Gok Wan feels heat for calling breasts ‘bangers’ in Australian ad
Target defends its use of British host in television advertising campaign amid viewer complaints about ‘degrading’ comments
theguardian.com, Monday 26 August 2013 19.14 AEST
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Under fire: Gok Wan. Photograph: Murdo Macleod/The Guardian
Target has been forced to defend itself from complaints about the British TV host Gok Wan’s use of the word “bangers” to describe breasts in its Australian advertising campaign.
The Advertising Standards Bureau said it had received a number of complaints about a television ad in which Wan explains that 85% of women don’t know their correct bra size.
It then shows several women in their underwear, with Wan exclaiming, “Your bangers will never feel more loved.”
Wan is well known for using the word “bangers” as a substitute term for breasts in his role as host of UK show How to Look Good Naked.
One complainant said the ad was “offensive” and “degrading” to women.
“I just expect so much better from Target as they present themselves as a family store,” the complainant said. “I have seen this ad on a number of occasions and really felt uncomfortable and disappointed.”
Several people argued that the term commoditised women, with one saying: “Bangers are a slang term for a sausage, I do not want my breast referred to as meat.”
Another person said that “a female body is a beautiful thing, not to be cheapened by a poofter calling breasts bangers!!! I was breast fed, not banger fed!’
In response to the complaints, Target said Wan was “playfully irreverent, colourful and fun” and the ads weren’t inappropriate, sexualised or predatory. Wan’s sexuality was irrelevant as to whether the ad should be allowed to air, it said.
strong>” ‘Bangers’ ” is more commonly used in the UK than in Australia, where ‘boobs’ is probably more familiar,” the retailer added.
“Because the term “bangers” is less familiar in Australia, this lack of familiarity in Australia will be taken into account and the term “boobs” may be substituted in some advertising.”
“The use of ‘assets’ is not derogatory but in Target’s view strongly supportive of women feeling good about themselves. Target does not view breasts as the only measure by which women should be valued.”
The standards bureau ruled that the “overall tone of the advertisement is positive and light-hearted” and that it didn’t break any of its codes on sexualisation, discrimination or obscene language.