In every Inspire, AANA brings you recent rulings from the Ad Standards Community Panel to see the AANA Codes in Action – what’s in breach, what’s not – and why. Here we look at previous Christmas ad executions that raised issues under the Codes to ensure the festive season remains festive – from an ad standards perspective at least!

Gun World Australia

Ad1_NOVIssue: Children Code: Community Standards, Placement; Social value; Health and Safety Within prevailing Community Standards


This outdoor billboard ad featured a female model holding a firearm with the text “Santa knows what you really want for Christmas”. The billboard also featured the company logo for Gun World Australia.

The theme of the ad was Christmas and the Panel noted this is a theme intended always to include the whole community and people of all ages, not just children. While children make up a large portion of the community who enjoy and delight in the Christmas season, it is not a celebration that is directed primarily to children.

The visuals of the ad included a woman in a Santa themed costume, however, the Panel agreed that a Christmas attire can be linked to children and adults alike to promote products. The text “Santa knows what you really want for Christmas” would likely resonate strongly for children and in the context of an ad for a gun, the link to Santa knowing that this is a gift that people might want is not something that should be encouraged.

The Panel considered however that as Santa is generally accepted as a character or icon that is familiar to the broader community, the link to him in this ad was a direct reference to knowing what an adult or age-eligible person may like for Christmas. The Panel considered the language was not directed primarily to children.

The woman in the ad was holding the gun in a safe manner and was not pointing the weapon toward anyone or anything and her actions were not reckless or menacing. There are legally approved ways to purchase a gun in Australia and the ad was not undermining the safe or legal purchase of a legal product.

The Panel considered that while the link to Christmas might be considered in poor taste for a promotion of a product of this nature in an outdoor environment with children able to view the ad, it was not encouraging children to purchase guns or encouraging or depicting unsafe use of a product and was not a depiction that was contrary to Prevailing Community Standards on health and safety. The Panel considered that the ad did not breach section 2.6 of the Code of Ethics.

Read the report.


Cheap as Chips

ad2_NOVIssue: Objectification – Exploitative and degrading; Sex/sexuality/nudity; Health and Safety Within prevailing Community Standards


This catalogue ad for the discount variety store Cheap as Chips depicted an office party and featured images of people celebrating with drinks and various Christmas items. Text included “Cheap and Chips – Check out our Christmas Stuff and Office Party”.  The images in the catalogue included a man dressed in a man-kini while on the phone, a man with a Santa wrapped around his legs and another man dressed as Santa with his hand appearing to be on a woman’s chest.

The ad promoted a range of Christmas paraphernalia including aprons, costumes and novelty man-kinis. The Community Panel noted that the catalogue included an image of a man wearing a man-kini with a Santa head placed over his genitals. Additional images included a man grabbing a woman’s breast, the text ‘office party’ and the presence of alcohol – all elements that added to an overall sexualised context to a work Christmas party.

Complainants concern was that the behaviour of the man dressed as Santa in particular as it appeared he was groping the woman. The Panel noted significant community concern regarding sexual harassment and appropriate behaviour in the workplace and found that the depiction of the man grabbing the woman on the breast is not acceptable behaviour. The woman was wearing a novelty apron and it was likely that her actual breast was not being fondled, however, in the Panel’s view, the impression was that the woman was being touched and that the ad was suggesting it was acceptable to do so because of the party situation.

The ad was found in breach of section 2.4 and 2.6 of the Code of Ethics. Read the report.


Honey Birdette

Objectification Exploitative and degrading – women; Violence; Sex/sexuality/nudity


This poster ad placed in a shopping centre featured woman in red lacy see-through lingerie with Santa in the background pulling at the garter strap on her leg with a written quote “sorry kids we gave Santa the night off”. This poster was one of three in a series considered within the same complaint.

The Panel noted that the model is dressed in lingerie while Santa is clothed. The style of lingerie provides an image that is sexually appealing. The woman is depicted being pulled toward the man by her lingerie while his other hand is raised in a position suggesting he is about to slap her. The Panel noted that the overall impression is that the positioning of the woman and Santa’s actions are suggesting that her purpose in the image is for the enjoyment of the man.

The Panel considered that this depiction of the woman was exploitative. The Panel also considered that the depiction of the woman in lingerie being pulled towards a man fully clothed was an imbalance that was a depiction that was lowering in character of the women and did purposefully debase or abuse a person for the enjoyment of others. The Panel considered that the ad employed sexual appeal in a manner which is exploitative and degrading of any individual or group of people and breached Section 2.2 of the Code of Ethics. Read the report.


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