A travel company in Kazakhstan is defending a bizarre ad campaign that’s been widely panned across social media for featuring models posing naked as flight attendants to communicate that the brand’s services add nothing to the price of a plane ticket (get it?).
The spot remains up on Facebook and YouTube despite a slew of complaints that it is “demeaning,” “tasteless” and “unpleasant.” The design of the flights attendants’ cap is particularly shocking when they place them over their private parts toward the end of the spot.
Chocotravel ticketing service director Nikolay Mazensev said the ad is “bold and outrageous and we did not mean to offend,” the BBC reported. But Mazensev added: “It shows no less than you’d see on the beach or by the pool. Do you attack girls in short skirts or swimsuits?”
“There’s definitely no sexism,” added Nurken Rzaliyev, an employee of parent company Chocofamily. “Opinions were divided, but attention was made to the problem of high ticket prices.”
Others disagreed with that. PR and communications consultant Marat Raimkhanov described the ad to the BBC as “a triumph of misogyny, a gesture of desperation to attract public attention. It’s a total failure—socially, morally and professionally.” Raimkhanov also called for a boycott of the Chocotravel brand.
A day after the flight attendants ad broke, Chocotravel rolled out a male version with essentially the same theme, featuring naked men. That did little to mitigate the criticism, with several viewers pointing out that the men are dressed as pilots, reinforcing other gender stereotypes.