Tom Waterhouse has had one of his controversial ads slammed by Ad Standards after it was deemed “degrading of the women”.
Waterhouse sparked controversy over Christmas when he posted a series of pictures and ads featuring bikini clad women.
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On Christmas Day, a post saying “From my family to yours, wishing you all Merry Christmas” including goats and what looks like an alpaca as well as five women in skimpy bikinis and matching flannelette shirts.
In another post, Waterhouse is wearing a different suit and sitting at the head of a table, in front of platters of fruit and a couple of trophies. In this image, four women stand around him, one appearing to hold a napkin for him, while a rabbit lies on the table.
It led to the launch of an ad campaign on social media at the beginning of the year, featuring the ad that Ad Standards upheld the complaint over.
Posted on January 1, the ad shows Waterhouse about to ride on a flying fox with two women wearing bikinis standing behind him. At the end of the ad, they push him down the flying fox.
The initial complaint called it “The most blatant piece of sexual objectification ever in an advert. Simply disgusting.”
A response from Waterhouse to the complaint was kept confidential.
But the ruling from Ad Standards found that the ad “did employ sexual appeal in a manner which is exploitative or degrading of an individual or group of people”.
The panel found the ad had breached section 2.2 of the code, which states “Advertising or marketing communications should not employ sexual appeal in a manner which is exploitative or degrading of any individual or group of people.”
The most telling aspect of the ruling found that the ad was exploitative in the use of sex.
“The Panel considered however that the women are depicted as props in the advertisement, there to promote the man’s playboy image,” one of the ruling read. “The Panel considered that the women in the advertisement do not speak or have an active role, and considered that this dehumanised the women and depicted them as doll-like sexual objects to be used by men. The Panel considered that the cumulative effect of the advertisement amounted to a depiction which reduces the women to objects or commodities.”
Waterhouse did not respond to the ruling according to the self-regulating advertising standards body.
While the body doesn’t have any power to force changes or the ads to come down as it is not underpinned by Government regulation, Ad Standards’ ruling said it would work with the advertiser and other industry bodies on the issue.
When responding to the photo furore over Christmas, Waterhouse told The Sydney Morning Herald he simply wanted to “do something different” to promote his betting app.
“We’re just trying to mix things up a bit, it’s a pun on a joke … taking the p**s,” Waterhouse said.
Originally published as ‘Degrading’ Tom Waterhouse ad slammed