Webafrica wins “man wearing a red dress” advert battle

The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) has ruled that a Webafrica advertisement showing a man wearing a red dress is not disparaging towards transgender people and sex workers.

The advertisement – pictured above – features a man wearing a red dress, makeup, fishnet stockings, and high heels, lying on his side, and suggestively playing with his wig.

A consumer who saw the advert took offence, saying the ad features an “intentional and targeted negative depiction of a man in women’s clothing in a provocative pose”.

He added that the Webafrica advert can be interpreted as discriminatory towards transgender people and degrades sex workers.

In drag

Webafrica responded to the complaint, highlighting that the ad does not depict a transgender person.

“The model in the photograph is a happily-married heterosexual man, in drag. If anything, the campaign is promoting the diversity of the South African audience,” said Webafrica.

The ISP added that the same character is used in all of its products, that he is always depicted in a light-hearted fashion, and there is no reference to sex workers.

The ASA agreed with Webafrica and dismissed the complaint, stating it is not discriminatory towards any gender group.

Now read: Webafrica splitting its business in two

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Webafrica wins “man wearing a red dress” advert battle