No More Page 3: Five really sexist adverts from the last 44 years

By Stephen Lepitak | -

January 20, 2015 | 4 min read

As we herald the end of topless page three models in the Sun after 44 years, we take a look at five sexist campaigns that have run during that time.

The Sun's Fantasy Football Win a Date with a Page 3 Girl

Just last year, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) moved to shut down the offer of a date with a Page 3 model as a prize for the Sun newspaper's Fantasy Football competition after it drew over 1,000 complaints.

The 'offer' was open to any players who recruited 10 or more others to join the game.

“We might even let you pick which one, so feel free to start your research now. Don’t listen to your girlfriend when she says size doesn’t matter. The bigger your Mini League is, the more prizes you can get your mitts on," read the promotion.

Let's repeat – this was last year! No wonder No More Page 3 was so active in achieving its goal (pun intended).

Tennent's Lager Lovelies

Beers cans featuring women in their underwear – only in the 60s could such a marketing idea fly to promote a lager brand, although it did last a couple of decades through to the 80s.

Fondly remembered by many who enjoyed a tipple back in the day in Scotland, the idea is one that would surely provoke much consternation if the brand were ever to consider a relaunch in this day and age.

Pot Noodle – Peel the Top off a Hottie

Pot Noodle is definitely not a brand that would bring to mind the image of a scantily clad young lady for any consumer. Even one that did want to try its Piri Piri flavoured range.

Asking the question which got the consumer hotter – the snack or a girl taking her top off in a deserted bus (we assume the budget ran out quite early on) would certainly draw attention, and we understand what the agency, Billington Cartmell, was hinting at with the strapline 'Peel the top off a hottie' – but it almost feels as though they wanted the resulting controversy.

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18 complaints were received by the ASA, with advert being described as "offensive, sexist and degrading to women".

Hardee's – Cod Fish Sandwich

So Hardee's wanted to promote its new Cod Fish sandwich, but must have run out of ideas how, or got its scripts mixed up with an ad meant for Ambre Solaire.

The ad showed a bikini-clad blonde frolicking on the beach before producing a massive Cod sandwich and choking down while widening her already open legs in the direction of the camera.

Maybe it sold sandwiches, but we're certain it didn't do Hardee's family restaurant credentials any good whatsoever.

Ryanair – 2012 Calendar

This Ryanair ad to promote its annual calendar does nothing to promote the brand and is another campaign that provoked a negative response, but feels as though it was by design.

We're sure someone probably bought the 2012 calendar, if indeed such a thing did exist, however it's unlikely the airline's female staff will have been much impressed by it.

Last year, Ryanair announced that it was to turn a new leaf in an effort to become a brand customers actually liked. That this was its view of marketing beforehand, it's no wonder it is attempting a brand image overhaul.

What other sexist marketing campaigns have you seen over the years? Tell us about them in the comment section below or post a link and we may highlight more of them in the future.


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