HomeInsightsASA bans “mildly sexual” Tunnocks Tea Cakes ad because it objectified women

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The ASA has upheld a complaint that a poster for Tunnocks Tea Cakes showing a female tennis player putting a cake on her bare thigh was socially irresponsible. The poster appeared next to the SEC Hydro Arena in Glasgow to coincide with a charity tennis match and the teacake was obviously in lieu of a tennis ball. The poster showed the woman’s underwear and featured the text: “Where do you keep yours?” and “Serve up a treat”.

Although the poster was displayed opposite an arena hosting a tennis match, the ASA considered it bore no relevance to the advertised product. The ASA considered the phrase “serve up a treat” would be understood to be a double entendre, implying the woman featured in the ad was the “treat”, and considered this was likely to be viewed as demeaning towards women.

The ASA considered that although the image was only mildly sexual in nature, when combined with the phrase “serve up a treat” it had the effect of objectifying women by using a woman’s physical features to draw attention to the ad. As such, the ASA concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence and breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence). To read ASA Ruling on Thomas Tunnock Ltd (7 February 2018), click here.