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Birchwood Price Tools slammed for sexist advert

Birchwood Price Tools, part of the BSS Group and Travis Perkins, has had an advert banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for breaching its Codes of Practice.

The advert concerned the company’s promotion of its Scruffs safety footwear and work wear brand. The WIN THE NIGHT BEFORE ad showed a tradesman opening the van door to find his colleague amidst the aftermath of a party – accompanied by two women, one of whom was in her underwear.

The company argued that the objective of the ad was to promote the competition in good humour and that many of their ads used double entendres and innuendo to create a ‘Carry-On’ style humour. They stated that this was illustrated through the strap line “It’s Gonna Get Dirty”, which alluded to the tradesmen getting soiled on site during the course of their working day.

The ASA noted the ad was intended to be a tongue-in-cheek representation of the morning after an “ultimate lads’ bash”, which was the prize that was the subject of the ad. However, it considered that consumers would interpret the portrayal of the woman in back of the van, particularly the woman in her underwear, as a suggestion that they had played a sexual role in the “lads’ night out”.

It also considered that this was further implied by the text “IT’S GONNA GET DIRTY”, which would be understood by consumers to be a reference to sexual activity that was likely to take place.

It concluded that, in the context of a promotion for work-related clothing, the portrayal of the women within such a strong sexual context was demeaning and offensive and that the ad was therefore unsuitable for public display.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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