Ad watchdog bans potentially offensive car ad for sexually objectifying women

The ASA bans Strasse Garage ad for objectifying women

The second-hand Porsche dealer Strasse Garage has been landed with an ad ban from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after it received a complaint that it was degrading and sexist towards women.

The ad appeared in the 911 and Porsche World Magazine and featured a provocative image of a woman underneath a car.

In the ad, the model wears a tight-fitted skirt and high heels, surrounded by car tools and a handbag. With her head obscured, the woman has one leg bent, revealing her upper thigh and crotch, which could read as overtly sexual and objectifying to women.

The words 'attractive servicing' is printed across her crotch, which is covered by opaque black tights.

The ASA received one complaint regarding the ad. The complainant believed that the ad was degrading and sexist towards women, and challenged whether it was offensive and irresponsible.

In its defence, Strasse said the model was fully clothes in leggings and a tunic, and she was empowered by the addition of power tools.

It argued the term 'attractive' referred to the attractiveness of its prices versus competitors.

Despite Strasse's justifications, the ASA decided to ban the ad.

Despite the publishers of Porsche World Magazine claiming the phrase 'attractive servicing' was a "clever play on the attractive rates offered by Strasse," the ASA argued it would be understood as a double entendre that implied the woman featured in the ad was the 'attractive' part of the servicing.

While it considered the image was only mildly sexual in nature, it felt that combined with the phrase 'attractive servicing' it had the effect of objectifying women by using a woman's physical features to draw attention to the ad.

Concluding that the ad objectified women and was likely to cause offence to some people, the car dealer was told that the ad must not appear again in its current form, and it must ensure its advertising is socially responsible in the future.

The ASA has been active over recent years in breaking down gender stereotypes in ads.

Late last year, the ad watchdog cemented a new rule regarding gender stereotypes in ads.

Following an extensive public consultation, from June, the ASA said ads that portray gender tropes that are likely to cause harm, or serious widespread offence, will be banned.

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