Un-Lovable Lingerie Ads?

Jennifer Hawkins, clad in a red lacy bra by Lovable, holds and bites a stuffed rhino with the question, “Horny?” printed on it.

The lingerie ad was banned from Auckland International Airport back in January for being a “step too far,” but the Camberwell Advertising Standards Bureau disagreed saying, “there was nothing featured in (the) advertisement which discriminated against or vilified women”.

The clothing manufacturer, Gazal, the owner of the Lovable brand of lingerie said the advertisement showed Hawkins “as being in complete control. She is not submissive in her stance.”

In fact, this ad is one in a series of Hawkins hawking Lovable lingerie — each with plush toys.

The fact that she’s with such a toy was one of the the Camberwell Advertising Standards Bureau’s decisive factors. In their statement they noted that “while the advertisement was sexually suggestive, it also contained a playful play on words that, when coupled with the fluffy toy, detracted from the impact of the sexual element”.

The ‘outraged’ citizens complaints on the horny rhino ad alone (as near as I can tell) and complaints listed were:

“That the term ‘Horny?’ should be used on a billboard in such a public place as Burke Road, Camberwell, is of great concern,” said one of the complainants.

I’m no Aussie, but is ‘horny’ that big of a deal down there — err, Down Under — er, um, in Austrailia? Is the ad suggestive? Sure. Is it offensive? I don’t see it that way.

Another said the billboard “looks like an ad promoting a brothel . . . It can’t possibly be targeting women.”

First of all, poorly targeted advertising isn’t a community offense. Heaven knows I often wish it were; but it’s not.

Secondly, the series of ads does speak to men, but in a way which I think women can also respond to. It suggests a relationship with it’s playful manner — that a woman can be ‘cute’ and ‘girlish’ rather than a sex pot or pleasure toy. (I know men were more likely to see me in my lingerie before they were allowed to see my stuffed animal collection. Does that make me a slut? I think it shows that I may enjoy sex, take a few test rides, before I let him into my inner world of childhood memories and silly girlish tokens. But you can tell me if that makes me a slut or not. Let’s get back to the lingerie ads…)

What do you all think?

Is the rhino ad more offensive than the others?

Are any of the ads offensive?

Does the Lovable campaign target men not women?

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