‘Sexually provocative’ toothpaste ad banned for ‘objectifying’ women

We have decided not to republish the banned ad so we have used a stock photo
We have decided not to republish the banned ad so we have used a stock photo

A ‘sexually provocative’ toothpaste advert featuring a naked model has been banned for ‘objectifying’ women.

The ad featured a black and white image of the body of a naked woman, who was wearing only a pair of strappy heels.

The woman in the image was shown reclining in a chair and facing a window, with one leg placed on top of a table by the window and the other on the ground.

Her buttocks and her groin area were obscured by the arm of the chair. The woman was also shown to be holding a tube of the product for BOCA organic toothpastes.

Two people complained to watchdogs about the ad and a subsequent investigation ruled that the ‘voyeurisitic’ ad seen in the Raconteur supplement which was included in The Times newspaper, breached rules regarding ‘harm and offence’.

Sussex-based Croftscope Ltd, the makers of the toothpaste based in Worthing, said that the model in the ad was not naked.

And the firm claimed that, for some people, there was a ‘fine line between sexual objectification and the expression of sensuality’.

Raconteur Media Ltd stated they did not believe that the image of the woman in the ad was ‘overtly sexual’ as she was ‘mostly obscured’ by the chair in the image, with only one leg being visible.

But the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned the ad, and warned BOCA to ensure future advertising doesn’t ‘objectify’ women.

An ASA spokesman said: “We noted that the image in the ad showed only parts of the model’s body, including the lower parts of her breasts, her stomach, and her bare legs.

“We noted that her buttocks and groin area had been obscured by the arm of the chair, and her head, the top parts of the arms and torso, including her nipples, were out of the frame and therefore were not visible.

“We noted BOCA’s comments that the model in the ad was not naked and acknowledged that the ad did not include explicit nudity.

“However, we considered that the way in which the model was depicted gave the impression that the model was fully nude.”

He continued: “We considered that the pose of the model, particularly given that she was shown as reclining with her parted legs facing an open window, was sexually provocative, giving the ad a voyeuristic feel.

“Furthermore, because the model’s face was not shown, we considered that the visible parts of her torso, including her lower portion of her breasts, and the lower half of her body became the visual emphasis of the ad, which was likely to draw readers’ attention.

“We also considered that the nudity and the pose of the model, and the provocative nature of the ad, bore no relevance to the product.

“Because the ad placed visual emphasis on the model’s body in a sexualised manner and such nudity was unrelated to the product, we considered that the ad objectified the model depicted and invited readers to view her body as a sexual object.

“For those reason, we considered that the ad objectified women and concluded that it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.”

The ASA spokesman added: “The ad must not appear again in its current form.

“We told BOCA to ensure that future advertising did not cause widespread or serious offence by objectifying women.”