A “sexist” online shoe advert featuring topless women has been banned by the advertising watchdog.
Redfoot Shoes, which trades as Goodwin Smith based in Bacup, Lancashire, ran a campaign that included images of women covering their breasts with shoes.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it was sexist and degrading to women and must not appear again.
Goodwin Smith said the campaign in August portrayed a “fantasy concept” and “had not meant to degrade women”.
It said there were two versions of the video and the one with topless women had a warning about explicit content.
The explicit advert was featured in email marketing, on Facebook and on YouTube, and used the tag line “Bucking good shoes”.
The YouTube video featured three men, who were fully dressed, and three women wearing black underwear in some scenes and topless in others.
One shot featured a topless women with the phrase: “Fancy a pair?”
In another scene a woman was on her knees facing a man who was using a machine to shoot banknotes into her face.
After receiving nine complaints, the investigation found the use of topless and lingerie-clad women in the explicit version was “irrelevant” to the shoes being advertised and the general tone of the campaign was sexually suggestive.
The ASA concluded the adverts were “sexist, degrading to women, and objectifying women” and were likely to cause serious and widespread offence.
Goodwin Smith said: “We see the video as a light-hearted fantasy concept for men. It is certainly not intended to degrade women.
“Ironically, the majority of the production team who made the video were women.”
It added that the platforms used to promote the content would only be seen by those who had actively chosen to view it.
One model who appeared in the video tweeted that she “didn’t feel degraded at all”.
The advert must not appear again in its current form and the ASA told Goodwin Smith its future ads must be “socially responsible” and “not objectify women”.
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