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I Love Ugly pull sexist ad campaign

Friday 11th December 2015

I Love Ugly attempted to appease critics by releasing a new series of images featuring a clothed woman on a naked man’s chest.

Photo: Facebook / I Love Ugly

The local men’s fashion label that attracted extensive criticism for its “sexist” and “misogynistic” jewellery adverts has apologised for and pulled the campaign, following a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Earlier this month, I Love Ugly released a NSFW lookbook for their new range of men’s jewellery. The images featured a clothed man using various parts of a woman’s body as props to showcase the brand’s rings.

Following a social media backlash, the Auckland-based company attempted to appease critics by releasing a new series of images featuring a clothed woman on a naked man’s chest.

A complaint made to the ASA by R. White believed that the initial ads reinforced “damaging attitudes towards women”.

“Not only is the sexual appeal of a woman being used to sell a product which is unrelated to sex, but the relationship depicted is exploitative and degrading,” the submission reads. “The woman remains naked throughout the campaign, while the man is fully clothed. The man is clearly in control, the woman subservient, always passive, never active.”

The breakdown of the complaint, which can be viewed on the ASA website, stated that other complainants shared similar views.

I Love Ugly has now pulled the campaign and issued an apology. In a statement released today, the label said they take the complaints seriously and never intended to cause any offence.

“We take great pride in the standard of advertising we deliver, and have established brand guidelines and advertising sign-off processes which are designed to assist compliance with the Advertising Codes of Practice. In these circumstances, our internal policies were adhered to and the appropriate sign-off received.

“As an organisation, we constantly strive to evolve and challenge our audience, while staying true to our established brand and tenacious worldwide followers. However, causing offence to our audience is counter-productive and does not fit with the brand message we are trying to deliver.

“We believe the series of images took into account the prospective consumers of the I Love Ugly clothing range and wish to express that these were not intended to degrade, or objectify woman in any way.

“Provided the affected individuals who took offence accept our sincere apology and steps to rectify the issue, we expect this matter can be resolved amicably without need for further correspondence.”

The label also said they would undertake a review of their procedures and policies to ensure future compliance with the Advertising Codes of Practice.

The complaint has been ruled as “settled” by the ASA.



Join the discussion »

“What a non apology. They believe they did "right" (but did not intend to degrade..) they also refer to "affected individuals" implying only a few (rather than the masses) were offended or worse still they were "affected" which has a very negative connotation. This is the smug apology from the boy who snapped your bra too many times, forced to apologise by the teacher. Not one bit sincere. A woman is not a piece of meat to display your (ugly) wares on. And the "pubic mound" picture (not shown in media) was particularly offensive. It's not sexy, it's just UGLY thinking in so many senses of the word.

"We believe the series of images took into account the prospective consumers of the I Love Ugly clothing range and wish to express that these were not intended to degrade, or objectify woman in any way.

“Provided the affected individuals who took offence accept our sincere apology and steps to rectify the issue, we expect this matter can be resolved amicably without need for further correspondence.”” — Kim


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