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Swedish body finds 'Boxer'-clad cartoon 'offensive to men'

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 2 Feb 2011, 14:16

Published: 02 Feb 2011 14:16 GMT+01:00

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"The man is presented through his posture and lack of clothing as a mere sex object in a way that could be deemed offensive to men in general," the ombudsman wrote in a statement.

The advert, which shows the computer-generated image of Robert lying seductively on sheep skins clad only in cotton boxer shorts with an outline of his oversized sex organ clearly defined, was reported to the ombudsman by a individual.

In the report to the ombudsman the complainant argued that the "focus on the organ and its size had nothing to do with the product and even if that was the case, is no way to portray either a man or a woman".

The complaint also detailed the pressure that such a portrayal could impose on the advert's male audience.

"The figure's excessively muscular body and the large organ is a stereotype and an unrealistic depiction of a man which creates pressure for both younger and elder men."

Boxer TV-Access AB meanwhile responded that the advert, which offers a package of channels for 79 kronor ($12), was designed for an advertising competition.

The competition, Boxer cited in its defence, encouraged submitting companies to "stretch their advertising concepts to give extra clarity in illustrating the medium's visual language".

Boxer also argued that its animated caricature Robert is a well-known character having featured in the firm's advertising for over ten years and whose personality could be best described as "disarmingly sympathetic, almost overly courteous, and in some sense a pastiche of a 'geek'".

Story continues below…

But despite Boxer's insistence of the innocence of its "folksy" virtual spokesperson, the ombudsman reached the conclusion that the advert could be considered sexist and as such was in breach of Article 4 of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Consolidated Code of Advertising and Marketing Communication.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:40 February 2, 2011 by RobinHood
I was particularly offended by this poster because it's my body. When I posed for this picture, they didn't say they were going to use someone else's head. I feel used and dirty. I would have appealed to the discrimination ombudsman, but she's been sacked.

As for the "organ" I want you to know it was very cold in the studio that day. And the cow skin gave me a rash on my tush.
15:49 February 2, 2011 by Miss Kitten
They ought to be ashamed of themselves. I mean just look at the way those oversized sex organs bulge like that. Truly shameful...and filthy...

Uhh...I'll be right back..
16:02 February 2, 2011 by Shibumi
Dear Mr Reklamombudsmannen-

I think this ad is offensive to sheep. It clearly portrays sheep as merely floor coverings only valued for their outermost layer upon which humans feel they can simply walk all over and even prostrate themselves with no regard for what's deep down inside. Young and old sheep alike who see this ad will feel pressure to focus on increasing their decorative value to the detriment of a full spiritual life of mind/body, inner/outer harmony.

Please put an end to this baaaaaad aaaaaaaad!
16:05 February 2, 2011 by stillwatersrd

Very funny!
16:14 February 2, 2011 by Zala Russe
A wierd looking sex object. The guy looks a bit iffy too! :)
16:16 February 2, 2011 by BobWas
What really makes regular blokes feel inadequate are those David-Beckman-in -his-tighty-whities ads. I mean, did you see the one they hung in Times Square, NY? His "offense" must have been ten feet tall! Who can compete?

This article was hilarious. From the fact that the Boxer ad is about selling a "package" of channels, to the complaint which said in part, this "... is no way to portray either a man or a woman".
16:36 February 2, 2011 by Mb 65
When are these people going to grow up. This is the 21st century.
16:42 February 2, 2011 by HYBRED
I guess my adult blow up doll will soon be outlawed the. Ooops, did I just say that?
19:21 February 2, 2011 by Investor612
Good grief. As though Swedish men are going to be traumatized by being considered sexual eye candy.

1. Some bureaucrats have too much time on their hands.

2. People looking for a reason the be offended can always manufacture one.
20:05 February 2, 2011 by Swedesmith
Large? You call that large?
20:26 February 2, 2011 by rquick
The only thing the complainant needed to do, is to turn the page with the ad. It's really that simple. But no, of course the person started at it for a long time and started to look for offensive things. Or was it a case of "penis envy"?
20:57 February 2, 2011 by mkvgtired
This is not the first underwear ad that has portrayed a well endowed man, and it wont be the last. I know the billboard in Times Square was already mentioned. Im pretty sure that no normal people were actually offended.
21:14 February 2, 2011 by martiancat
this is hilarious ^^ we all know he's not real, that's part of the appeal, hehe...
22:16 February 2, 2011 by RitaPita
Hahahaha... are you F'n kidding me???

For God's sake! Look around you! The same and even worse is being done with the female body everywhere on the streets!

If that one whiner finds this offensive, then he should quit being a hypocrite and whine about every other advertisement with half-naked women.
00:09 February 3, 2011 by Kenoscope
Oh Goddess this is funny. Do not the people of law have anything more important that to protect consenting adults from such horrid, abusive materials?

I am a sixty year old heterosexual married father of two. I find nothing offensive in this advertisement. Funny yes. Offensive? Give me a break.

My daughter though thinks its stupid.

I laugh in your general direction.
01:04 February 3, 2011 by Larry Thrash
I'm offended by the Swedish Advertising Ombudsman.
01:51 February 3, 2011 by zircon
It looks just like me, except for the 'bulging' organ. Mine is much smaller. How about being honest and say very tiny...
02:24 February 3, 2011 by för30årseden
What? I think that they have this backwards. Being a sex object is a basic human right! Too many people are oppressed by not be considered sex objects even though they want to be.

Sweden should create a new bureaucracy to help these people. Maybe they could call it Fulhets Ombudsman or something like that to help the sexually deprived or depraved.
05:48 February 3, 2011 by UScitizen
last July, a Pamela Anderson ad was banned in Canada. That was dumb too.

07:10 February 3, 2011 by volvoman9
Tease me...beat... me make me write bad cheques.... just don't call me baby.
07:22 February 3, 2011 by penzy
Scandinavian adverts never makes sense anyway. They should have not even bothered about them. Wait, why should my 2 year old son take a look at that?
11:01 February 3, 2011 by big5
RO is just trying to prove they're "fair" and don't just complain about scantily clad women in adverts. Apart from that, this is just a big yawner of a non-story. Another waste of tax money that needs to justify its meddlesome existence.
09:40 February 4, 2011 by Dom har glömt
I never even noticed the bulge, but now that I see it I just have to laugh.
19:51 February 4, 2011 by bcterry
We're all sex objects, how the hell else could we perpetuate the species if it wasn't for animal magnetism?

I'm a man, and there is nothing about the gift from mother nature that offends me.

Mother Earth, Father Sun.
01:14 February 5, 2011 by 72Flutterby
It stuns me that this ad has caused such a stir when Swedes have a world wide reputation for their open and frank acceptance of sexuality and nudity. Let's face it- sex sells and advertising/marketing professionals commonly use this angle. If you don't like it you just have to change channels, turn the page or look away. The world is becoming too P.C and we all need distractions and an excuse to have a light hearted giggle to relieve the stress of our busy daily lives. Anyway, long story short: if you've got it, flaunt it ;-P
04:06 February 5, 2011 by soultraveler3
I didn't really notice his "organ" either until after reading the article and going back for a second look. ;)

How is this offensive to anyone?

Oh, the David Beckham comment.../drools just thinking about his Vanity Fair cover lol.
08:24 February 5, 2011 by Marc the Texan
I figured this was an advert for gay rights. The ombudsman has a real conundrum, overactive dogooder in protecting men recoiling from ads that might hurt our self esteem or else trample on the hard won gains of the gay community to express themselves. So what's the lesson to be learned here?
11:02 February 5, 2011 by big5
There actually is a good reason for the biggus dickus on "robert".

The product is a "Boxerpaket". It's a joke. Boxer shorts with a big "paket" (slang for male genitals).

RO should be sued for not having a sense of humor.
15:57 March 18, 2011 by tadchem
Did they *ask* any men if they were 'offended', or did they simply *presume* that some man somewhere *might* be offended?

"Lord, save us from those who want to 'protect' the rest of us from their own personal fears!"
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