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Watchdog slams 'gratuitous' advert

A promotion for a "lad's" holiday to Ayia Napa showing a woman clad in a skimpy bikini alongside the text "Awesome Views" has been slammed by a watchdog.

The photograph, which was displayed in the window of a men's clothing shop, featured only the woman's chest.

Another picture showed three girls posing provocatively for a camera. Text beneath it read: "Start 2011 with a bang!".

The images sparked 10 complaints on the grounds they were "offensive" and "objectified women". Those who voiced concerns also felt the promotion was "inappropriately placed" in the Officers Club window where it could be seen by children.

The advertisement - stating "Win a lads holiday to Ayia Napa" - appeared in all the company's UK stores.

The firm claimed it had received only a small number of objections which it said could be resolved by removing part of the imagery.

But the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled the promotion could not appear again in the same form.

"We considered that the sole focus on the woman's chest, in conjunction with the text "Awesome views", was likely to be seen as gratuitous and to objectify women," the regulator said. "We considered that the image was likely to cause serious offence to some and was not suitable to be displayed in an untargeted medium where it could be seen by children."

The Officers Club acknowledged the images were "mildly provocative" but said it did not consider them to be indecent, maintaining the advertisement was not intended to cause offence.

It said the promotion had been targeted at "fashion-conscious young males in the 16-30 age group" and the images were chosen to "reflect the nature of a so-called 'lad's' holiday to Ayia Napa ... and to attract the attention of our core consumer".

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