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Advert slammed for portraying women as 'pure sex objects'

The Local/dl · 18 Oct 2011, 08:13

Published: 18 Oct 2011 08:13 GMT+02:00

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“The Swedish Advertising Ombudsman (Reklamombudsmannen, RO) Jury finds that the commercial is sexist. It therefore violates Article 4 of the International Chamber of Commerce's rules for advertising and marketing communications,” the ombudsman wrote in a statement on Monday.

The ombudsman took up the case following a number of complaints who took issue with Jack & Jones for using scantily clad women who “lacked any connection” to the men's clothing products being marketed.

In addition to in-store posters, the campaign features a commercial in which a woman in a jogging suit warns, “The new spring collection from Jack & Jones has turned out to have some unfortunate side effects that we didn’t anticipate.”

The ad then cuts to a scene in which a man is lying passed out on a bed surrounded by three women dressed in nothing but bras and panties.

In the next scene, a bare-chested man lying in bed is straddled by a blond woman in her underwear who appears to be trying to revive him before leaning down to blow on the man's crotch.

The woman who appeared at the start of the commercial reappears later wearing a bikini and performing aerobic exercises in which she urges viewers to join the company's “get in shape and ready for action online fitness club”.

Most complainants argued the adverts amounted to “offensive” and “objectifyingly sexist stereotypes of both men and women”.

Others complained that the Jack & Jones campaign also discriminated against homosexuals because it only showed heterosexual situations.

While Jack & Jones, a brand owned by Denmark-based clothing company Bestseller A/S, said it regretted offending anyone, it nevertheless defended the campaign, arguing that the ad was produced “in a humourous and exaggerated way”.

“The thought behind the campaign isn't to discriminate against men or women, but rather it is a humourous explanation as to why it's so popular to wear clothing from Jack & Jones,” the company wrote.

It argued further that the commercial’s irony is “obvious” and that it “plays on well-known stereotypes of men and women which – at least in Scandinavia – were abandoned decades ago”.

But the company's humour and irony was nevertheless lost on the jury at Sweden's advertising watchdog, which issued a unanimous ruling condemning the campaign.

Story continues below…

“Through their clothing and poses, the women are portrayed as pure sex objects and in a way that can be considered offensive to women in general,” the jury wrote in its ruling.

“In an overall assessment, the committee finds that the advertisment can be considered offensive and that the conventions expressed in it give a stereotypical view of gender roles which is degrading to both women and men.”

See the Jack & Jones commercial below

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:15 October 18, 2011 by HYBRED
So women are not 'pure sex objects'?
09:32 October 18, 2011 by fxrider
Thanks to Ombudsman for bringing it to spotlight. It would have been hardly noticed otherwise.
09:39 October 18, 2011 by Åskar
I'd rather have an impure sex object.
09:42 October 18, 2011 by Miss Kitten
Looks more like the men are the pure sex objects in this advert.
10:01 October 18, 2011 by HYBRED
So I guess to satisfy everyone, a model used in advertising should be a ugly middle age, multi-race, multi-faith, bisexual hermaphrodite.
10:04 October 18, 2011 by rise
What else would a man want from a woman if not to have sex with her? Look at how it is working between male and female animals - there's hardly any difference from the mammal Homo sapiens. It doesn't make any sense why it even should work any differently.

The female variety of the mammal Homo sapiens needs to feel love in some kind of way for whichever male Homo sapiens she chooses to have sex with. For the male Homo sapiens however it's just sex, and love is something else completely (sex is sex, and love is love, not mixed into the same thing as it is for her).
10:29 October 18, 2011 by hilt_m
lol I liked the advert, I thought it was pretty funny, my wife hates this kind of stuff, she doesn't get it, I think many people don't get it and just jump on the sexist band wagon. The point of these types of adverts is the same as say an infommercial, you know the type, were they try to sell you a new wonder mop by comparing it to an old dirty mop that's falling to bits. You sit back and think, hey I bet a new mop would work just as well. In other words the commercial has a direct level of transparency, you can see the lie for what it is, a bid to sell you something. Many adverts these days use a combination of sex and humour to infer that transparency. Deodorant will not turn beautiful women into mindless zombies, clothes will not cause beautiful women to ravage you to death. It's silly and that's the point, we all know it's stupid. Can it be considered sexiest? For some it always will, but try to see it for what it really is, a marketing tool to show consumers that a product doesn't really do any of the things it pretends to.
10:55 October 18, 2011 by Opinionfool

"What else would a man want from a woman if not to have sex with her?"

Indeed Richard Dawkins, the atheist, has said much the same thing. The only reason for human love is to procreate and pass the selfish gene on.
11:04 October 18, 2011 by zircon
Live a little! Ad has nothing erotic in it's fraction of seconds.
11:38 October 18, 2011 by David S
@opinionfoot - Dawkins never said any such thing, indeed to the contrary.
12:15 October 18, 2011 by Svensksmith
Women who are not considered sex symbols are probably the ones raising the most fuss.
15:32 October 18, 2011 by Vill
I am offended by the people who find this offensive! I have the inalienable right to amusing satire and the pursuit of amusement! I demand a full scale inquiry!
17:20 October 18, 2011 by stillwatersrd
I could swear I've seen those women before, here on The Local in the Gallery section of 'this weekend's finest'.
17:32 October 18, 2011 by rise
@ Opinionfool

I wasn't familiar with Dawkins but read about him now at Wikipedia. Thanks for the tip! I think he's having some really interesting stuff to read.
18:15 October 18, 2011 by jvtx3232
That girl in the picture at the top is my idea of perfection!

18:48 October 18, 2011 by Lukestar1991
Finally, some people have a sense of what is appropriate and decent.
18:49 October 18, 2011 by DAVID T
I'd much rather see this than some ugly bint with a tash - I'm gonna buy from there
19:41 October 18, 2011 by wxman
This is quite simple really. Women who don't want to be sex objects will be rewarded by not having the opportunity to pass on their genes to another generation. Which will be a good thing.
19:51 October 18, 2011 by J Jack
It's great and it's inspiring men to be fit! I would think the women that are offended are either lesbians, desperate or have a circle of gravity around them that is double the normal strength.
20:06 October 18, 2011 by Frobobbles
It is good to know that women should have no relation to men whatsoever under any circumstances.
21:45 October 18, 2011 by philster61
Sex sells......
22:51 October 18, 2011 by Bigd
hasnt anyone seen the latest music videos a'la Rhianna....they are also selling a product 'music' so why are they (and the almost 100% OTT-saucy-sexy-hiphop-dance blah blah genres) not banned??

...the whole 'sex object' debate...

23:02 October 18, 2011 by rise
I agree with what people here are saying; it's just jealously women complaining; they also want to be as gorgeous as the young woman in this commercial. I think women with better confidence in themselves aren't feeling the competition in the same way. And they are hardly the ones whining.
09:02 October 19, 2011 by Addendum
What an image comment #5 brings to mind! Thank you for making me laugh!
12:55 October 19, 2011 by London_Jim
She's got such a great rack on her, that I've gone out and bought a Jack Jones t-shirt.
13:43 October 19, 2011 by andyron2
Very Nice, How Much?
14:18 October 19, 2011 by hughknows
So let me get this straight: The Victoria Milan ads that urge Swedish people to 'have an affair' and cheat on their partners are cleared of wrongdoing, and these men's clothing ads that simply portray some attractive women in underwear and provocative poses are condemned??? This demonstrates two things to me about Swedish society - firstly that its institutions reflect a social amorality, and secondly are purveyors of ethical fascism. Moreover there seems to be a deficit in the area of basic democracy: It says here a 'number' of complaints provoked this ridiculous judgment of sexism supposedly based on international marketing rules. Yet the former Victoria Milan website ads were said to have resulted in record numbers of complaints yet were given a green light by the ombudsman (why not ombudsperson!?) - who is therefore hardly a good arbiter of free expression in the public space. To be honest, I'm personally a little sad I won't be exposed to these ads any more, but as somebody pointed out - for the same thing of overall slightly lower quality one can glance at the terribly sexist weekly photo galleries of The Local.
17:24 October 19, 2011 by uunbeliever
Maybe I'm confused but isn't the guy not wearing a shirt? What a blatant use of a man as a sex object. Pfft, like Mark Schenkenberg is in ads for his wit and high IQ.
03:07 October 20, 2011 by tmike69us
Video looks fine to me.
13:42 October 20, 2011 by WelshSwede
So what! Works a treat and Im off to the beach to work out in my jeans :)
19:50 October 20, 2011 by mibrooks27
I thought it was funny, just as it was intended to be. Good advertisement.
22:21 October 20, 2011 by Prionace Piaggio
Just as well the Swedish Advertising Ombudsman has no say over The Locals relentless galleries that seem to focus on scantily-clad pouting girls.

One could accuse the Local of a low brow level of sexism when it suits.
06:00 October 21, 2011 by Decedo
I rather liked that ad.
10:06 October 21, 2011 by Nilspet
@ Opinionfool

Agree with ya. God/Nature has created us to be like this ....
14:53 October 21, 2011 by kingdans
Over-regulation at its finest. So long as women are treated fairly (in other words given the same rights as men, same wages, etc), we should have nothing else to ask for. Feminists are far more sexist than your average person, just like Al Sharpton is more racist and my local priest is more of an angry alcoholic... The point is, don't let hypocrites get involved in policy making. Lighten up people.
16:47 October 21, 2011 by tadchem
The 'authorities' still don't get it. The presence of scantily clad women in an ad is meant to exploit the weakeness of MEN. Women in bikinis or lingerie have been used to market everything from high-end automobiles to chewing gum, from the 1960's when the navel of Teri Garr was displayed to sell iced tea.
19:50 October 21, 2011 by idealist707
We are as we are, and if it amuses and sells, then fine.

I came to Sweden in a red Alfa convertible in '68. Did I get laid?

I also was without a car for a while. Did I get laid?

i've had so many girls around the world who decided when and if they wanted sex. "Can't you get your clothes off faster?", they say. I'm not worried about the independence of the ones in these societies. Are you? Let's face it, we all know women are hornier than we are at certain times. God made them so.

Take it for what is was: a funny parody of any young man's wet dream. The one who finished off with the bumps and grinds was luscious. The challenging look in her eye!!!!!! Superb!

Dream, dream, dreaming!!!!

Actually, it mirrors life. Parties in Bangkok (in good circles), Long Island, and in Stockholm are pretty much the same. If you're cool you'll find out.

I think I'll buy in sympathy.
20:25 October 21, 2011 by sgt_doom
Why in Hell are all my girlfriends in this video?

Who's responsible for this outrage????

13:23 October 25, 2011 by salalah
Weekends' Finest at the Local...
22:48 October 25, 2011 by Attestupa
I'm having difficulty here in being able to distinguish the function of an ombudsman from that of a censor. Ombudsman is good and proper; Censor is bad and anti-democratic, or did I get it wrong ? We are talking about taste here, and should the state be the arbiter of taste ?
16:45 October 26, 2011 by jomamas
Your moral compass has completely lost it's direction.

That ad is sexist, yes, but who cares?

But cheating on your spouse? Now that' fine, right?

Sweden is a joke.
11:00 November 8, 2011 by eliatica
Not a great ad, but hardly offensive. You can tell it's meant to be funny.

Some of the comments in this thread, on the other hand, are incredibly sexist and far more offensive than the commercial.
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