An ad put out by Australian wine company Premier Estates was promptly banned for being sexually suggestive and sexist toward women. The commercial is centered around the slogan “you can almost taste the bush,” referring to the flavor coming from the Australian vineyards; but the phrase is obviously laced with sexual innuendo. For that reason, the “taste the bush” ad has been accused of objectifying women in a sexually degrading way.
As you can see in the video above, the “taste the bush” ad begins with a woman speaking highly of the quality and cost of Premier Estates wine and ends with her saying that you can “you can almost taste the bush.” This might have been fine if it weren’t for the strategic location that she puts her wine glass: right in front of her crotch. The final image is that of a dark triangle drawing attention to her groin.
There’s no denying that Premier Estates intended this double entendre, especially considering the woman’s awkward glance at the glass before she removes it, further emphasizing its location.
According to the Huffington Post, the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority has since pulled the “taste the bush” ad from the air after a ruling made on Wednesday. The commercial was banned on the basis that most people who saw the ad would assume “taste the bush” was “a reference to oral sex, particularly given that it was accompanied with the image of the wine glass positioned directly in front of the woman’s crotch.”
The sexually suggestive message alone wasn’t enough to get the commercial banned, however. The agency determined that the joke, subtle as it may have been, was inherently sexist.
“The ad presented the woman in a degrading manner.”
With the commercial came the hashtag #TasteTheBush and a social media campaign. These ads cut right to the chase, posting images cropped down to just the woman’s pelvis with the wine glass in front of it. The ASA ruled that these images “served to reduce the woman to merely a sexual object.”
But the ASA did not remove the “taste the bush” ad based on their own perception of it. According to the ruling, the agency received a total of eight complaints about the ad and the #TasteTheBush promotion. Six of those complaints claimed the ad was offensive because it was sexually degrading towards women. Three of the complaints, including one submitted by the charity, Alcohol Concern, claimed the “taste the bush” ad had wrongly linked alcohol consumption with sexual activity.
According to Fox, the company behind the commercial that works with Premier Estates, Budge Brands, defended the campaign by saying it was targeting “a mature 35- to 45-year-old, wine-drinking, audience and was intended to be playful and tongue-in-cheek.”
Even so, the “taste the bush” ad will not be showing anywhere in the U.K.
Despite the outcry of sexism toward the commercial, many people have taken to Twitter, using the #TasteTheBush hashtag to claim that banning the ad was a stupid move — and that censoring it was not actually helping to quell sexism, but rather making things worse.
— Leena Norms (@leenanorms) November 5, 2015
But others were happy to see the “taste the bush” slogan be taken off the air.
— Elizabeth Schneider (@NormalWine) November 4, 2015
Do you think the ad was offensive or sexist?
[Photo courtesy of Premier Estates]