of all, it ain't sexist and anyone who takes these morons seriously needs some sense beaten into them. Second, I watched Family Guy tonight. Its filthy, its hysterical and its on TV every night for several hours. So what's the point of this ombudsman? Sounds like some panty waist who needs a proctologist more than a government paycheck. I'm starting a company myself and if this advertising has these people crazy I'll have them jumping off buildings with what I've got in my drawers. Pure raunch and I'll be laughing all the way to the bank with the free publicity. I got your sexism....right heeeeeay.
14:03 January 5, 2013 by krrodman
If the purpose of an advertisement is to bring attention to the product, then this is an extraordinarily successful advertising campaign.

16:09 January 5, 2013 by Voiceout
Nude photos of women brings vulnerability of women's safety in sweden. Already there are alarming news about the sexual harrassment that some women citizens face. Moreover , there are ethics and culture in a company. Nudity is not a favourable decent culture except it is vulgar. Why should the company opt for a vulgar advertisement to endorse the goodness of its product. If the product is really good , it gets good sale . Captivating customers by its shocking nude advertisements shows the cheap work culture of this company.
16:46 January 5, 2013 by Mxzf
Since the campaign also contains "naked" (nothing is actually showing, as usual) men, I doubt it can be considered discriminating. Except if the men showed nipples and the girls didn't, I suppose (but then, in which direction?).
21:05 January 5, 2013 by rramirez
The "third of all complaints" could reflect four of twelve complaints for all we know, with the ombudsman using distorted statistics to deceptively justify its own existence. Let's be honest, there is no general "wrath" in response to this ad.

This advertising ombudsman is completely obsolete and pointless. In a world so full of messages via so many media, the idea of focusing on traditional media and further the advertising within that traditional media ignores 99% of everything going on. All this ombudsman does is give free publicity to anyone that the ombudsman goes after. As advertisers seek publicity, the ombudsman is actually encouraging the precise behavior it is trying to discourage. It should be done away with for the sake of those it is trying to protect in order to prevent people like #2 from using this silly position as a means of generating free publicity.
23:57 January 5, 2013 by Eric1
So funny to read how Swedes think Americans are so prudish. Then they are shocked with these so called nude advertisement. Shockingly funny.
08:56 January 7, 2013 by EP
The Swedes are so prudish and boring. In most other western countries no one would bat an eye at this. Go after something that matters not a crappy advert.
10:14 January 7, 2013 by fikatid
They are making a mountain out of a molehill. Oh please, don't they like to complain. To make it even, they can have both semi-naked women and men in the ad then.
17:40 January 7, 2013 by zat_xela
Excellent. I'm sure these women were not forced to do this ad. For an in-house campaign to get international attention like this...well done! No such thing as bad publicity.
18:14 January 7, 2013 by Nvd
I am happy that they got the publicity. Yay.
18:49 January 8, 2013 by wxman
They are all beautiful normal women, with all the normal differences that will never allow them to be high priced models. Yet, they are the natural beauties we are surrounded with in our every day lives. We are fortunate to see them in these photos being natural, beautiful everyday women looking outstandingly seductive.
14:21 January 12, 2013 by Michael A. Lowry
What interests me is how quick people are to insist that their objections are not about the nakedness per se, but about the way in which nakedness is used to objectify women. Oddly, they do not complain about similar ads involving men. Nor do they realize that they are contributing to an atmosphere of sensationalism that they themselves often acknowledge is harmful.

More of my thoughts on this can be found on my blog:

21:41 January 20, 2013 by Johannesson
I dislike this not because of sexism, but because it is un-Swedish. The soul of Swedish people is lagom; it is to be appropriate, use discretion, and not cause a stir. This advert was deliberately controversial and thus contrary to our cultural identity.
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