Axe Deodorant Ad Banned for Being ‘Degrading’ to Women

The folks at Axe just can't win, can they?

First South Africa banned a commercial promoting the deodorant spray after a Christian viewer objected to its portrayal of sexy angels ditching their halos for the sake of a man.

Now, Britain's Advertising Standards Authority is cracking down on a new series of video ads from the brand (which is known as Lynx in the U.K.) on the grounds that they objectify women, the Daily Mail reports.

The online campaigns see lingerie-clad model Lucy Pinder in various provocative poses (flashing some serious breast and thigh as she pulls a turkey out of the oven, for instance) along with suggestive tag lines like "What makes you prematurely perspire?"

The accompanying videos also see Pinder enjoying popsicles, washing a car, nearly making out with a busty blonde, licking whipped cream off her finger, and playing with a lightsaber. You get the idea.

"We considered that the various activities that Ms. Pinder carried out were presented in a sexually provocative way, and that alongside the focus on Ms. Pinder's cleavage … were likely to be seen as gratuitous and to objectify women," the ASA says in its ruling.

"We considered that ... the text ‘Can she make you lose control?’ … and the invitation to ‘Play with Lucy' ... would also be seen as degrading to women. We therefore concluded that the ads were likely to cause serious and widespread offense."

The advertising watchdog added that a poster featuring a model holding a bikini top to her body "clearly intended to imply that using the advertised product would lead to more uninhibited sexual behavior.

"We therefore considered that the poster would be seen to make a link between purchasing the product and sex with women and in so doing would be seen to objectify women."

While the Parliamentary All Party Group on Body Image has sparked an inquiry into the depictions of women in advertising, Axe's parent company Unilever denies any wrongdoing, saying the ads "were designed to be playful, sexy, and humorous but not to cause offense."

Back to the drawing board ...

Meanwhile, the ASA has also recently banned a swimsuit ad after deeming the model too thin.