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UK ad for 'world's thinnest phone' banned for objectifying women

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A TV ad for a smartphone claiming to be the world's thinnest has been banned in the UK for objectifying women. The ad for the Kazam Tornado 348 shows a woman in her underwear getting dressed, pulling on a pair of jeans and ironing her shirt only to discover the smartphone in one pocket. After receiving complaints about the ad, the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned it, ruling that it was "sexually suggestive" and "likely to cause serious offense."

"The focus on the woman bore no relevance to the advertised product."

The ASA's ruling said that "much of the ad focused entirely on the actor in her underwear, including scenes that featured several close-up shots that lingered over her breasts, buttocks and lips." It added that the sexual nature "was heightened by the suggestive nature of the music and voiceover and further reinforced because the focus on the woman bore no relevance to the advertised product."

An advert for a smartphone.

Kazam argued that the ad was simply illustrating a well-known scenario, that of ironing your clothes in your underwear before going out. It added that the ad's message was that its smartphone was so slim that the actor did not notice that she was ironing it. Leaving aside the plausibility of this (or indeed the fact that the Tornado 348 is not even the thinnest smartphone on the market), the advert itself is clearly ridiculous. For the fifty seconds that the actor is on-screen the smartphone only appears in ten of them, and the focus on her body (who doesn't take the time to sexily touch themselves while getting dressed?) is egregious and just plain dumb. The tech market has a bad reputation when it comes to objectifying women because it's a real problem — ads like this don't help.