AUSTRALIA: Ad Regulators Think Serious is Too Sexy

AMBER VERNETTI WRITES — It wasn’t too much skin, but too little smile that led Australian advertising authorities to can a provocative billboard last week.

The ad, promoting Ella Bache skincare products, featured three nude women with straight poker faces beneath the catchphrase, “Skin Solutions As Individual As You Are.” An amended version of the advertisement, including the same models and poses as the previous version, was accepted since the women were smiling.

Ella Bache’s marketing manager, Samantha Bragg, said that the models’ seriousness (aside from their nudity), made them appear too sexual and “come hither” to male onlookers.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the refusal to display the billboard was executed by Charmaine Moldrich and Emma Luttrell, chief executive and senior policy consultant respectively of Outdoor Media Australia. Together, they monitor ad content to ensure it’s presented to the public in an appropriate and tasteful manner. The decision to veto the initial submission is in keeping with increasingly rigid guidelines proposed in 2010 by the Advertising Standards Bureau, a body that tracks down any publicity that goes against the more straight-laced standards.

The acceptance of the edited ad was due to the fact that the happy-looking models appeared “empowered and comfortable in their skin,” rather than “naked and sexualized,” said Moldrich. In this new age of avoiding content that may come across as offensive, companies are practicing a higher level of self-editing when advertising their commodities to potential consumers. Instead of that renowned model solemnity, you can expect more carefree smiles in future ads.

The rejected ad.
The rejected ad.


The approved, 'happy' ad.
The approved, ‘happy’ ad.


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