This ad for Protein World — a diet supplement — caused more debate in Britain than any other ad this year.
After it first appeared in London underground stations during the summer, it was the subject of hundreds of complaints to the UK’s advertising watchdog regulator, mostly from people who believed it showed an unrealistic portrayal of a woman that might make other women feel their bodies were inferior.
Some called for ads that encourage women to become thinner to be banned, because they are sexist. MP Caroline Noakes has started a campaign to ban models appearing on fashion catwalks and clothing ads if they have a Body Mass Index of less than 18.
But … it could be worse, as these old ads show. Some of them are from major brands who doubtless cringe at what they did in the past.
Alcoa, 1953: Alcoa Aluminium's bottle caps open 'without a knife blade, a bottle opener, or even a husband.'
Pitney-Bowes, 1953: It's so easy to use that even a woman with 'no mechanical aptitude' can operate it.
VW, 1964: 'Women are soft and gentle, but they hit things … She can jab the hood. Graze the door. Or bump the bumper …'
Muriel, 1969: Tipalet wants you to know that cigarettes are made for men, but instantly attractive to women.
Mini, 1971: The caption below the ad reads, 'It makes driving as effortless as sleeping. Sleeping, Luv ... '
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