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Hunky Dory defies web ban on sexy rugby ad

A crisp company is still featuring scantily clad rugby-playing women on its website despite a ban by the Republic of Ireland's advertising watchdog on its use of the offensive ads.

The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) ruled yesterday that ads for Hunky Dorys -- which provoked a record 300 complaints earlier this year -- had caused grave and widespread offence and should remain permanently withdrawn from all media, including the advertiser's website.

They said the ads were a grave breach of their code and it was open to them to take further sanctions against the company, which could include a fine or a requirement to submit all ads for approval prior to publication.

However, the Hunky Dorys website yesterday still contained numerous pictures similar to the ones complained of, with logos such as 'Hunky Dorys Scrum-ptious. Join in. Get Dirty'.

ASAI chief executive Frank Goodman said that although this "does not seem to be in the spirit of the ruling", the images and captions were not identical to the ones they had adjudicated on, so they were powerless to require them to be taken down.

"On issues of taste and decency, we can only act if we receive complaints from the public," he said, noting that it was also questionable whether this latest website material was an ad in the strict sense of the term.

It was the billboard posters rather than the website that provoked the record number of complaints to the ASAI, and in particular the ad of a woman in a very low-cut top with the caption "Are you staring at my crisps", which was no longer on the website, Mr Goodman said.

The ASAI was seeking clarification from Largo Foods, the makers of Hunky Dorys, over the numbers of posters that had been taken down before deciding on further sanctions.

The controversial ad campaign is said to have boosted Hunky Dorys sales by up to 17pc, and is not the first time Largo Foods has used racy ads to sell its crisps, with a 2005 campaign asking which scantily clad model you'd throw out of bed for eating Hunky Dorys.

The latest rugby-based advertising campaign drew complaints from both men and women with the common theme being that the ads were "offensive, exploitative, tasteless, degrading and sexist towards women".

Largo Foods in Co Meath argued that the ads were good natured and funny and had received unprecedented support throughout the country.

Source Irish Independent

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