Adult toy shop forced to remove ad deemed too raunchy for radio

By Dominic Powell
SmartCompany
April 21, 2016
Click here to view original

Australian adult toy shop AdultShop.com has agreed to remove its latest radio advertisement from circulation after complaints from listeners were upheld by the advertising watchdog.

The company was advertising its new sex toy for women, named ‘The Womanizer’.

The Advertising Standards Board (ASB) deemed the advertisement was too raunchy for radio, ordering the company to not air it again.

In the commercial, a female voiceover uses language such as: “Channing Tatum softly kissing and sucking…until I explode…”

This suggestive script was the topic of the majority of complaints submitted to the board.

“I have heard the ad several times in the middle of the day whilst listening to the radio with my small children. I feel the content of the ad is more suited for late night when young children are not listening,” protested one listener.

The advertisement also compares the sound of ‘The Womanizer’ to other toys, with the female voiceover vocally replicating the differences.

“I feel that the level of reference to use of the sex toy is completely inappropriate for a main stream radio station, let alone at a time when children could be listening,” said a complainant.

“Try explaining that to a 9 year old.”

The shop’s saucy spruik had been part of the company’s March campaign and has not aired since that month.

In a response to the Ad Standards Board, AdultShop.com defended its ad, stating the company avoids any language that would engage children.

“If you listen to the commercial, you will see that there is no reference as to where ‘Channing Tatum’ is kissing and really up to the listener’s imagination,” said the company.

“There are many people who ‘explode and quiver like jelly’ while being kissed on the lips by someone they desire.”

“It is up to the listeners to decide where the kissing is taking place.”

The ASB disagreed, ruling the ad breached section 2.4 of the Advertiser Code of Ethics, which declares that advertisements “shall treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience.”

“Although the advertisement does not use explicit language it does put the idea or notion of explicit sexual activity to a broad audience which would lead to discussions about the content,” stated the ASB.

In response, AdultShop said it has advised its scriptwriter to be careful in the future, especially when sounds and deep breathing are used in the commercials.

Advertising expert Dr Lauren Rosewarne from the University of Melbourne told SmartCompany Australia has a long history of awkwardness pertaining to the advertisement of sex toys.

“This is a good example of the contentious beauty of the Australian system of self-regulation,” said Rosewarne.

“An ad that is clearly never going to last on air during the middle of the day is allowed to be broadcast right up until someone complains and the ASB adjudicates.”

SmartCompany contacted AdultShop but did not receive a response prior to publication.