Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Irish rugby club sponsor Hunky Dorys ad ‘degrades women’

Controversial: The new ad campaign for Hunky Dorys crisps
Controversial: The new ad campaign for Hunky Dorys crisps
Controversial: The new ad campaign for Hunky Dorys crisps

An ad campaign for crisps featuring scantily clad girls playing rugby has been branded sexist.

The new Hunky Dorys crisp campaign, from Largo Foods, features beautiful female ‘rugby players’ in revealing poses. The ads will be placed on bus shelters and billboards across Northern Ireland.

But equal rights campaigner Kellie Turtle wants a rethink.

The editor of the soisaystoher blog, who is studying for an MA in Gender and Society at Queen’s University, Belfast, said: “We are living in a society that is trying to promote gender equality and these sort of sexist images encourage people to view women as a sum of their body parts.

“Women deserve to be treated with respect and the international obligations to portray women in the media are not being met.

“Our self-regulatory advertising authority is failing women. Companies like Largo who choose to repeatedly disregard the guidelines are allowed to get away with it. We need a system that will mean proper accountability for companies who think that when appealing to a male market, it’s ok to degrade women.”

Two earlier campaigns by Meath-based Largo Foods were reported to the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland and upheld in 2005 and again in 2006.

Raymond Coyle, chief executive of Largo Foods, said: “The ads are all over Ireland and I’m sorry if some people are offended. We thought it was a good way to put our brand out there. We are sponsors of the Navan Rugby team and we don’t think the ads are sexist or too provocative. Walter Iooss, the photographer for Sports Illustrated, took the photographs and we think they are very good.”

An Irish Rugby Football Union spokesman said: “The IRFU has no association with the advertising campaign, as the product being advertised is not an official partner or sponsor of the IRFU and Irish Rugby. Any purported links to the IRFU, Irish Rugby and the Ireland Rugby Team are totally incorrect. The advertisement is currently being reviewed to decide if this infringes on the commercial rights of the IRFU.”

The United Nations Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women has called on decisive action to tackle objectification it links to stereotypes and prejudices based on gender. It has identified links between the portrayal of women as sex objects with attitudes underpinning violence and discrimination against women.

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