Big-breasted billboard bad for business

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A billboard of a large-breasted bikini-clad woman has been blamed for ruining an Auckland business meeting, by distracting staff and clients.
The sexy woman was standing next to a "naked" and natural muesli bar. The phrase next to the image read: "Need something real?".
J Everett, whose business overlooked the billboard on the corner of Victoria St and Halsey St, was so upset that he complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
"On Friday we had a very important meeting and both clients were clearly distracted by the content of this billboard and I feel as a result the meeting did not go as well as it could have."

Male and female staff had complained about the image, the complaint said.

J Everett said using a woman with enlarged breasts to draw attention to a muesli bar was distasteful, distracting and offensive.

The advertising agency working for muesli bar manufacturer Nature's Oven said the billboard did not show unacceptable nudity "as a bikini is acceptable public attire".

"The advertisement uses a depiction of the stereotypical fake 'Hollywood blonde' juxtaposed against the all natural formulation of the naked product."

The ASA upheld the complaint.

It said that the message promoting real over fake breached the requirement that "people should not be portrayed in a manner which uses sexual appeal simply to draw attention to an unrelated product".

The billboard was one of three recent complaints to the ASA about sexually offensive advertisements.

An Auckland billboard and newspaper advertisement showing a man holding a woman in his lap – both naked and sitting under water, with the text "Living in your element" drew complaints from nine people.

The image was used to advertise the benefits of living in Auckland's Lighter Quay apartments.

M Field said the poster was obscene and offensive as a naked woman was resting in the crotch and held strongly by a naked man.

"If one looks closely one can just see part of the male sexual organ."

Advertiser Melview Developments Ltd said the couple was not engaged in a sexual act, but a simple embrace.

"Any sexual implications of the image require speculation on behalf of the audience."

They also denied male genitalia could be seen.

Advertising agency Radical Alice said the advertisement was designed so apartment residents would feel stimulated and energised by the close proximity of the city's buzz and equally soothed and calmed by the effect of having so much water around them.

The ASA ruled that the sexual appeal of the image drew attention to the unrelated product, and upheld the complaint.

Meanwhile, a television advertisement showing elongated male nipples was deemed to not breach ASA codes.

The ad for Mentos Ice Gum shows a man eating the product, which results in his nipples extending about 10cm. He then used them to catch a frisbee and press elevator buttons.

C Dawson said as a 70-year-old the ad made her feel uncomfortable.

"Breast and nipples are a cancer site/worry for so many of us that this is not an area for distortion."

The agency, Mitchell & Partners, said the advertisement relied on obvious exaggeration.

"The male lead engages in activities relevant to the target market using his impossible appendages where one might use fingers.

"At no time does he engage in lewd or offensive behaviour and he only interacts with people of a similar age and attitude."

The ASA board said in their decision to not uphold the complaint they took into account the exaggerated and ridiculous concept of expanding nipples as a result of chewing gum.

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