(Marketingmagazine.com.my) – They say twice is always….. Firefly’s use of the female bottoms in a Facebook promotion for cheap air tickets has drawn a host of criticism from many quarters. Some called it disrespectful of women as objects for sale. And even after the airline removed the online advertisements, rights groups are up in arms.
Melissa Mohd Akhir of the Penang branch of Women’s Centre for Change (WCC), said Firefly could have chosen to enhance its commercial image by focusing on the quality of its services instead of resorting to what she described as “cheap advertising”.
“It is clear objectification when the image featured had zoomed in presumably on the buttocks of Firefly’s own women employees in order to sell discounted tickets.
“In featuring this tawdry advertisement, Firefly and other airlines that have utilised similarly tasteless marketing ploys, are effectively saying that women are mere objects for ‘sale’,” the group’s senior advocacy officer told Malay Mail Online when contacted for response.
She pointed out that Malaysia had only days ago celebrated with the rest of the world International Women’s Day with the hope that gender equality will soon become reality and a call on local businesses to stop discriminatory practises and misogynistic treatment of women.
“Disrespectful commercial practises that normalise exploitation of women must stop. Firefly and all corporations must prioritise respect,” she said.
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower) president Janarthani Arumugam said advertisements that use women’s bodies to lure more viewers were “highly disrespectful”.
“Depicting women’s bodies as commodities is symptomatic of the male gaze which objectifies women. Corporations co-opt these harmful perceptions and further perpetuate these limiting ideas of women,” she told Malay Mail Online.
The first advertisement posted along with the message “Come grab it real fast” showed a woman in the airline’s corporate orange colour standing beside a bench that had a signage that said “50%” on it. The woman’s skirt had the same “50%” imprinted on, indicating that the freshly painted sign had rubbed off on her derriere. Featured in the advertisement were the words “Firefly sticks to you”.
In the second advertisement where the airline said it was increasing its discount to 60 per cent, the figures “50%” and “10%” were imprinted on the black-skirted bottoms of two women. Beside their images was the phrase, “Oooppss.. We Did It Again”.
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Known as the ‘TED for Marketing’, campaign entries are presented by their brand marketers or campaign creators in an interactive format comprising of a 4-minute creative reel summarising the overall marketing campaign, followed by a 6-minute oral presentation highlighting significant aspects of the campaign, and finally a Q&A with the audience.
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