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Abarth ad ‘too steamy’ for Australia

Ad watchdog slaps Chrysler for saucy fun

Abarth logo7 Mar 2013

By BARRY PARK

FIAT’S steamy advertisement for its firebrand 500 Abarth has been deemed too hot for Australian television audiences.

The ad, aired nationally before it was voluntarily pulled, shows a man who is taken in by an attractive Italian-speaking woman standing on the side of the road, who at first berates him for looking at her and then turns seductive.

At the end of the ad, the man realises that in reality he has been looking at the Italian sports car parked on the side of the road, and only imagining the woman.

However, the ad - which has aired internationally - was deemed too raunchy by the Advertising Standards Board, and pulled by the company that supplied the ad, Fiat owner Chrysler Australia.

The complaint centred around the sexualisation of the woman at the focus of the ad.

“The advertisement is for a special version of the Fiat 500, with Abarth models being modified versions of the standard Fiat 500 with specially tuned engines and unique fittings and decals designed to make them even more appealing to the target audience of 29-54 year males and females who are looking for a car that stands out from the crowd,” Chrysler said in its defence of the ad.

“Contrary to what the complainant alleges in the complaint, the advertisement does portray women in a positive light by cleverly drawing a parallel between a beautiful woman and a car that people find appealing (particularly having regard to its Italian heritage) and which will be such an important part of their lives.

“There is also a humorous element in that the cappuccino which the man is holding is a beverage which originated in Italy,” the car-maker said.

Chrysler also said an allegation that the man was able to see the woman’s underwear had “absolutely no basis”, and argued that the sexualisation was sensitive to the target audience.

However, the advertising watchdog disagreed, saying one part of the ad did sexualise women.

“The board noted that in one scene the woman scoops foam from the man’s coffee and that some of this foam drips onto her chest whilst she uses the remaining foam on her finger to brush the man’s lips.

“The board noted that the advertisement does linger on her foam covered chest and considered that this depiction is sexualised,” it said.

Chrysler has since pulled the ad off the air and has given an undertaking to revise it before re-submitting it to the ASB for approval.

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