Fast-food chain Burger King has withdrawn two television advertisements deemed sexually exploitative through their "cheesy" use of bikini-clad women.
The Advertising Standards Complaints Board, in decisions issued yesterday, found both commercials breached an industry code of practice forbidding the use of sex appeal simply to draw attention to a product.
Its decisions were in contrast to a board ruling last year that dismissed complaints against a Burger King advert featuring three young women on horses at a beach, and the food chain intends to appeal.
Burger King's management was unavailable but its Auckland advertising agency, Y&R, said it hoped to win support from the Advertising Standards Complaints Appeals Board for resumed screenings.
In one advertisement the women are depicted as wearing bikinis in professional jobs, and then dropping everything they are doing to ride to the nearest Burger King.
The other shows the women wearing bikinis while a voiceover tells viewers: "The BK girls share everything - their bed, their clothes, exercise equipment and a love of ice-sculpture and horses."
One of eight complainants, N. Stratmore, said she was a 37-year-old who did not consider herself a prude but was shocked to see it with her 3-year-old daughter during Home and Away.
"I don't feel at her age I should be explaining to her what three young women are doing riding horseback semi-naked."
Burger King and its agency submitted that the sequence was intended as an irreverent follow-up to the beach advert, and that "to avoid any confusion that we were attempting to present our BK Girls in an overtly sexual manner, we ensured that the shooting style came across as a mockumentary".
"We also ensured that the girls were dressed in bikinis that an average young woman would typically be comfortable in."