woman to sell – France said NO

the French Advertising Regulation Authority (l’Autorité de régularisation professionnelle de la publicité – or the ARPP) just banned a billboard promoting a concert for singer Damien Saez. The ban was so controversial and strongly adhered to that even media publishers refused to sell the space for these ads (mainly outdoor media space, which is mostly managed by JCDecaux)

The ad was banned because is depicts the image of a naked woman in a supermarket trolley, the authority said that the image (photo by Jean-Baptiste Mindino) infringes the regulatory body’s recommendation with regards to imagery of human beings, they said:

“this image is degrading to women, because the woman is naked and in a supermarket trolley thus portraying her as goods for sale”

The regulations states that advertising cannot and shall not reduce the nature and image of a human being and in particular women, to the function of an object, and when nudity is used it is recommended that it’s representation cannot be interpreted as degrading.

What caused the heat this time was not banning this ad, but that the authority banned the replacement advert that was submitted to replace the naked woman in a trolley

translation of this replacement advert: “The Photo initially planned for this advert has been banned from the billboards of our public transport” (I am not using a direct translation as I think this version proves the point)

because of this double ban, outdoor media publishers decided not to sell the space to Saez choosing to stay out of the argument. Better be on the safe side of the authority. Saez on the other hand is outraged because he now accuses that same authority of censorship towards his artistic creativity……hhhmmmmmm not sure about this one, I think he meant freedom of speech

I see why the authority banned the 1st ad……but why are they still allowing everyone else to use scantily clad curvy bombshells to sell everything from shampoo to cars….is that not degrading? see these were never banned (I’m just adding 2 or the post will be too long to read)

Does the authority have too much to lose if they ban the heaps of ads with women objects in them? the authority does regulate the industry but at the same time it has to play it right or it will kill the industry…..imagine if they did play by the rules, over 75% of  ads will be banned meaning that millions will be lost in execution/planning/strategy work and a few other millions will be needed for the re-work…..this will in turn push advertisers to pump less money into the industry as it has too much at risk….or maybe it will push them to be cautious thus killing creativity then in turn the whole market to collapse from lack of funding and a dead creativity…….which will result in an authority making itself redundant as it will have nothing left to regulate.

I am not trying to find excuses for Saez, I agree women should not be used as object or degraded all for the name of advertising (even if we all know that those are usually the ones that bring bigger sales numbers), but I just don’t think it is fair to play by double standards since Saez being a singer/artist he wouldn’t have another album let’s say before at least another year if not longer so he would not need to produce advertising until then…..thus making him not too important -financially speaking-  to the advertising industry so they whack him on the head with the rules.

And what is it with banning the replacing advert……there was no woman or degradation on it, it didn’t even have a photo (FYI, reason given for banning the replacement was that “it made reference to the banned advert”)………………..could this be personal? does someone in that authority not like Saez’s music? did he not give out enough free tickets?

3 responses to “woman to sell – France said NO

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