'Overly sexualised' Femfresh advert banned by watchdog

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A Femfresh advert has been banned for showing too many “overly sexualised” close-ups of women, as well as thrusting dance moves.

Seventeen people complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about the commercial for women’s bikini line shaving products, which was aired on ITV Player and 4oD in March and April.

The ad shows women in high-cut swimwear performing a gym routine to music, which the watchdog noted featured “many thrusting dance moves”.

The ASA upheld viewers’ objections, finding that the dance sequence was “overly sexualised” and that the ad “focused to a large extent on the women’s crotches, with relatively few shots of their faces”.

It also remarked that the swimwear worn by some of the women in the advert was more revealing than most.

Ruling that the advert objectified women and was therefore likely to cause offence, the watchdog barred Femfresh manufacturer Church & Dwight UK Ltd from using the ad in its current form.

The ASA also found that the commercial breached social responsibility codes, saying: “Even taking into account the nature of the product, we considered that it had been presented in an overly-sexualised way that objectified women. 

“We concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and therefore breached the [CAP] Code.”

Defending the advert, Church & Dwight had claimed the groin close-ups were used to illustrate that Femfresh products could give a smooth bikini line.

The costumes worn by the women reflected what was available on the High Street, it said, and the ad was aimed at 18 to 34-year-old women who were “engaged with current fashion and music trends”.

ITV meanwhile said it had not received any direct complaints and had been careful not to place the ad next to programmes aimed at children.

Channel 4 also said it did not believe the ad objectified women, according to the ASA.

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