women as animals...

this is how the recent 'lynx' deodorant advert has portrayed women.

i have often been very uncomfortable with how women have been portrayed in the 'lynx' adverts, not to mention the idea that men are so dull as to only have this view of women - as unthinking dehumanised sex objects.

but this advert has now made the link with 'animal for sex' rather more explicit.

and so i decided this really was enough. along with godloveswomen and a few others on twitter, we complained to the ASA. this is the email i received in reply:

Dear Rev Stowell
Thank you for contacting the Advertising Standards Authority.
I am sorry to hear that a recent TV ad by the above advertiser promoting the new Lynx “final edition” deodorant has caused you concern. We can intervene if an advertisement seems likely to be in breach of The UK Code of Broadcast Advertising by, among other things, provoking serious or widespread offence, causing significant harm or misleading consumers to their detriment. The ASA bases its judgments on the content of the ad and the medium, audience, product type and prevailing standards in society.
We received numerous complaints from complainants who raised a number of issues about this ad. The matter was sent to the ASA Council for consideration. In relation to the issue you have mentioned in your complaint, while Council acknowledged that the ad may not appeal to all viewers, it was considered that the ad was intended to be light hearted. It was noted that the advertiser was continuing with the over the top theme of the product's desirability to women in order to promote the product. Although it was understood that some viewers might find the content of the ad distasteful in this respect, Council decided that the ad was unlikely to be seen as degrading or objectifying women. Moreover, we do not believe that this ad would be likely to be seen by the general audience as objectifying men or that it would be likely to cause serious or widespread offence on this point. As a result, we shall not be taking any further action on your complaint on this occasion.
In addition, you may be interested to know that it was considered that the ad was intended to be light hearted and unlikely to be seen as mocking the Christian faith or belittling the biblical story of Noah's Ark. Council noted that Clearcast (the organisation which approves ads prior to their broadcast) had applied a scheduling restriction to the ad so that it would not be transmitted in the breaks surrounding religious programmes It was considered that the restriction was appropriate considering the ad’s theme and that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence as a result, in relation to this point.
I realise this response may disappoint you but the advertiser is aware of viewer’s response to this campaign and we shall continue to monitor the response closely.
Thank you for taking the time to contact us with your concerns. Our website, www.asa.org.uk, contains information about us and the work we do, including the results of our investigations into other recent complaints.
Yours sincerely
Avghi Theocharous
Avghi Theocharous
Complaints Executive
Direct line 020 7492 2232
Advertising Standards Authority
Mid City Place, 71 High Holborn
London WC1V 6QT
Telephone 020 7492 2222
and this is how i responded....


Dear Avghi
thanks for the quick response to my complaint. I am interested that you felt the need to explain regarding the religious content of the advert, something that I did not find offensive or make reference to in my complaint? I can only assume an assumption was made about my title 'Rev'.
The reality is that I am less concerned about the use of a well known biblical story than I am about the perpetuation of the idea that women are simply to be seen as objects for men to manipulate and seek power over!
I am therefore unconvinced by the explanation regarding how degrading the advert is of the humanity of women. The Lynx adverts have generally reduced women to unthinking sex objects, however this particular advert, now has added in the link with the animals on the ark (a story which is known in general culture, not simply a religious comment). In this advert women are compared with animals, they lose their own sensibilities through the smell of the deodorant and so are no more than objects.
I would like to take this complaint further and would appreciate if you could let me know how I do that.
kind regards, Jody
Reverend Jody Stowell, Curate, All Saints' Harrow Wealdwww.ashw.org.uk

can i please ask you also to complain about these adverts. we still live in a world where women are deemed as 'less human' than men. the 'lighthearted' nature of this advert belies the story of women all over the world, who must experience the downgrading of their humanity on a day to day basis.

it may be that advertisers think that any type of manipulation is fair game, but is it really appropriate to send this kind of message, simply to sell a product?

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