The Anglo-Dutch household products and cleaning group with brands such as Dettol, Disprin and Mr Sheen, commissioned ads which appeared in You magazine and the Sunday Mirror M Celebs magazine, featuring a girl in a bikini beside a pool with only her lower body visible.
In the background two girls stood behind her with their pony tails positioned to create an illusion of pubic hair peeping out of the main girl’s bikini bottoms. While the headline read, ‘This summer put stubble trouble behind you’ beside a box of bikini hair removal cream.
Reckitt Benckiser said the campaign was “different in style and tone from their previous campaigns” and that research beforehand provided no complaints. In fact, those who took part were motivated by a product that promised to remove the “potential horror” that the images evoked, Reckitt said.
However, the Advertising Standards Authority received a number of complaints about the ad and considered it would cause “serious or widespread offence.” The advert will not appear in either You or Mirror M Celebs magazines again.