One of the models featured in the now infamous Hunky Dorys crisps ad campaign has admitted that she's shocked by the controversy they’ve caused.
Lian Schreuder, the Belgian blonde featured as one of the ‘team captains’ in the racy ads which appeared on billboards this week, said she didn't find the context sexist at all — and was taken aback by the reaction.
The pictures were taken in Miami earlier this year by the world-renowned Walter Iooss Jr, who regularly works with Sports Illustrated magazine.
And 21-year-old Lian, who is currently based in Holland, said she was just thrilled with the opportunity to work with one of the world's best known snappers.
“It was actually a lot of fun shooting,” she said, adding: “I just heard about it (the controversy) yesterday. I’m shocked because I didn't see it as being sexist at all, I just had a lot of fun doing it.
“I just put the outfit on and started playing, I was actually covered in bruises because I was so into it at the time.”
Although Ms Schreuder admitted she had never tried her hand at rugby before, she is now hooked on it — and says she’d like a break in Ireland some time soon.
“I didn’t know too much about the game before the photoshoot, but now I've been playing all the time with my friends,” she said.
Raymond Coyle, chief executive of Hunky Dorys parent company Largo Foods, said he too was surprised at the negative reaction and said the feedback he had received had been positive.
Largo, based in Ashbourne, Co Meath, claimed that the reference to Irish rugby — which has prompted a threat of legal action from the Irish Rugby Football Union — merely alluded to the fact that the company sponsors the Navan rugby team.
Whether the ad campaign, which has generated more headlines than the company could ever have hoped for, actually sells more crisps remains to be seen.
But Richard Delevan, deputy managing director at McConnnels Integrated, says it has achieved its first aim of positioning the brand at the forefront of the public consciousness.
“Any slice of attention, anything that creates a buzz, can be worthwhile. The fact that we’re talking about it means the campaign has done its job,” he said.