Anatomy-hugging Speedo raises eyebrows

13 February 2018 - 15:58 By Petru Saal
Tiffany Bredeveldt lodged a formal complaint at the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) against the advert by Homemark which was promoting its air-o-space lounger.
Tiffany Bredeveldt lodged a formal complaint at the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) against the advert by Homemark which was promoting its air-o-space lounger.
Image: 123RF/Rafael Ben-Ari

There is nothing per se offensive about the fact that men have genitals that are sometimes “slightly apparent” when they wear swimming costumes.

That‚ in a nutshell‚ was the response to a complaint by a viewer about a pool lounger television commercial featuring a man in an anatomy-hugging white Speedo.

Tiffany Bredeveldt lodged a formal complaint at the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) against the advert by Homemark which was promoting its air-o-space lounger. The male character’s privates‚ she said‚ were clearly visible in the wet Speedo. The advert‚ she argued‚ was “offensive and not suitable for children”.

The ASA explained its ruling by saying that it had to be viewed “holistically and not from a hyper-sensitive point of view”.

“The commercial is a busy commercial with many scenes of various people enjoying the advertised product‚ which is a pool lounger. As such‚ it features people in swimming costumes‚ which the directorate finds to be entirely product relevant. The commercial is a 29 second commercial and the scene in question lasts for approximately 3 seconds. In addition‚ the scene is shot from above‚ and the man in question takes up only part of a busy screen. There is no focus on his genital area and it is in no way drawn to the hypothetical reasonable viewer’s attention‚” the ruling reads.

The ASA said it had to rewind the footage at least five times to fully appreciate the objection.

“It is highly unlikely that a child watching the commercial‚ or indeed any viewer‚ will notice the image. Having found the image in question‚ the directorate concedes that it is somewhat unfortunate – however‚ the directorate is not convinced that this is not due to shadowing rather than the man’s actual anatomy.”

The judgment went on to say there was nothing in the commercial that would not be visible at the beach or a swimming pool in a real life situation. “There is nothing per se offensive about the fact that men have genitals that are sometimes slightly apparent when they wear swimming costumes.”

The complaint was dismissed.

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