Wakefield company has‘Sexist’ ads banned by watchdog

Eric France 'Censored' advert
Eric France 'Censored' advert

A SCRAP metal firm’s controversial adverts have been banned.

Scantily-clad women promoting the services of Eric France Scrap Metal Merchants have been a regular sight on the back of the district’s buses and billboards for around five years.

But a watchdog has ruled that some of the adverts portrayed women as sexual objects and bore no relation to the advertised product.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) received five complaints against seven adverts which were displayed on buses in April.

Its ruling said the adverts were sexist and demeaning to women and likely to cause offence.

The ruling said: “We considered that the sexually provocative poses of the women in the ads had the effect of making them appear sexually available.

“This was further heightened by the text ‘KERCHING! GET MORE CASH FOR YOUR SCRAP AT ERIC FRANCE SCRAP METAL MERCHANTS’ which, alongside the images of women in their underwear, implied that the women were sexually available in exchange for cash from scrap.

“We therefore considered that the women in the ads were portrayed as sexual objects or commodities that could be purchased.”

Blue Pencil Writers, which designed the adverts for Eric France, did not consider the images to be sexist or demeaning and believed the connection between them and the product was strong, the ruling said.

The advertising firm explained that idea was to show how recycling of scrap metal could pay for a positive, enjoyable and fun lifestyle.

The adverts were also intended to appeal to a much smaller female audience by suggesting money from scrap metal could bring “a touch of glamour to their lives, for example, beachwear and holidays”.

A spokesman for Blue Pencil Writers said he accepted that the use of models had no relationship to scrap metal and the firm’s response to the ASA was “somewhat tongue in cheek”.

He said: “The truth is, the target market is mostly professional tradespeople, men between 18 and 50, and they like looking at attractive women. Whether it’s right or wrong is not my position to decide, I just want to get the best result for the client.

“I am sure, in fact, that there is a radical feminist view that pornographic imagery of women far from being demeaning and sexist, is in fact empowering and positive – there’s an argument for everything if you look hard enough

“Perhaps the use of scantily clad women doesn’t relate to scrap, but what does a gorilla playing the drums have to do with chocolate? A gorilla in scanty underwear perhaps would have been banned.”

The ASA ruled that seven adverts must not appear again in their current form or in an untargeted medium.