An Australian TV ad for Ashley Madison, a ‘discreet’ service facilitating extramarital affairs among its clientele, has had an ad pulled from TV after a watchdog found it to be “demeaning and vilifying of women”.
The slot, showing legions of men singing that they are ‘looking for someone other than [their] wife’, raised complaints that it was discriminating and was degrading to both men and women.
The Ad Standards Board (ASB) ruled that the ad from the site, which purports to have more than 33 million registered – and anonymous – users worldwide, ruled that the slot was indeed demeaning to women.
As a result, the ad was pulled, although Business Insider noted that it remains available online.
The ASB said: “Following considerable discussion the majority of the Board considered that whilst current technology can involve swiping a screen the overall impression of this scene in the advertisement is of men flicking through a catalog of women and that this depiction strongly depicts women as a commodity to be bought and is demeaning and vilifying of women.
“The board also noted that the advertisement could potentially be discriminatory against men by suggesting that all men or husbands seek affairs.”
Avid Life Media, owning company of Ashley Madison, issued a response to the ruling: “Avid strives to work co-operatively and collaboratively with the board. While we don’t agree with the recent decision, we respect the board’s decision and will abide by it.
“We have decided to pull the ad and replace it with a different advertisement (which we believe will not receive nearly the same frequency of complaints).”
The website was launched in 2001 after two popular baby names 'Ashley' and 'Madison'. The firm has a history with controversial ads, sparking anger during the 2011 Super Bowl with its ‘Welcome to the Club’ spot.