The Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) has banned a real estate network’s outdoor advertisement for breaching the advertising code of conduct.
The billboard for Professionals Real Estate featured an image of man, shot from behind wearing a coat, socks and shoes, and holding his coat open next to the words, “Expose Yourself!”
One complainant wrote to the ASB, “I find this ad offensive. It is using a criminal offence to sell property. Real estate companies should not have to resort to this type of advertising. Exposing yourself should be condemned. It is a grubby sign. Children should not have to see this ad, which is on a main road.”
In a written response to the complaint, Professionals Real Estate said the advertisement was produced with a “play of words” concept due to the high level of exposure that the property for sale offers.
“The content and graphic used was in no way designed to cause offence and was in no way deemed inappropriate or of any sexual nature, nor is there any nudity portrayed," they stated.
“After discussion with the complainant, we have made the decision that we will remove the signboard in question and that it will be replaced without the graphic at the centre of this complaint.”
The ASB determined that the advertisement depicted material that was contrary to community standards on safety and therefore a breach of the Advertiser Code of Ethics.
According to the ASB, the image was consistent with a depiction of ‘flashing’.
“The Board [ASB] noted that this is a depiction of behaviour which is illegal and that the text, ‘expose yourself’ was condoning if not encouraging such behaviour.
“The Board [ASB] considered that the suggestion of ‘flashing’ is clearly intended, in the context of the real estate signage, to relate to the property and its marketing. However, the Board considered that the depiction and suggestion of condoning ‘flashing’ is a depiction of material that is contrary to prevailing community standards on health and safety.”
Head of Professionals' project marketing division, Brian Brady told Real Estate Business the intention of the ad was to promote a commercial property in Enoggera where the billboard had been placed.
“It’s a road in Brisbane which carries about 40,000 cars a day and it’s not in a predominantly commercial area ... Therefore, we had to make it very clear that firstly, you could a run business from it and that secondly, the benefit of it would be that you would be exposing yourself,” he said.
“Our own requirements are not to offend anyone, so the minute we were aware of the complaint, we removed it.”
Prior to putting the billboard up, it had been viewed by staff members, family members and past clients of various age groups.
“Not one of those people found anything offensive about it,” said Mr Brady
Mr Brady said he would be second-guessing future advertisements as to how they could be read by people.