Cream advert image

Genus reprimanded for ‘sexual and titillating’ advert

pharmafile | August 15, 2012 | News story | Sales and Marketing ABPI, Genus, PMCPA, breach, eczema 

Genus has been found in breach of the ABPI Code after using a sexually charged image for the promotion of its emollient cream.

The breach comes after a GP complained to the PMCPA – the body that enforces the Code – that an advertisement for Genus’s eczema cream Cetraben was “offensive and degrading due to its sexual and titillating picture”.

The advertisement featured the back view of a young woman walking down a city street with the wind appearing to have lifted her short skirt to reveal red and white polka dot underwear.

The headline read: ‘Confidence to live life their way*’ followed beneath by ‘*However that might be’.

Genus has since updated the image (pictured) to comply with the Code, removing the view of the underwear, whilst also slightly lenghtening the skirt. 

The complainant stated that he “despaired of the industry’s standards and culture” given that such an advertisement should be considered appropriate.

The PMCPA agreed saying that this breached Clause 9.2 of the Code, which states it was unacceptable to “display naked or partially naked people for the purpose of attracting attention and the use of sexual imagery for that purpose”.

Genus argued that the woman photographed was only embarrassed that her skirt had blown up in the wind – and to demonstrate that because of successful treatment on her eczema, she now had the confidence to wear a skirt and not cover her legs.

The firm added that it had taken Clause 9.2 into account when considering the image, but believed that it was suitable for its intended audience, which are mainly adults and doctors.

But the PMCPA said that female adults and children would also be using this cream, and found that it was in fact likely to cause offence given this demographic.

It ruled that the UK firm was using naked flesh to promote a product, which is barred under Clause 9.2 – a breach was ruled.

Ben Adams

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