Sunday, November 08, 2015

Property developer says billboard showing a 'deeply offensive' image was just 'a bit of a laugh'

A storm of controversy has blown after a company placed a billboard on a busy highway that shows the shadows of a man and a woman merged in a suggestive image.

New Zealand property developers Gillman Wheelans erected the advertisement on a highway in West Melton in Christchurch.

With the accompanying caption 'getting the job done, ' the billboard shows a female construction worker kneeling in front of a male co-worker. When combined, their shadow casts a suggestive image.

But some found the advertisement hard to swallow, with one woman lodging an official complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Gillman Wheelans director Hamish Wheelans told Daily Mail Australia they made no apologies for using humour in their advertisements.

'I think you choose to be offended or not. I think the complaint probably took it a bit far - it was about humour.'

The complaint, lodged by Christchurch artist C. Logan, claimed the billboard was 'deeply offensive' and undermined the role of women in the construction industry.

'It implies that women are sexual objects to be used for men's sexual gratification,' the complaint read.

'As a woman who has worked in construction in the past, the already entrenched sexism faced daily is only worsened by the proliferation of this kind of advertising message in public spaces.'

Wheelans said he believed it was 'ironic' that an artist had complained as they are 'supposed to look at things with open eyes.'

The complaint was not upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority, who voted in a majority decision that the ad did not meet the criteria for causing serious or widespread offence.



Anonymous said...

It is unnecessarily suggestive for no useful purpose.

Anonymous said...


I agree, (Unless the purpose is to be getting people talking about the company in which case the billboard is quite effective.)

The real issue to me is not whether someone "chooses to be offended" as the business states. That response is almost as ridiculous as the ad.

The issue is "what do you do with that 'offense?'"

In this case, the offended woman chose to have the government step in. That's offensive to me. If you don't like an advertisement or something, write a letter, boycott the business, explain to people why you think the thing is wrong.

Don't go yelling to the government to stifle the speech because you're offended because eventually, there is going to be something that offends everyone.

Anonymous said...

Only persons with a "dirty mind" would read into the ad all this exaggerated "implication", which is clearly bordering on hysteria (and so reflects on the viewer rather than the ad itself - although the company was obviously playing on the possible response for additional attention). But the image itself is not obscene in any way.

Use the Name, Luke said...


The company said they were trying to be funny. Thus the implication of the shadows was intentional, because that's the only thing on that billboard that can be a joke.

Anonymous said...

Some people need to get a life and get out more. Living in your own bubble doesn't give you the right to impose your views on others. Grow up.

Stan B said...

To all who are offended by two shadows:

"You're in more dire need of a blow job than any white man in history."

Bird of Paradise said...

These liberals need to get a life and quit their stupid whining

Alpha Skua said...

The Common Liberal(Whinus,Snivelus)This common creature can be found in large numbers in collages and universities their colors and a mixed bag and they can be identifed by their loud whinig calls