PART II: Italian Advertising SRO Cracks Down On Gender Stereotypes And Sexism

Author:Dr. Felix Hofer (Hofer Lösch Torricelli)
Profession:Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance (GALA)

In a recent post I have reported about how gender stereotypes and sexism in commercial communication are resulting in an issue of growing concern throughout Europe. In Italy, the local Advertising Self-Regulation Organization (I.A.P.), aware of the problem, has also dedicated increasing attention to the problem. During the last months temporary injunctions have halted several campaign messages perceived as incompliant with the standards of fair and correct marketing. The President of the IAP's Review Board - entitled to act, ex officio, against advertising infringing on the Self-Regulation Code (CAP) - issued a cease and desist injunction against commercials promoting a tea beverage. The questioned commercials showed a small boy sweating over his math homework accompanied by the headline "When Math result incomprehensible, try the magic taste of [beverage XYZ]". After drinking the beverage, they boy appears at the blackboard in the features of Einstein. The female version of the commercial presented a girl in her pink colored room busy with selecting her dress of the day under the headline "If you struggle to find the right look, try the magic taste of [beverage XYZ]". The injunction found the scenarios of the girl struggling with dress picking and matching the right colors, while the boy is busy with a math test, as excessively stereotypic, discriminating gender and contrary to the principles of human dignity. Another injunction took issue with an outdoor ad of a tires' seller, showing a girl in micro-shorts (with not much left to imagination as to her B-side), leaning against a tractor and throwing bedroom eyes all over whoever would look at the poster. The SRO considered that 'commodification' of women occurred and 'product relevance' was totally lacking with respect...

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