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'Milfshake' ad campaign 'not sexist': watchdog

The Local/dl · 7 Dec 2011, 16:57

Published: 07 Dec 2011 16:57 GMT+01:00

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In a ruling issued on Wednesday, the Swedish Advertising Ombudsman (Reklamombudsmannen – RO) said that a campaign which referred to the Friggs-brand Naturdiet Shake as a “Milfshake” wasn't “offensive, sexist, stereotying, or in any other way degrading” toward women.

The case was referred to the watchdog's jury following several complaints which pointed out that the term “milf” is a common slang abbreviation for “mother/mom I'd like to fuck”.

According to one complaint, the advert was deliberately playing on the term and was therefore “degrading to women”.

Another complainant wrote that the ad was offensive because 'milf' is used as a “collective term for women who, despite having had children and no longer being young, are still attractive and, in a younger man's eyes, sexy”.

A third complaint argued that the Friggs ad was sexist because it implied that women who have had children should care for their bodies in a manner that “keeps them sexually attractive”.

Friggs responded to the complaints by explaining that the ad was directed toward women between 30- and 45-years-old who are interested in losing weight and that many people who use the Naturdiet Shakes do so to “stay in shape and feel attractive”.

The company added that it believed most of the target audience for the product “understands and appreciates the play on the modern pop-culture term 'milf'”.

“The fact that the term 'milf' had its origins as a term used in the porn industry, but which has been 'kidnapped' in a positive way by regular people” was one of the reasons why Friggs chose to use the term in the advert.

The company added, however, that it was sorry if the campaign bothered some consumers.

The Advertising Ombudsman jury, agreed with the company's reasoning, ruling that the ad didn't violate the Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

“The jury finds that the expression “milf” in connection with the image of the product indicates that this is a product for women who want to be considered sexually attractive. However, the jury doesn't believe the presentation gives an impression which can be considered offensive to the average consumer to an extent that violates the ICC's rules,” the jury wrote in its findings.

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In addition, the ad lacks any other material which could be considered offensive. The jury also argued that the use of the term “milfshake” was likely considered as “humourous”.

“Because no women is portrayed in the advert, the jury doesn't find that the advert portrays women as pure sex objects in a way that can be considered offensive,” the jury wrote.

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

19:22 December 7, 2011 by waffen
In other words the company knows that the term is offensive , yet uses the same regardless.

Likewise, the Ombudsman also knows that the term is offensive, yet in so doing states that there is no violation of the advertising practices of the International Chamber of Commerce, of which organization in the United States is as close to Fascism as is hair on a head,

So, women are being insulted--but within the legal framework of the Swedish business world--thus those insults are permissible.

Even the United States would not get away with this activity because the women there would be marching in the streets and screaming bloody murder, as well they should.
20:10 December 7, 2011 by big5
I think it's offensive to members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Implies their guerillas are out of shape or something.
20:20 December 7, 2011 by Svensksmith
Yesterday a lady called me a filthy old man. Maybe she meant filf-y.
20:39 December 7, 2011 by spo10
This company is full of perverts.


This would be good propaganda for them. :D
20:58 December 7, 2011 by big5
"The jury also argued that the use of the term "milfshake" was likely considered as ___"humourous"."___

It's spelled hum_o_rous both in UK and US.

UK: hum_ou_r -> hum_o_rous

frickin amateurs ;-)
20:58 December 7, 2011 by Gamla Hälsingebock
How can The Local use the word...dare I say it?... f**k in it's articles and then not allow the same privilege to posters here?

Some kind of double standard, I think!

My original post just got denied because I spelled the word the same way The Local did.

Bloody tyrants!!!!!!!!!!!!
20:59 December 7, 2011 by dizzymoe33
Are they going to make a drink called "filth" as in Father I would like to F@*k!! You know it is only fair?!!!!
22:21 December 7, 2011 by BritVik
Clearly the Local's journalist is as offensive as journalists in the main in Sweden. It seems popular to use the profanities of the English language - and print them in full for the whole world - and that includes children - to see. I cannot speak for the US, but NO self-respecting newspaper in the UK would print profanities in full. The swear words are obscene, and treated as such. Even though everyone knows the words, they have no wish to see them flaunted in front of them in a newspaper. You will find an asterisk replacing the 'internal letters' of the word. A Swedish journalist referred to it as a double moral attitude, and told me that it was right to print the words in full. That, to me, illustrated clearly the low morals of Swedish journalism.

Local - clean up your act - and your pages. Do NOT think that it is clever to print obscenities and expect people to accept it. Don't f*****g do it.
09:27 December 8, 2011 by Stonebridge
If I can't use the word "f*ck" while posting here, then @TheLocal should not use it in their article. The word is considered offensive in the English speaking word and this newspaper does itself no credit by using it. Even worse is the nauseating hypocrisy of the censorship of the comments. Disgraceful.
09:35 December 8, 2011 by BrittInSweden
"'milf' is used as a "collective term for women who, despite having had children and no longer being young, are still attractive and, in a younger man's eyes, sexy"

Whoever made this their complaint, don't worry... we all find YOU fugly instead.
13:05 December 8, 2011 by Greekfan
MILF, I always thought it was a compliment. Albeit a rather crude one.
16:54 December 9, 2011 by eovti
I can only sign what Greekfan said; 'MILF' is a compliment! Maybe not among the world's greatest pick up lines, but still.

The people complaining about this ad are showing that they live in an earlier age, when you wasn't supposed to be sexually attractive after childbirth. In fact, those who complain are really degrading women.
17:24 December 9, 2011 by tadchem
Let me get this straight; In Sweden, it is OK for a woman to feel attractive, but it is sexist for someone else to tell her she should feel attractive?
22:26 December 9, 2011 by Gamla Hälsingebock
Why can't posters say

...for unlawful carnal knowledge...

just as The Local does...LOL
07:50 December 10, 2011 by Marc the Texan
I wouldn't call the word MILF to be a compliment at all. It's a pretty awful word to use unless you're really to trying to get into some old lady's pants and you think she's game for it. It's the equivalent of stating, "I'd definitely bang you if you give me half a chance. And I hope after you hear me say it, that you will take me up on the offer. Just wanted to let you and everyone else in the immediate vicinity to know this, thanks." If you're happen to find yourself in the right time and place to say that, then using the term MILF would be a wonderful addition to the conversation.

Since Sweden takes queues on the acceptability of Anglo-American imports based on what they see on some pretty crappy TV imports, then it's no surprise. I've been in offices where use of that term could get you hit with a sexual harassment charge.
17:33 December 10, 2011 by expatjourno
It's wrong for women to try to be sexually desirable, especially after they have become mothers. And efforts to help such women achieve their depraved ambitions are sexist.
20:39 December 10, 2011 by dizzymoe33
Just because a woman has given birth doesn't mean her life is over!! Why is it wrong for a woman who has given birth to not be considered sexy but it is okay for all the men out there who helped make those babies are not considered unsexy after fathering children?!! It is the old double standard again so stupid time to grow up people we are in the 21st Century where life doesn't end after bearing children or reaching 65!!!

I always say you know when you are too old for anything is when you don't wake up in the morning and they are throwing the dirt in your eyes!! Then that is when you are finally old and not sexy!!!
11:56 December 11, 2011 by Cage
I do not understand the radical feminist that dominate the feminist dialogue here in Sweden. Instead of wasting time and detracting from the real feminist issues, they have hijacked the debate to put a focus on media issues.

Women need equal wages, positions of power in business and property ownership that is on the same scale as men. These are the real issues that the feminist movement needs to focus on, they are primary. Advertisements and media issues should be of little concern to them until women are actually paid parity wages to men and until women are in positions of power at levels that match their male counterparts.
13:36 December 13, 2011 by sunnchilde
How the hell did 'MILF' enter the English language? It's a vulgar term whispered between children. Do yourselves a favor, don't repeat it over there. It is not a word. It will never be a word and by not ever talking about it, maybe collectively we can stamp it out.
22:25 December 19, 2011 by tnmccoy
It's a vulgar term and degrading to women. Why not just call it a 'fackshake' and be done with it. Obviously, a Worldwide Liberal decision which is as wrong as can be. The company should be heavily fined and have to change all packaging and advertising. Enough is enough.
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