Ecoya’s naked horse rider blocked from Australian billboards
reproduced here with thanks to mumbrella.com.au
A billboard for bodycare brand Ecoya, which features a naked woman straddling a horse, has been blocked from running on outdoor sites in Australia.
The Outdoor Media Association deemed that the ad – which was permitted to run in New Zealand – breached its code of ethics and did not treat sex and nudity with due sensitivity, and would be seen by children as well as its target audience of adult women.
The image is running on Ecoya’s website, with a number of others of naked women with animals. Ecoya’s New Zealand-based chairman Geoff Ross said he had also tried to run an image of a woman posing with an owl on Australian billboards. But that was also refused by the OMA.
Ross added that he hadn’t tried to seek permission to run an ad featuring a woman with an iguana. “That’s the safest of the three, but it’s not my favourite,” he said.
The blocked horse riding woman ad was covered in The Sun-Herald over the weekend, which is running on smh.com.au. Ross said he was “thrilled” with the press coverage, as it took the debate beyond the OMA, but would have preferred the ad to have run out of home.
“We would have generated more awareness for the brand if the ad had run outdoors. A story in a newspaper was the second best outcome,” he said.
Ross said Ecoya had a legitimate reason to run the content in the ad. “We want to show lots of skin and interaction with nature, because we are a natural bodycare brand.”
He added that he found that the Bulgari ads featuring a naked Julianne Moore with lion cubs and a cockatoo – which appeared only in magazines – were more provactive.
“Once the OMA had refused the horse image, they became sensitised to our campaign and wouldn’t let us run anything,” said Ross. “I think they’re out of touch with consumers and our demographic in particular.”
While there was less opportunity for the wrong target group to see his ads in glossy women’s magazines, Ross argued that catalogues sent through the mail – such as the Rivers ‘deadly deals’ catalogue that came under fire from the Ad Standards Bureau in April – gave children the opportunity to view inappropriate content.
He has yet to attempt to run the ads in magazines.
“I’m always wary when an industry body makes a call on what does, and what does not, fit in with popular culture. It’s draconian and Big Brother-like for these people to sensor our lives. We know what’s tasteful and appropriate, and what’s not. We’ve got families and kids. The market – and consumers – should decide.”
OMA chair Charmaine Moldrich said the campaign was out of kilter with prevailing community standards, and called the naked horse rider image “incredibly provocative.”
“We don’t want to be the arbiters of taste. That’s the ASB’s role,” she said. “I agree with Geoff that the market should decide on what should and what shouldn’t run in principle. But in practice, we need to put regulations in place because there is a lot of sensitivity around the issue at the moment.”
Since the beginning of the year, the outdoor ad industry has been facing increasing scrutiny from the government about inappropriate content. Moldrich added that most of the breaches of the outdoor advertising code had been due to the objectification of women.