The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has rapped Rustlers-owner Kepak for running the online video ads after it received 18 complaints that the campaign presented women as sex objects, with an additional four complainants objecting that one of the ads could be seen by children.
Kepak was censured for running ads on its Rustlers website that featured the strapline, "Fit as a butcher's daughter" and included the scantily clad woman stroking a large salami sausage and saying, "before I put something in my mouth I want to know where it's been".
The convenience food company defended the ad, created by BJL Group, by claiming it believed the woman was "in control rather than a woman who was being exploited".
Although the ASA decided the majority of the creative from the campaign was not offensive to adults, it did rule the two executions hosted on the Rustlers website did present the woman as a "sex object".
Interactive elements on the ads further damaged Kepak's attempts to deny the ads were sexist, because they allowed users to jump to certain words or phrases in the woman's speech that became sexually explicit when combined in a certain order.
One of the other less sexually provocative ads was also banned because it ran the risk of being seen by children using their parent’s iPad.
The ASA accepted Kepak had asked its network advertising partner to make sure the web ads were only targeted at 16- to 24-year-old males, but ruled this safety measure was not sufficient.
The regulator added it was likely that children, who often used devices such as iPads owned by their parents to play games, could have seen the ad.