Burger King ‘soft porn’ ad complaints upheld

NZPA 29 May 2007
Complaints about two television advertisements for Burger King featuring three bikini-clad women have been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
Eight people complained at Burger King’s advertisement for the BK Chicken BLT, featuring the women in bikinis riding horseback on the beach, then – still in bikinis – in workplaces including an office and a laboratory, then riding horseback to a Burger King.One complainant noted the advertisement was screened at 5.15pm. She said it was “not only distasteful and degrading to women, but from my point of view, had absolutely nothing to do with burgers or fast food”. The advertiser, Burger King, and its agency said while they were disappointed that a number of consumers were concerned about the nature of the commercial, they did not believe the material breached the Advertising Code…..However, the majority of the Board noted that the advertiser and agency described the advertisement as having been filmed in a “mockumentary style” but did not consider that this style adequately offset the likelihood of use of stereotyping and ruled to uphold the complaint in this regard.The board also agreed that the use of bikini-clad women in the depicted situations to promote a burger was using sexual appeal simply to draw attention to an unrelated product. In a second advertisement, a voice-over advises the women “share everything: their bed, their clothes, exercise equipment, a love of ice sculpture and horses”. The advertisement is for the Texas Bacon Double Whopper, saying it is so big the women share that too. Complainants said the style was extremely sexually suggestive and “indecent”, degrading to women, and could best be described as “soft porn”.

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