Last month the Advertising Standards Board dismissed complaints from the public about Bond’s “Boobs” campaign. The ASB’s decision to dismiss all complaints regarding the campaign was unsurprising given that in the past year the self-regulated body has dismissed most complaints it’s received from the public. Of the 3,640 complaints made to the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) the board looked at 473 and only 68 were found to have breached its Code of Ethics. There is an obvious difference of standards between the ASB and the community – the Advertising Standards Bureau is not in line with community expectations and one of many reasons why the ACL believes government should regulate outdoor advertising to make sure it’s G-Rated.
However, what was surprising though, was the title of their website report on the dismissal of all Bonds “Boobs” complaints, “Storm in a B cup”. The campaign should not have been labelled in such dismissive terms; the concerns regarding this advertising campaign were serious and worthy of respect. The advertiser, Bonds underwear, was certainly treated seriously. In fact, Bonds was quoted in this report as intending to change their name to “Boobs” during their campaign to demonstrate how seriously they take the product of bras.
This is not the first time Bonds has had to defend its product and marketing. In 2010, after public outcry, Bonds withdrew their range of bra-like products for girls from 6 years old. In this current case, the common complaint from women was to do with objectification; women are tired of marketers promoting them as body parts. The fact that Bonds then linked this campaign to breast cancer is poor taste. Breast cancer survivors are outraged. The last thing a woman who has just had a mastectomy needs is for billboards to be highlighting the body part they’ve just lost. Women are more than body parts. Marketers need to start seeing each woman in the context of being a whole unique person.
This blog post was first published at http://www.acl.org.au/2013/11/dismissal-of-boobs-campaign-complaints-undermines-womens-worth/