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16th Nov 2022

Artificial grass company told to take down ‘irresponsible’ billboard

Jack Peat

The ad features a half-naked woman with the words: “Get laid by the best”

An artificial grass company has been rapped by the advertising watchdog after featuring a half-naked woman on a billboard below the words: “Get laid by the best”.

The huge hoarding, which was erected by supplier Great Grass, also features a title in all capital letters calling the business the “ARTIFICIAL GRARSE EXPERTS”.

The company responded to complaints by saying most found it amusing, while adding it was offensive to transgender people to assume the model was a woman.

But the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) failed to see the funny side and concluded the billboard “objectified and stereotyped women as sexual objects”.

They also noted that the spelling of the word “arse” was a reference to the model’s buttocks and had therefore made the exposed part of her body the “focus”.

The watchdog said the advert cannot appear again “in its current form” and warned the company that their marketing material should be “socially responsible” in the future.

It stated: “We concluded that the ad objectified and stereotyped women as sexual objects, was irresponsible and likely to cause serious offence.

“The ad must not appear again in its current form.

“We told Great Grass MCR Ltd t/a Great Grass to ensure their future ads were socially responsible and did not cause serious or widespread offence.”

“Widespread offence” 

The billboard was put up in Oldham, Grtr. Manchester, in September this year, and included offers for “free quotes” and “free samples” at its nearby showroom.

But the ASA said three complaints challenged whether the ad was “offensive, harmful and irresponsible” due to its use of a near-naked model and sexually charged wording.

In response, the company said they’d used the “Get laid by the best” in the past and said that “perfect 365 days a year” meant they believed their grass was perfect all year round.

Great Grass also said it was noteworthy that there had only been three complaints when the ad had been seen by thousands of people.

And they, therefore, believed that most onlookers were not offended by the ad but found it amusing.

They assumed the later complaints were mostly generated by people on social media encouraging others who likely had not even seen it to raise further concerns.

Great Grass also said that to assume that the person featured in the ad was a woman was wrong and offensive to the transgender community.

Vision Advertising, the media owner, said that Great Grass had been using the slogan “Get laid by the best” on their marketing material for many years.

And they believed it meant the company were the best at laying artificial grass.

They also said the image of the person sunbathing on their new lawn was not offensive as that was something that most people would do.

They did not believe that the ad objectified and sexualised women, and they also said that identifying the person pictured as a woman was debatable and a matter of opinion.

“Sexual object” 

But the AVA upheld the complaint against the Great Grass and said the model was being presented as a “sexual object”.

They said: “The ASA considered that those who saw the ad would understand that it featured a woman.

“The model was dressed only in underpants and was lying on her front on the grass which exposed her buttocks.

“Large text above the image stated, “ARTIFICIAL GRARSE EXPERTS”. We noted that the word ‘grass’ was spelt incorrectly to include the word “arse”.

“We considered that was likely to be understood by readers to be a reference to the model’s buttocks and had the effect of making that exposed part of her body the focus, thereby drawing attention to the ad.”

They went on: “The ad also stated, “Get laid by the best”. We considered “get laid” would be understood by readers as a slang reference to sexual intercourse.

“We considered that text, together with the model’s pose and state of undress, was sexually suggestive and would be seen as presenting the model as a sexual object.

“We acknowledged that while sunbathing, people might recline on a lawn wearing revealing clothing.

“However, we considered that in the context of the ad, in particular the references to “arse” and “get laid”, the model was portrayed as a sexual object, rather than someone who was sunbathing.”

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