Sexual ad to sell children’s drink raises hackles

August 27th, 2008 - 2:36 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 27 (IANS) An overtly sexual television advertisement for a children’s drink has raised the hackles of activist groups, but Britain’s regulatory body says it’s only a question of taste and decency.The advert for Orangina drink, which makes men’s magazine advertisements look conservative in comparison, features scantily dressed anthropomorphised gazelles, giraffes and flamingos in overtly sexualised scenes, apparently energised by the drink.

It was first screened on Aug 1 on the E4 channel during the “How to Look Good Naked” programme, and is being shown after 9 p.m. throughout August.

It has generated a wave of criticism since it hit British TV screens, with viewers, children’s charities and equal rights groups up in arms over its sexual - and, some believe, sexist - content.

“Orangina is a drink which is mainly aimed at children and young people, but this new advert places the product in a very sexualised and provocative context” says Claude Knights, director of children’s charity Kidscape.

“The almost sinister portrayal of animals in an animation style filled with sexual innuendo leads to very mixed and confused messages,” says Knights. “Kidscape’s main concern is that this is yet another example of the blatant use of sexual images to sell products to young people,” The Independent quoted her as saying.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has received 147 complaints about the advert. “We are looking at the complaints, and haven’t made a decision about whether or not to investigate yet; this is a question of taste and decency,” says Olivia Campbell, a spokesperson for the ASA.

The advert was created by French agency FFL Paris and first screened in France.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group, which owns the brand, was unavailable for comment, but the makers of the advert say that it is conceived around the idea of “pulpeuse”, which in French means both “containing pulp” and also “voluptuous” or “sexy”.

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