Volley pull safe sex campaign following ACL complaints

Shoe manufacturer Volley have voluntarily removed their entire #grassroots campaign after the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) ruled some of the images utilised were too sexual.

The campaign which aimed to bring attention to safe sex was heavily criticised by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) who argued that children and unsuspecting clients could inadvertently be exposed to the risque campaign which was hosted on the company’s website.

The Advertising Standards Bureau had previously ruled that a video associated with the campaign that was emailed to Volley’s contacts contained too much sexual imagery.

The ASB ruled that Volley’s customers could not have reasonably expected to receive the material in their in-boxes. Volley had previously agreed not to utilise the material in any further email campaign, but the ACL launched a campaign to have all the material removed from the company’s site.

In it’s latest finding the ASB has agreed that some of the images and the video contain too much sexualised content when accessed against the advertising industry’s code of conduct.

While the majority of images in the campaign were ruled not to be excessively sexualised, Volley has decided to remove them all from their website.

The company had previously defended the appropriateness of the campaign which featured straight and same-sex couples, even launching a second wave of the campaign on Valentine’s Day.

The ACL has chalked the report up as a win in their campaign to make all advertising G-rated. Celebrating the decision the organisation said it had ensured the “obscene” images had been removed and shown that Volley was no longer a “responsible corporate citizen”.

Wendy Francis, the group’s spokesperson for Women and Families, said the campaign had shown “naked people in sexual positions” in an attempt to sell shoes.

The ACL said the case showed the ABS was an ineffective mechanism for dealing with non-compliant advertising. The group has argued that self-regulated compliance does not work in the industry and a more stringent compliance system is needed.

“Despite being found in breach of the code last year, Volley continued to target kids with their advertising which included full nudity and sexually explicit messaging,” Francis said.

Francis called on the federal government to change the law so that serial offenders like Volley Australia are fined for breaching the advertising code. Francis said the ABS was too slow in addressing complaints noting that there was a month long gap between her complaint being submitted and the findings being published.

“For an entire month, Volley were given a free kick to continue to sexualise our children,” Ms Francis said.

“And when the ASB ruled against Volley – for a second time on this ad campaign – there was no penalty, no fine, no nothing,” Francis said.

Lyle Shelton, Managing Director of the ACL has called on Volley to apologise for their campaign and issue a specific apology to Francis.

The company send a tweet to Francis saying “Thanks for rooting for us” in response to her efforts to have their advertising banned. Shelton said the message was offensive and misogynistic.

OIP Staff

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