A “sexually provocative” TV perfume advert featuring pop star Beyoncé has been banned from airing in the daytime by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
However, the controversial ad, which shows the singer acting in a “sexually suggestive” way, will be allowed to be aired after 7.30pm.
Concerns have been raised about the damage done by a multitude of sexually explicit perfume ads that dominate in the run-up to Christmas.
Mike Judge, from The Christian Institute, said: “As Christmas approaches we are bombarded by inappropriate perfume adverts on TV, the high street and in our shopping centres.
“These ads only contribute to society’s sexualisation, which more and more people are speaking out against.
“Sexualisation damages all in society but in particular it puts pressure on young girls and women to conform to a ‘perfect’ body image.”
Mr Judge, who is Head of Communications at The Christian Institute, also commented: “The ASA took action against this advert after 14 people made complaints, which shows it only takes a handful of people to say something is inappropriate, and it can make a real difference.”
The ad, for Beyoncé Heat perfume, shows the singer wearing a revealing dress and dancing seductively.
The ASA said the singer’s body movements and “the camera’s prolonged focus” on shots of the singer’s body being exposed by the dress created an ad that was “unsuitable to be seen by young children”.
In its response to the complaints the ASA said several viewers had complained that children had seen the ad broadcast during the middle of the day.
Clearcast, which vets TV ads before there are aired, had given the ad an “ex-kids” restriction meaning it could not be shown directly around kids’ programmes, but the ASA said this had not gone far enough.
It said due to the “sexually provocative nature of the imagery”, the ad should not have been shown before 7.30pm and ruled the ad must not be broadcast again before that time.
However it rejected complaints that the advert was offensive, claiming that “in the context of marketing for perfume, the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to most viewers”.
Perfume company Coty attempted to defend the ad, saying it was consistent with, or even less graphic than, many music videos.
But earlier this year a top music producer warned that young children are being sexualised by provocative music videos which resemble soft pornography.
Mike Stock, who helped to launch the career of Kylie Minogue, said: “The music industry has gone too far. It’s not about me being old fashioned. It’s about keeping values that are important in the modern world.
“These days you can’t watch modern stars – like Britney Spears or Lady Gaga – with a two-year-old.
“Ninety-nine per cent of the charts is R ‘n’ B and 99 per cent of that is soft pornography.”
In February a Home Office-commissioned report recommended that music videos with sexually suggestive images and lyrics should be banned until after the TV watershed.
The report said: “Music channels and videos across all genres have been found to sexualise and objectify women.
“Women are often shown in provocative and revealing clothing and are depicted as being in a state of sexual readiness. Males on the other hand are shown as hyper-masculine and sexually dominant.”
Earlier this month Girlguiding UK delivered a 25,000 signature petition to Downing Street calling for the Government to act against computer-enhanced pictures in adverts and magazines.
The guides were calling for action to be taken on ‘airbrushed’ images, which includes slimming images down on a computer or retouching them to accentuate certain of the model’s features and make her skin look flawless.
Chief Guide, Liz Burnley CBE, said from research the group had carried out and from working with girls, she knew how profoundly girls “feel the pressure to conform to a particular body image”.
The coalition Government has promised to tackle the increasing sexualisation of youngsters.
Speaking before the general election, David Cameron said he planned to penalise companies who market their products inappropriately to children.
He added: “After all, it’s our shared responsibility to protect children from aggressive commercialism and premature sexualisation.
“This is not about being prudish or old-fashioned. It’s about remembering the simple pleasures of our own childhood – and making sure our children can enjoy them too.”