A BUSTY Tamworth billboard has been found to exploit women, but it took a complaint about it to the Advertising Standards Bureau to reveal the mind-boggling truth: the breasts are actually more like man boobs.
A judgement yesterday by the bureau determined the cheeky advert was degrading to women, but it appears the joke is on Tamworth.
“It was actually the crease of my elbow,” the billboard’s male designer, Marlon Dalton, laughed yesterday.
“It’s amazing what you can do in Photoshop these days.”
In January The Leader reported on the controversy surrounding the Centrepoint billboard, which supposedly features a pair of women’s breasts with the tagline “Double the fun”, with some businesses and residents declaring the billboard sexist and a throwback to 1970s advertising.
Someone in Tamworth took the matter further, making an official complaint to the Advertising Standards Bureau, the verdict of which was recently handed down.
The bureau found the billboard breached section 2.2 of the Advertiser Code of Ethics, by objectifying women in an exploitative and degrading manner, but said the advertisement didn’t breach two other sections of the code. In response, Centrepoint was forced to out the billboard’s well-kept secret – that the female “bust” displayed was actually a result of the designer’s airbrushing skills.
Mr Dalton said, although he “put the word out on the street”, he knew he would have some moral issues sourcing a suitable model in Tamworth.
“You need someone fairly young for that kind of image and for someone my age to go approaching young girls, well, we decided to go another route,” he said.
Using an image he took himself of the crease of his closed elbow, he said it was a simple matter to airbrush in a cleavage shadow and side panels.
He said several people had approached him, believing they knew the identity of the sign’s supposed model, but he smiled and kept his secret, until now.
“Small-town gossip,” he said.
A Centrepoint spokesman said the advertisement was no different to the posters up around Tamworth advertising the show Calendar Girls, featuring a hint of an older woman’s cleavage. Ironically, the show is opening at the Capitol Theatre in Centrepoint on Friday.
“The billboard will stay until we’re told it has to come down,” the spokesman said.
A Tamworth Regional Council spokesman confirmed the council received several complaints about the billboard last week, but had not heard from the Advertising Standards Bureau in regards to its determination.
“Council’s planning division is considering addressing these concerns,” the spokesman said.
Yesterday, messages posted on Twitter by a Tamworth woman boasted about her having “whinged” to the Advertising Standards Bureau and how “whinging” worked. The woman also criticised The Leader for not focusing more on the “degrading” nature of the issue in its coverage.
Mr Dalton said the advertisement had achieved its objective, by igniting debate within the community, and he was not concerned if it was determined the billboard had to come down.
“It had a limited life expectancy anyway. Bland is boring,” he said.