A food firm accused of using sexist ads to promote its crisps has been banned from using the controversial posters of scantily clad models, it has been revealed.
Largo Foods, which makes Hunky Dorys, was told by the advertising watchdog to permanently remove ads of women rugby players in striking playing poses.
More than 300 people complained that the posters, which had been on roadside billboards and in newspapers before being pulled, were tasteless, offensive and degrading to women.
One poster featured an attractive model in a low-cut sports top and a strapline which read: "Are you staring at my crisps?"
The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) ruled the images had caused extensive public concern and ordered Largo not to publish them again and to permanently remove them from the company website.
The watchdog said scores of individuals and groups found the ads unacceptable on a variety of grounds including exploitation of sexuality and use of provocative images to attract attention.
Some complainants claimed women were being used as sex objects while others considered the campaign "demeaning to women who like to participate in sports and insulting to their integrity".
The Rape Crisis Network Ireland branded the campaign: "Cynical and unhelpful in terms of building a society that is free from sexual abuse and violence."
In its defence Largo claimed the ads had got unprecedented support throughout the country. "It was a simple, entertaining campaign with a timely, sporting angle that sought to appeal to all elements of society," it said.
Largo, which voluntarily pulled the ads when first criticised, also said the Hunky Dorys campaign was good natured and funny, presenting women in a sporting role. It said it had never been the intention to offend.