Mobile phone ad banned for objectifying women

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned an ad for Kazam Online, the mobile phone manufacturer, for objectifying women.

The ad by Ogilvy & Mather shows a woman in her underwear walking around a house, and then cuts to her running a finger down her cleavage, biting her lip and then moving her hand along her hip and thigh.

She puts on a pair of jeans and the camera focuses on her buttoning them up before a close-up of her bottom.

The lady picks up a shirt and irons it, puts it on and hears her mobile ringing. She realises it's in the pocket of the shirt she has just ironed over. A voiceover says: "Introducing the world’s slimmest phone."

The ASA received eight complaints claiming that the spot was "overtly sexual and objectified women" and "bore no relationship to the product".

However Kazam Online said that the ad showed a "well-known scenario – that is ironing a shirt in your underwear". It also said that it made sure that the spot was not aired during shows that children may be watching.

Clearcast, the body responsible for the pre-transmission clearance of TV ads, had noted the scenes were "slightly sexual", but decided they were not "gratuitous or likely to cause offence".

However, the ASA considered that the ad was entirely about the woman in her underwear not the mobile phone and that scenes such as her running her finger over her cleavage were "sexually suggestive".

The adjudication added: "Additionally, this was heightened by the suggestive nature of the music and voice-over and further reinforced because the focus on the woman bore no relevance to the advertised product."

As a result, the ASA said the ad must not be broadcast again in its current form and has told Kazam to make sure it does not cause offence by objectifying women in future ads.