Women call for ban on 'sexist' drink can messages

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'Bright spark' who dreamed up provocative images and text has offended half the population, lobby says.

Miss Helen's Massive Melons. Photo / Supplied
Miss Helen's Massive Melons. Photo / Supplied

A call to ban energy drink cans featuring overt sexual messages has been made by the National Council of Women.

The drinks, called Ms Svenson's Classroom Detention and Miss Helen's Massive Melons, have explicit sexual references such as "Miss Helen is never shy in getting her big plump ripe melons out for the lads".

The woman who brought the energy drinks to the attention of the Gisborne Herald felt the products were disturbing because of the imagery and messages.

Most men said the product was okay, "but my big problem was young boys could buy it", the complainant said.

National Council of Women president Elizabeth Bang said the energy drinks were "not okay" and the messages on the can were sexist and offensive to women.

"First, there's the portrayal of women as sex objects.

"Second, the sale of these drinks is unrestricted so anyone of any age, including young boys, can buy them.

"And third is the level of desensitisation to this sort of advertising among some people in the community."

Ms Bang said that while the provocative images and suggestive wording were designed to appeal to men, they denigrated women. "It's clearly an advertising ploy aimed at the male population.

"However, the bright spark who dreamed it up has single-handedly managed to offend the other half of the population.

"The National Council of Women has been working for many years to improve the status of women in New Zealand, and the advertising on the energy drink flies in the face of our efforts. We strongly urge those retailers selling the product to take it off their shelves."

Women's Affairs Minister Hekia Parata said she wanted to see the canned drinks off shop shelves.

"Men who think this is clever are just plain dumb. Sadly, they are role-modelling this to boys and young men.

"Girls and young women are qualifying at an increasing rate and are helping build a stronger economy and better society.

"That is how they should be accurately depicted," Ms Parata said.

Last year, the Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint that a poster for the energy drink Rasta Blasta, using cannabis imagery, was deemed socially irresponsible.

The Rasta Blasta can carries suggestive sexual commentary on the back.

Written to resemble a Jamaican accent, it contains references to anal sex, porn stars, Tiger Woods, chubby girls and Oprah Winfrey.

Censorship authorities say they will wait for an official complaint to be made before investigating further.

The high-strength energy drink is made by the Mad Drinks Factory in Ponsonby Rd, Auckland. Repeated attempts to contact the company were unsuccessful.

Demon Drinks Ltd distributes the product throughout New Zealand.

- GISBORNE HERALD

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