An estate agent’s adverts featuring a topless man wearing tight boxer shorts has landed the firm in trouble with the advertising watchdog.
The image was cropped so that only the man’s torso and thighs were visible.
The caption said in capital letters: “WOW! WHAT A PACKAGE!”
A roundel containing the text “Fully managed letting service” was placed over the model’s crotch.
The advert, by Coventry-based Lewis Oliver Estates, was carried on a poster and in a leaflet, and drew two complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority.
Both complainants said the image was irrelevant to the service being advertised and objectified the man. They found the advert offensive.
Lewis Oliver Estates told the ASA that they had not meant to offend anyone and the adverts were intended as light-hearted fun.
They had not received any complaints directly, and would be happy to change the billboard in 12 weeks’ time when it was due for renewal.
The ASA upheld the complaint.
It said the image bore no relation to the service being advertised.
In today’s published ruling, the ASA says: “While the pose was only mildly suggestive in nature, we noted that the man’s head was cropped out of the picture, which invited viewers to focus on his body.
“We considered that the phrase “WOW! WHAT A PACKAGE”, in combination with the service information placed over the model’s crotch, was a clear reference to male genitalia.
“Taking the image, strapline and placement of the roundel into account, we considered that the ad was likely to have the effect of objectifying the man by using his physical features to draw attention to an unrelated product.
“We concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence to some people.”
The ASA has told Lewis Oliver Estates not to use the adverts again and not to portray men in a manner that objectified them and was likely to cause offence.