How to respond to an poster advert in a local shop

(93 Posts)
GandalfsHat Wed 24-Apr-13 07:18:41


I'm think I can take a joke and are not usually offended, but I have seen a poster in a window of a local car showroom that has left me uncomfortable. I would like to write an e-mail to the company to take it down, but I'm not really sure what to write! I don't want a man to read it, roll their eyes and take it down just because someone complained, I'd like them to really think about it, if that makes sense? Can anyone that is more seasoned in feminist arguments help me with this please?

The showroom sells second hand Aston Martins. It is just down the road from my home and I walk past it almost daily. The poster is a a beautifully taken photograph of a woman in a modern high gloss obviously very expensive kitchen. Her back is to the camera. she wears a white shirt and sheer tights, the shirt is pulled up so you can see her bottom. She wears high heels and has loose long hair. One knee is on the kitchen counter as if she is climbing up onto the counter. The caption then goes on to say 'Just because you're not the first, doesn't mean you don't want to'. It all attempts to look very classy.

It just leaves me uneasy. The implication is clear. But how do I formulate a good argument against it from a feminist perspective?
-it is blatantly sexist, it clearly uses sex to sell a second hand car
-do they think women cannot buy/drive/afford aston martins? as it is clearly aimed at men.
-the stereotype of the women in the kitchen ready to please just does my head in.
-I think it is a bit suggestive considering it is on the way to a local park/near the co-op and families walk past it every day, I'm don't my sons to grow up with these myths about women (they're only little though, toddlers)
-why is it an issue how many men a woman has slept with. Why do a man have to be the first, or think he is the first, to want to have sex with a woman, because that seems to be the implication.
I had a look on the AM website, the same ad is not there.

Sorry for this mammoth post, if you made it this far!

GandalfsHat Wed 24-Apr-13 07:22:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TiredyCustards Wed 24-Apr-13 07:23:17

Sounds horrendous, for all the reasons you mention.

I'd email and get other locals to do the same.

JonHammsTrouserSnake Wed 24-Apr-13 07:23:33

I think your arguments in your OP are very coherent. I would add also that the advert suggests that a woman can be bought or owned like a car.

GandalfsHat Wed 24-Apr-13 07:24:12

And I got the caption wrong. Sorry. But you can see it for yourself. I'll stop posting now smile and double check my facts next time!

TiredyCustards Wed 24-Apr-13 07:25:16

So it's actually an official Aston Martin ad? Words fail me.

LeeCoakley Wed 24-Apr-13 07:25:33

That is revolting.

JumpingJackSprat Wed 24-Apr-13 07:26:10

Awful advert id definitely complain for all the reasons listed.

deXavia Wed 24-Apr-13 07:26:54

That is beyond awful. Yes I would email and also suggest others do - frankly I would also complain to the ASA

Chubfuddler Wed 24-Apr-13 07:26:55

It's actually dreadful. Really really dreadful.

You know they won't give a shiny shit about your opinion and will just think "dried up old lesbian" if you complain though.

LeeCoakley Wed 24-Apr-13 07:28:07

I would complain to the advertising board and bypass Aston Martin.

Chubfuddler Wed 24-Apr-13 07:30:25

Yes complain to the ASA

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Wed 24-Apr-13 07:30:38

Fucking horrible. I will complain to the ASA.

LeeCoakley Wed 24-Apr-13 07:30:45

Just googled and AM are saying it's a fake confused

JonHammsTrouserSnake Wed 24-Apr-13 07:31:42

The picture is worse than I imagined from your OP.

I suspect they won't give a shit about complaints though.
Maybe they've deliberately been provocative in order to stir up a media storm and get publicity.
Yes, I know women buy cars too, but they've probably identified their key target market as saddo men going through a mid life crisis, for whom such a woman is unattainable. However, they pretend to assert their masculinity by buying a penis replacement second hand car.

SageBush Wed 24-Apr-13 07:32:03

That is definitely one for the ASA. Completely discriminatory and objectifying. Yuck.

Chubfuddler Wed 24-Apr-13 07:32:22

Have you actually seen this in a showroom? I've seen online posts saying it is a fake.

deXavia Wed 24-Apr-13 07:33:09

So if its a fake I'd complain to AM HQ's as I'm sure they'd take a pretty dim view of it as a representation of their brand.

Chubfuddler Wed 24-Apr-13 07:33:19

Which means if you have actually seen it in a showroom the idiots in that branch have decided to use it. In which case I would contact Aston Martin head office.

Chubfuddler Wed 24-Apr-13 07:33:32

X posted

BranchingOut Wed 24-Apr-13 07:34:25

Oh my god.

Well, if it was me I would be waiting until I was without my children one day, taking a picture of the poster, then walking in and, with a lovely smile and my best manners, asking if the manager could 'explain' this poster to me. All the while looking like someone who might want to by a second hand Aston Martin....

I would continue with increasingly persistent questions until I would have hopefully embarrassed the hell out of them.

But then I sometimes enjoy this kind of thing....I did once tackle a petrol station about their display of Zoo magazine right by the till point.

On the other hand, I think that going to the media or the Advertising Standards body might be more effective in the long run.

GandalfsHat Wed 24-Apr-13 07:34:31

Thank goodness you don't think I'n over-reacting.

Definitely in the showroom window. I took a photo of it.

Smudging Wed 24-Apr-13 07:35:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JonHammsTrouserSnake Wed 24-Apr-13 07:35:55

There's something about the way her knee is on the counter which is a bi distasteful -almost like "she wants to be taken from behind". Who climbs on a counter in their skimpies ffs?

Chubfuddler Wed 24-Apr-13 07:35:59

Then I think some twat in that showroom has decided it would be a good idea to use it having seen the mock up online. I would contact Aston Martin HQ - send them the photo.

BranchingOut Wed 24-Apr-13 07:36:01

Oh, just seen it is a fake. Hmmm.

Chubfuddler Wed 24-Apr-13 07:37:07

Does it have the typo the versions online have?

GandalfsHat Wed 24-Apr-13 07:39:27

I have just checked the photo I took of it. Has the local dealers' logo on. Perhaps it's just a local thing then. But why would you fake an ad like that? What's in it for the faker? I don't get it?

GandalfsHat Wed 24-Apr-13 07:43:02

The photo I have it exactly like the one online, except where the AM 'wings' are replaced with the local dealers' logo. It says 'You know you're not the first, but do you really care?', not what I say in my OP, I didn't check the photo before I posted, just my recollection of it, (which was wrong) just to clarify.

GandalfsHat Wed 24-Apr-13 07:52:54

It says pre-owned, typo has been corrected.

msrisotto Wed 24-Apr-13 07:53:16

Wow, I wouldn't let this drop. If AM are saying it's a fake then how do they explain that it was in their local dealership with their bloody logo on it? Awful awful awful.

Chubfuddler Wed 24-Apr-13 08:10:26

I think you should contact HQ to express your concern about the as campaign in general and then when they attempt to reassure you it's a fake tell them where you've seen it in the showroom.

SecondRow Wed 24-Apr-13 08:18:01

Looks like she's trying to pee in the sink.

Go ahead and name and shame the dealership, Gandalf. And maybe put the photo on your profile so everyone here can make their feelings known too?

skrumle Wed 24-Apr-13 08:23:11

it's hellish - i'd email the ASA with the photo attached as proof, and cc Aston Martin and either local or national papers.

aside from the sexism it's TOTALLY inappropriate for display on the high street IMO.

JonHammsTrouserSnake Wed 24-Apr-13 08:23:44

grin at trying to pee in the sink. Dirty cah.

FuckOffMrBloom Wed 24-Apr-13 08:27:19

That is really disturbing.

Definitely contact AM and tell them.

FuckOffMrBloom Wed 24-Apr-13 08:28:52
GandalfsHat Wed 24-Apr-13 09:15:14

OK so here's what I'm going to do:

If I've learnt anything this morning, it's check your facts! Which would have half of my posts unnecessary!

I'll go out in a bit with the boys and see if it's still in their window, it was there yesterday afternoon, but in the spirit of double checking I'll do just that! When DS2 has his nap, I'll compose an e-mail to the local dealer, cc'ing AM HQ and the local magazine. I'll post it here first, I'm not great with words and would appreciate a double check.

The fact that the typo is corrected and the AM wings has been replaced with the local dealer's logo makes me feel quite cynical about the whole thing. One of the bloggers posted a letter from AM Lawyers, their gripe specifically was the use of the logo. So it seems someone has been quite calculated about this. Imagine you are a woman who works in a place like this, I can imagine you could feel quite embarrassed about it all. And do people who think things like this up not have wives and daughters? Why do they think it's ok?

I used to feel quite sad that I didn't have a daughter. Don't get me wrong, I love my sons, but I think I have a lot of skills to pass on to a daughter. But maybe I can raise feminist sons instead? Is there such a thing a male feminists? Anyway, I'm waffling. Will report back around midday.

Have a nice morning!

lemonmuffin Wed 24-Apr-13 10:05:25

Blimey, I clicked on that link half thinking it would probably be an overreaction, but that is honestly shocking! Definitely complain.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 24-Apr-13 11:13:22

I think your plan is good, OP.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 24-Apr-13 11:15:10

What I hate about it is that it implies that it's preferable to be a woman's first sexual partner.

Chubfuddler Wed 24-Apr-13 11:30:06

Good plan. It seems this is not approved by Aston Martin HQ and they have used solicitors to say so, but perhaps the local dealership has "gone off on a frolic of their own" as we say in legal parlance.

BlastAndDalmatians Wed 24-Apr-13 11:31:28

Its disgusting. As TheDoctrine says it implies that it is preferable for your sexual partner to be a virgin. Not only that it implies that you "know" by just looking at this semi naked woman that she's been with at least one other man. It's a subtle way of saying "she looks dirty and used but she's fit so I'll go for it". Comparing women to cars..gross.

CaptChaos Wed 24-Apr-13 11:37:34

This suggests that it's not the first time the tag line has been used, but it was originally for a real BMW advert. Nice!


CaptChaos Wed 24-Apr-13 11:42:14

Just read the comments on that forum post. Aston Martins are guy cars apparently. Well I never! hmm

GandalfsHat Wed 24-Apr-13 13:37:43

I have not had 10 mins peace all day! the DS2 refuses to nap and is overtired with everything that comes with that. Will type up a proper email tonight, I'm not going to have time for it before they're in bed tonight! Ad is still in the window.

lemonmuffin Thu 25-Apr-13 03:01:38

How did you get on Gandalf, any response yet?

lemonmuffin Thu 25-Apr-13 03:03:27

And what does 'pre-owed' mean anyway?

shouldn't it say pre-owned?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 25-Apr-13 06:13:55

Yep, that's a typo in the fake, LM.

YohedYoshoulderYonisandYotoes Thu 25-Apr-13 06:25:13

Go to the press - it will get them the PR AND shame them - everyone's a winner! I doubt that head office will be happy if its an unofficial poster anyway - breaking the rules lain down by marketing would get them a rocket irrespective of the actual ad.

FWIW I am pretty tolerant but this ad is crass and utterly vile in its both slut-shaming (a woman's value is based on what you think of HER sexuality) and its 'woman as possession' link, its Swiss Tony ' 'selling a car is like a selling a beautiful woman' schtick, its suggestion of reduced value of a woman because of her sexual experience, and its 'woman as sex toy/tool/possession/trophy/status symbol' crap.

Awful. Sack somebody!

bishboschone Thu 25-Apr-13 06:35:14

I'm not a feminist but I've seen that advert and its just ridiculous ..

ItsAllTLAsToMe Thu 25-Apr-13 06:50:47

bish, the only ending to a sentence that begins 'I'm not a feminist' should be 'because I don't believe that males and females should have equal opportunities, and should be treated equally.'. Otherwise, I suspect you're saying 'I don't particularly identify myself as a feminist'.

Awful advert / decision by local branch. Good luck, OP.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Thu 25-Apr-13 08:50:06

Christ, that ad is bad.

It's like something out of the 60s. I thought Mad Men's "Jaguar: At last, something beautiful you can truly own" was bad enough (though of course totally in fitting with the era), but this - 50 years on, FFS! - makes that seem positively tame in comparison. confused

Shamelessly marking place on thread so see how this pans out - good luck OP, we are all behind you. smile

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Thu 25-Apr-13 08:51:34

For anyone not familiar with Mad Men, the whole Jaguar campaign was based on the idea of sexy-car-as-mistress trope.

bishboschone Thu 25-Apr-13 09:05:17

Ok .. I stand corrected. I guess I was just saying feminism isn't particularly high on my agenda but that advert hit a nerve with me.

ItsAllTLAsToMe Thu 25-Apr-13 09:34:53

bish, I just tiptoed back into the thread to see if you'd replied grin. I didn't mean to be rude, please accept my apologies.

bishboschone Thu 25-Apr-13 10:02:57

Ah no

dozily Thu 25-Apr-13 10:19:11

Horrible advert and I doubt Aston Martin HQ will be exactly thrilled - hardly fits their classy image. Will be interesting to hear how they respond. Either way I doubt the poster will last much longer!

YohedYoshoulderYonisandYotoes Thu 25-Apr-13 14:46:16

I think you should push for an article in the Daily Mail 'How offensive ad got me an Aston Martin for my holidays' and get AM to apologise, say they treat things seriously, that sometimes humour gets out of hand, how Aston Martins are womens' cars as well, and that as a gesture and in the spirit of 'well-spotted' AM are happy to loan you a vehicle insurance and expenses paid in exchange for your review of the vehicle and a message about how dealers can soften the macho image and appeal to a full range of potential AM customers.. grin

YohedYoshoulderYonisandYotoes Thu 25-Apr-13 14:48:32

At least that is what I would do if I were working in AM PR.. Also I would have an alert set up that would have picked up this discussion long ago and posted officially thanking you and telling you how it was to be resolved, how the ad came to be, and how they are sorry that it was used 'officially' when it shouldn't have been and that a warning has gone out across the dealer network thanks to you..

anyway, that's just me! See what they say?! (perhaps MNHQ can take this on for you?!)

squeaver Thu 25-Apr-13 14:58:08

I think you're doing the right thing with your email but I would actually send it to AM HQ, copying in the dealership and asking them (HQ) what they intend to do about it. Obviously they are taking this sort of thing seriously and I'm sure they will take a dim view of the dealership.

GandalfsHat Tue 30-Apr-13 23:00:36

Sorry I have not got back to this, but I passed it again today, with a bunch of men standing in front of the window, sniggering at the joke. Gah.

Is the wording of this email ok? English is not my first language, so an improvements are most welcome. It thought of emailling AM directly, cc'ing own local news mag.


Dear Sir/ Madam,

RE: Advertising in XXXX Aston Martin Showroom, XXX.

I have, yet again, passed the advertising poster (please see attached photo) whilst walking from my home to the Co-op today, as I have the best part of the past two weeks, and I have had my fill of it. An image that is essentially soft porn with a seedy slogan, intended to sell pre-owned cars, is not one I want to look at every day, nor do I want my sons exposed to the values it espouses. I could explain the ways in which the image and its implications offend, but I suspect it may be lost on a business that seems to consider this appropriate imagery to display in a showroom situated on the way to a nursery school, the park, the local supermarket, and amongst the residences of several families.

A quick google search shows that Aston Martin denounced this image earlier this year when it started to circulate. According to this blogger

and the response he received from Aston Martin's solicitors, the issue seems to be with the use of the 'wings' device on the fake advertising. A typo is also visible (pre-owed). On the poster displayed in the dealership window, the 'wings' device is replaced with their own logo, and the typo is corrected. Therefore, this advertising poster seems to have been quite a deliberate creation on the dealers' part. I am at a loss as to how anyone thought this is appropriate advertising.

Could you please advise as to how this can be removed from the showroom?

Yours faithfully

My full name and address.

dumbelina Tue 30-Apr-13 23:14:37

Very well written I would say. Definitely gets the point across clearly and succinctly.

GandalfsHat Wed 01-May-13 06:48:26

Bumping for the morning crowd.

dozily Wed 01-May-13 07:31:48

Sounds good. Can't believe it's still up there though! Good luck

msrisotto Wed 01-May-13 07:49:38

Yes, good please send it. I hate it and am surprised that it is still up.

DaffodilAdams Wed 01-May-13 07:52:42

That email is pitched perfectly.

So sad that this needs to be done. All those arguing against removing page 3 - this is exactly the type of culture it is promoting and why it has wider implications than just been seen by those who read it. It just promotes that women are commodities.

GandalfsHat Wed 01-May-13 09:33:27

It's gone. My heart is racing a bit. I'm not really the crusading type, but this has really got to me.

Have sent it to AM CEO Ulrich Bez.

Now to wait and see if anything comes of it...

tribpot Wed 01-May-13 09:43:52

Your email is good. I would send it to the local paper as well - that image is completely inappropriate and far worse than what I was expecting when I clicked on the link.

And btw WTF is she doing? Kitchen pilates in a pair of heels?

AllSWornOut Wed 01-May-13 09:55:33

I saw your thread earlier and the image has been playing on my mind ever since. It is absolutely appalling.

I was going to suggest a more punchy email but I see you've already sent it. If you do have any more correspondence with AM you should be asking them for a copy of their CSR policy (corporate social responsibility) and how they manage their dealership individual advertising - there must be policy for this.

I would also be pointing out in more direct terms that it is misogynistic and pornographic in equal measures and the company should be ashamed to have such an image associated with their corporate image - even if it is a spoof they should have been informing their dealerships that it shouldn't be used under any circumstances.

GandalfsHat Wed 01-May-13 10:03:52

WornOut those are such good arguments! Perhaps you could tweet the ceo, i think he is on twitter. Waiting for a reply now.

KoreRenati Wed 01-May-13 13:52:07

Well done on sending the email. that is a horrible ad.

AllSWornOut Wed 01-May-13 20:11:44

I will look at twitter but please keep us updated on any response you get. Well done for sending the email in the first place smile

NeedsTherapy Wed 01-May-13 20:30:58

Place marking. I'm shocked and discussed at the advert.

MiniTheMinx Wed 01-May-13 21:44:03

Well done OP

The implication from that ad seems to be of that old sexist saying "everyone wants to ride the bicycle but no one wants to maintain it" It implies that the women is used and second hand goods despite being sleek and attractive. Absolutely sick.

GandalfsHat Thu 02-May-13 11:33:45

Morning all,

Update: I had a very nice e-mail from AM solicitors yesterday afternoon, saying that AM strongly objects to the unauthorised, spoof ad, and they share the offence it causes. They work very hard to have it removed as soon as it's identified. This dealership is outside their franchise network and they will see how they can resolve it.

I have just walked past there on my way to and from the supermarket and it had been turned around, with a note taped at the back saying 'Are you happy now?'. So someone obviously doesn't get it and I feel totally vindicated in my decision not to deal with the dealership but to go to AM directly. I didn't know about the dealership/franchise setup, to me it's a AM showroom selling AM cars. Regardless, it's 'gone'.

Anyway, we're off on holiday tomorrow, I wonder if I'll come home to rotten eggs through the letterbox? grin I did cc the local paper and mag, I regret doing that and kind of hope nothing comes of it. Off to pack, I wonder if it will jinx the weather if I pack sunscreen?

Peace and love x

ISeeSmallPeople Thu 02-May-13 11:44:16

So it's now visible inside the show room?

FlowersBlown Thu 02-May-13 11:46:45

I wouldn't be happy with that at all. They are being quite aggressive in their attitude. You are beginning to feel threatened and uneasy about the situation. This is not acceptable.

FlowersBlown Thu 02-May-13 11:48:22

Also, I am not convinced about how fake a lot of these 'fake ads' are. It seems to be a good way for companies to get the publicity they want by using methods that are not usually permissible.

AlwaysOneMissing Thu 02-May-13 11:56:01

This is absolutely disgusting. The whole thing, especially them turning the ad around with that aggressive message displayed. Bastards.
You did the right thing op, that ad makes my blood boil, if I had to walk past it with my toddler boys every day I would be furious. You have done a good thing, be confident and sure of yourself - you are in the right and even have backing from AM themselves!
You feel uncomfortable about this because we have been conditioned to know our place and to put up with this shit in 'good humour' so as not to upset the poor men who were just having a laugh.

GandalfsHat Thu 02-May-13 11:56:28

You're right Flowers, it does make me feel very uneasy. I haven't e-mailed the solicitor back yet, I'll mention it. It's still there, it has just been turned around, so you see the back of the mounting board from the street, with the note stuck to it. But you can't see the image.

tribpot Thu 02-May-13 11:58:40

Very intrigued as to how the showroom can be outside their franchise network. Is it actually just a second hand car shop which chooses to specialise in Aston Martin, in other words infringing their brand?

It's good the poster has been turned around so it's not visible from the street but the fact is that they shouldn't be displaying it, even if it weren't grotesquely offensive. I would notify AM of the actions of the showroom, not least so it establishes an audit trail in case the showroom staff do try to retaliate. They'd have to be mad to but then they clearly are not in full possession of their faculties if they think that 'advert' is fit for public consumption.

KirstyoffEastenders Thu 02-May-13 11:59:13

Good for you, that's absolutely brilliant! grin

GandalfsHat Thu 02-May-13 11:59:32

Thanks AlwaysOne.

anklebitersmum Thu 02-May-13 12:05:32

Oh my word! Take another of the offending "Are you happy now?" and send on to AM again.

Well done you though, have to admit I thought 'pah' until I saw the ad blush

K8Middleton Thu 02-May-13 12:08:18

God that's a revolting ad and well done for challenging it. Definitely complain to ASA too.

In the spirit of challenging iffy opinions it may not be "a man" who rolls his eyes. Sadly some women are ignorant and misogynists too. Yes, there are such things as feminist men (I'm married to one smile) and yes, you can try to raise feminist children regardless of their sex.

Startail Thu 02-May-13 12:10:34

Well done OP for following this up.

l'm generally a very liberal feminist, normally in hassle for not being very bothered about Pg.3 etc. but that is poster is vile.

I have two DDs (12 and 15) and I can't think of a nice way to explain that image to them.

Tau Thu 02-May-13 12:12:37

That's repulsive. It would certainly put me off buying in that shop, and even buying any Aston Martin car.

Like others said, contact AM - if it is a fake they won't be pleased that it is being used!
If it is not a fake, report it to ASA.

GandalfsHat Thu 02-May-13 12:14:32

Do you think I should link the nice guy at AM to this thread?

anklebitersmum Thu 02-May-13 12:21:29

GandalfsHat yup grin

AllSWornOut Thu 02-May-13 20:31:10

Hey, that's a good response from AM, rather less impressive from the dealership angry Don't let them intimidate you (easier said than done I'm sure) and definitely tell AM's solicitor about their childish response. The fact they have reacted means that AM have put a rocket up their arse despite "being outside their franchise network" so they obviously have influence and will most likely be unimpressed by this kind of antic.

Well done for standing up for what is right.

PS My DH is also a feminist (although I'm not sure he'd self-associate with the term he demonstrates he is through his behaviour every day) and I fully intend for DS to be feminist as well. At least he already has a great role model in his Dad.

limitedperiodonly Fri 03-May-13 09:53:16

Email the solicitors thanking them for their response and updating them on the dealer's provocative and childish act. They won't be happy and will take more action. It makes AM look awful and all brands are extremely protective of their image.

Contact your local police Safer Neighbourhoods Team about this too. That message is an aggressive challenge and the SNT are all about keeping peace in the community.

They'll probably send a couple of officers to tell the manager to stop winding people up.

Good luck.

limitedperiodonly Fri 03-May-13 09:55:39

Oh, I see you're off on holiday. Have a good one.

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