Australians Clampdown on Sexual Images used in Outdoor Advertisements

Posted by: Richard Williams | Posted on: | 0 Comments

The Australian Advertising Media Association, the outdoor advertising industry body, is considering a code of practice to regulate images of sex and sexuality on outdoor billboards including outdoor digital signage.

The code of practice is being considered following a review in the Australian parliament, assessing the effect of sexual images on children and how these images effect issues of equality.

A spokesperson for Australian’s Outdoor Media Association said:  “As a result of the inquiries we have now started educating our members about when sex, sexuality or nudity are not appropriate for the broad audience that will view outdoor advertisement.”

The issue of appropriate content is an interesting one as different cultures and countries have widely differing views on the subject. In many continental European countries, for example, nudity and mild sexual images are the norm in many outdoor advertising campaigns, and yet in the middle-east, and in more conservative cultures, such imagery could create outrage.

It’s also interesting when you consider how successful sexual images still are in the world of outdoor advertising and outdoor digital signage. In the UK, the Outdoor Media Centre has just finished a poll of the most successful advert for the last fifty years. The winner, a bra advert featuring a semi-nude model, and the suggestive strap-line: ‘Hello Boys.’

This poll clearly demonstrates the old adage that sex sells, and the Wonderbra adverts wasn’t just visually successful, it was responsible for selling an awful amount of bras, but getting the balance between glamour and offensive titillation can be difficult, especially with so many different cultures and attitudes.

Because of outdoor digital signage is a recent innovation, many countries are struggling to identify who should be in charge of regulation and control. In Australia, this code of conduct may be enough to prevent more formal regulation, however, in the UK, outdoor digital signage is now regulated by the Advertising  Standards Authority that also govern advertisements on television, radio and in the press, ensuring that outdoor advertisements falls within recommended standards.

Sex Sells–Wonderbra's advert voted best of the last 50 years

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