Complaints about 'creepy' Calendar Girls ad accused of 'promoting child sex' thrown out

The Advertising Standards Authority found the advertisement was not in breach of any codes.
The Advertising Standards Authority found the advertisement was not in breach of any codes. Photo credit: File/Shutterstock

"Risqué" or "creepy"? A Calendar Girls advertisement has elicited formal complaints from people concerned it was promoting child sex.

The complaints, which said the ad was "chauvinistic", "offensive" and "really creepy", have been thrown out by the advertising watchdog after it found the ad didn't breach any advertising codes.

The adult entertainment club's radio advertisement received two complaints about its voice-over, which stated: "Tandy is 21, Holly is 24, and they're sisters. See them at Calendar Girls or follow them on social.

"Calendar Girls, open until 6am, just... don't tell their dad. So, what’s on your calendar, boys, for tonight?"

Both complainants were concerned about the phrase "don't tell their dad", with one saying the line alludes to the idea that the women were still of an age where they would need permission from their parents.

"It's really sort of condoning and/or promoting child sex as a normality and acceptable behaviour, whether intentionally or not it really disgusts me," the complainant said.

The other complainant said the ad was "incredibly inappropriate" for children to be listening to.

"As a woman, I found it really creepy that they are advertising the 'new sisters at the venue and don't tell their Dad'. I find this chauvinistic and offensive," the complainant said.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which is a self-regulatory organisation that investigates breaches of advertising standards in New Zealand, ruled there were no grounds for the complaints to proceed.

The ASA chair said while the board acknowledged that some consumers may regard the services as exploitative of women, its role was to consider whether any codes were breached.

The board said it is legal in New Zealand to advertise adult entertainment services and the content of the ad didn't reach the threshold to cause serious or widespread offence.

"In the context of an advertisement for adult entertainment, the phrase used in the advertisement, while being suggestive, was not overly explicit or obscene," the ruling said.

"The reference to keeping their profession a secret from their father was probably designed to make their work seem more risqué and appealing to the target audience."

The chair said both women in the ad were described as adults and the ad was played between 9am and 3pm, and 7pm to midnight, but not during breakfast or Drive programmes when children were more likely to hear it.