Complaints against a Donegal nightclub which erected a billboard of a female golfer with the text 'Your 19th Hole for the Summer' have been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI).
64 complaints were received by the watchdog over the advertisement from Liberty's Nightclub in Buncrana which featured a close-up rear-view of a woman holding a golf club.
The main issues raised in the complaints were in relation to the advertisement being "offensive, misogynistic and promoting a rape culture".
One person said "the depiction of the woman reduced her to a sexual object", while some complainants believed the advertisement "implied that the woman was a ‘golf hole’".
Many complainants also said the ad implied "that men could access sex with young women at the nightclub and that it prompted sexually predatory behaviour".
The nightclub had stated that they intended no offence and had taken down the billboard three days after it was erected.
While the ASAI took this into account, it noted that "advertisements should avoid causing offence on the grounds of gender or the exploitation or demeaning of women and should respect the principle of the equality of men and women".
In accordance with this, they found that the ad was in breach of this Code, and took into consideration that "the advertisement had caused grave and widespread offence" as part of its finding.
In another finding issued today, the ASAI also upheld complaints against Ryanair for a leaving cert advertisement which featured on its social media accounts.
The post on Facebook and Twitter said: “To all #Leaving Cert and #ALevel students: plan your dream summer holiday now so you have something to look forward to. (Plane emoji on Twitter post) (Sunglasses emoji on the Facebook post.) Book on ryanair.com in between "studying" tonight. This could be you.” (Hand emoji pointing downwards to an image below).
The image below the text was of a man lying on a beach on his side, with his head supported on his elbow. An empty bottle was beside him.
12 complaints were received over the ad, with people saying it "normalised and encouraged drunken behaviour", and "was irresponsible towards young people and encouraged them to engage in harmful levels of alcohol consumption".
Ryanair said it "regretted" the interpetation that the posts promoted the misuse of alcohol and they remoed it immediately after being contacted by the ASAI.
They also said they "encouraged responsible drinking and had a zero-tolerance policy regarding alcohol misuse on-board their flights".
In upholding the complaints, the ASAI said that the advertising Code required that adverts "be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society and that marketing communications may not suggest, or commend, or make fun of over-indulgence in respect of alcohol or its after-effects".
"Marketing communications should not portray drinking alcohol as a challenge nor should they show, imply or encourage immoderate or irresponsible drinking.
"In addition, marketing communications should not depict any direct association with the consumption of alcoholic drinks and activities or locations where drinking alcohol would be unsafe.
The Committee found that Ryanair was in breach of five sections of the code.