Renault’s recent YouTube advert has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority following a complaint about sexism.
The advert shows two men taking the car for a test drive. After pressing the ‘Va Va Voom’ button, a screen depicting a Parisian scene drops in front of the car, before a group of women then walk in front of the car, wearing burlesque-style lingerie.
The women dance in a line in front of the car before walking towards it and gyrating and dancing around it. One woman is seen to blow a kiss to the driver, before the screen widens out to show a billboard that reads: “Reignite your Va Va Voom”.
The complaint is said to have challenged whether the advert was offensive, because she felt it objectified women.
The ASA has ruled that the advertisement must not appear in its current form again after breaching its code.
Its ruling said: “We were concerned that the ad featured a number of shots of the women’s breasts and bottoms, in which their heads were obscured, and which we considered invited viewers to view the women as sexual objects. We further considered that the choreography, dress and facial expressions of the dancers were sexually provovative and that the overall impression given was not necessarily that of a parody of a cabaret show such as the Moulin Rouge, particularly as the women were seen to approach the car and gyrate around it, rather than merely perform in front of it.
“We considered that the ad objectified the dancers by portraying them as sexual objects and that it was therefore likely to cause serious or widespread offence,” it concluded.
YouTube has confirmed that the advert did not violate their Community Guidelines or Advertising Policies, but that it was the advertiser’s responsibility to ensure that any ad complied with the CAP code (UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing) and was targeted appropriately.
Renault told the ASA that “they felt they were dressed in typical Parisian style and that the choreography was a rhythmical send up of the burlesque style, rather than overtly sexual. They advised that the video had been viewed over three million times and they were unaware of any other complaints.”