The pharmaceutical company Genus has been found in breach of an advertising code after it used a ‘sexually charged’ image for the promotion of its emollient cream.
The advert under question was for an eczema cream called Cetraben, produced by Genus. The advertisement featured the back view of a young woman walking down a city street with the wind appearing to have lifted her short skirt to reveal red and white polka dot underwear. The headline on the advert stated: ‘Confidence to live life their way*’ followed beneath by the tag-line: ‘*However that might be’.
A complaint was made about the content of the advert by a medical doctor to a pharmacy body based in the UK, which enforces a code for the advertising of pharmaceutical products (the ABPI, Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry). The matter was then referred to the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMPCA).
The PMPCA ruled that the advertisement for the Genus product was “offensive and degrading due to its sexual and titillating picture”. Under PMPCA guidelines it is unacceptable to “display naked or partially naked people for the purpose of attracting attention and the use of sexual imagery for that purpose”.
InPharm notes that Genus did not agree with the complaint and instead argued that the woman photographed was only embarrassed that her skirt had blown up in the wind - and to demonstrate that because of successful treatment on her eczema, she now had the confidence to wear a skirt and not cover her legs. However, in the end, Genus was told to comply with the code.
In response the complaint, Genus did not pull the advert completely. However, the advert was updated to comply with the Code, removing the view of the underwear, whilst also slightly lengthening the skirt worn by the model.
Genus Pharmaceuticals is engaged in supplying of selected branded and generic medicines. The company focuses on the areas of dermatology, pain management and tuberculosis.
What is and what is not a ‘sexist’ advert has long been a matter of debate, as a previous article in The Daily Mail indicates.