Burger King to fight decision on bikini ad complaints

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Burger King is to appeal against an Advertising Standards Authority decision upholding complaints against two of the fast-food company's TV ads.

After a number of complaints, the authority found the advertisements for two different burgers, each featuring three bikini-clad women, breached an advertising code of practice forbidding the use of sex appeal simply to draw attention to a product.

Burger King said yesterday it would appeal the decision, which had caused the two "highly popular" advertisements to be withdrawn.

Marketing manager Megan Denize said she was disappointed the commercials had had to be withdrawn as they had received approval from the Television Commercial Approvals Bureau before being broadcast.

Burger King had used an independent research company to track responses to the advertisements for the past seven months. The results from more than 700 consumers aged between 15 and 49 showed most of them either "liked or loved" the commercials.

"We believe this is a much better indicator of community reaction than the small number of complaints received by the Advertising Standards Complaints Board," Ms Denize said.

In one advertisement, the women in bikinis ride horseback on the beach, then - still in bikinis - are depicted in workplaces including an office and a laboratory, before riding horseback to a Burger King outlet.

Complainants said the style was extremely sexually suggestive and "indecent", degrading to women and could best be described as "soft porn".

- NZPA

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