Here's a picture of the advert that appeared in two UK newspapers. I'll let you decide for yourself on this one. What do you think? Is this good advertising? Is this okay? Ladies in particular, do you want to fly with Ryanair now? Better yet, are you inclined to work for them now?
The folks who get to decide what adverts get banned are the ASA: The Advertising Standards Authority. They don't only make decisions about the sex-factor, but also keep a close eye on advertising for alcohol and tobacco, adverts directed at children, and female body-image among other issues that arise.
Recently, the ASA banned a L'Oreal advert featuring Rachel Weisz. Here it is:
They were advertising a product that supposedly makes your skin super-smooth. But in this image her face is digitally altered to make her skin look smooth. It's photoshop and not skin cream that achieves these results. The ASA says that is false advertising and will not allow it.
But what about those Ryanair girls? The women that appear in the adverts are actual cabin crew who volunteered to take part. So that's not FALSE advertising, right? It can't be offensive if the women wanted to do it, right? That's what Ryanair says, but the ASA disagrees.
Sexy is okay. After all, you don't have to work in advertising to know that sex sells! Sexist, however, is not okay. Let's look at two adverts by Axe that the ASA has reviewed. One was banned and one wasn't. I think this is the prefect precedent for the difference between sexy and sexist.
Here's the banned one:
This one wasn't banned:
Can you see the difference? There's actually an alternate version of that second one where the ladies in the end do move their hands. That was not approved for tele. Ok, so it is a fine line. But at the end of the day I think the ASA is a necessary organisation. I really think that most of the time they make the right call.
What do you think? Was it the right call to ban the Ryanair advert? Are there any other banned adverts that you think are unfair?