Out of Control Policy Blog

Not banning ugly, mandating it

Here's something that's about as infuriating as the article cited in Len's previous post–that is, infuriating in an equal-and-opposite kind of way.

In an effort to separate drinking from sexual conquests, British anti-booze nannies have banned the use of hunky actors in alcohol ads:

    Lambrini, the popular sparkling drink, is the first to suffer. Its manufacturers have complained after watchdogs rejected its latest campaign because it depicted women flirting with a man who was deemed too attractive.

    The offending poster featured three women "hooking" a slim, young man in a parody of a fairground game scene. Harmless fun to lead its summer campaign, Lambrini argued.

    But the Committee of Advertising Practice declared: "We would advise that the man in the picture should be unattractive – overweight, middle-aged, balding etc."

    The ruling continued: "We consider that the advert is in danger of implying that the drink may bring sexual/social success, because the man in question looks quite attractive and desirable to the girls. If the man was clearly unattractive, we think that this implication would be removed."

What?! That would make the booze-gets-you-chicks implication even stronger.

Say an impressionable British lad sees an ad in which a hunky model drinks Lambrini and gets chicks. He might assume that the model's hunkiness had something to do with him getting the chicks. If that same lad sees a slob drinking Lambrini and getting chicks he's more likely to think that there's something special in that drink that drives the ladies crazy. So in his mind it's the right drink that matters.

And since he considers being in good shape less important, CAP's approach might also make him less likely to exercise, something those pudgy Brits could use a bit more of.

When it comes to sexual harassment law observers have long suspected that ugly guys get more lawsuits than those with Pitt-like mugs (who just get more phone numbers). The British example looks like a case of the opposite–where policy discriminates in favor of the homely, in this case homely actors and models.

Here's more:

    The new CAP code instructs that "links must not be made between alcohol and seduction, sexual activity or sexual success". Romance and flirtation are not forbidden but adverts must not be aimed at the under-18s or use celebrities in a "sexy" or "cool" manner.

    The Bacardi adverts that turned Vinnie Jones into a "party animal" would now be banned, and the measure could affect George Clooney's 2.5million deal to advertise Martini.

    The similarly desirable Brad Pitt reportedly earned 4 million for his recent Heineken advert, which was shown mainly in America. However, the family-sized Peter Kay will presumably be approved to retain his John Smith's contract.

Whole article here; via Sploid.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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