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Lowe Howard-Spink ad sparks feminist rage — Corsa Ads Prove That Mixing Leather And Jealous Supermodels Can Be Lethal By Susannah Richmon

LONDON–As militant feminists descend upon one of the U.K.’s top agencies,

The $12-million TV and poster blitz, for the new Vauxhall Corsa car, features five of the world’s top models having their noses put out of joint by attentions paid to a new rival, the Corsa, GM’s new subcompact. One controversial spot with sado-masochistic overtones features a leather-clad Naomi Campbell punishing a male prisoner in Clockwork Orange-type torture devices when he fails to take his eyes off the passing Corsa to worship her alone. This sequence wasn’t shown in Germany, officially because of time restrictions, although some speculate the reason had more to do with Campbell’s stormtrooper role.
This campaign has stirred up a hornet’s nest. Lobbyists from the Campaign Against Pornography paraded outside the agency’s Knightsbridge HQ with banners dubbing the shop “Lowe Howard-Stink.”
Last week, the TV censors cleared the ads of charges related to using degrading imagery, condoning violence and portraying women as vindictive and jealous commodities. Meanwhile an Independent Television Commission inquiry, staged in response to complaints, got Lowe to agree not to run the Campbell viguette before 9 p.m.
“There is a strong sense of irony in the commercials. If anything, our response has actually been to raise the question: ‘Do we overestimate consumers’ capacity to get the commercial?'” said an agency spokesperson.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)