Friday 19 January 2018

A bit of cleavage not shocking any more

The majority of people questioned in a poll think the Hunky Dory campaign is old-fashioned, writes Jerome Reilly

The public has rejected the notion that the use of scantily clad models in rugby gear in a billboard campaign for Hunky Dorys crisps is offensive.

A massive 85 per cent of respondents to a Sunday Independent/Quantum Research poll said they were not offended by the ad campaign that sparked a flurry of legal correspondence from the IRFU (Irish Rugby Football Union).

Now it has emerged that the IRFU has withdrawn its threat of legal action after the crisp manufacturer agreed to amend its ad campaign.

Largo Foods Ltd has agreed to remove any reference to "sponsors of Irish rugby" from its racy billboard campaign.

The adverts contained the tagline "Proud sponsors of Irish rugby". The IRFU strongly objected to the implied sponsorship by Hunky Dorys.

However, following a meeting with their lawyers on Friday, both sides came to an "amicable agreement" after Largo Foods agreed to remove any implied affiliation with the IRFU.

The Sunday Independent has learned that Hunky Dorys' sponsorship of Navan Rugby Club -- which they used to justify their claim to be "Proud sponsors of Irish Rugby" -- has been worth about €100,000 to the Meath club over the last three years.

Ray Coyle, the founder of Largo Foods, said that his company spent €500,000 on the advertising campaign, which was shot entirely in the US.

In the the Sunday Independent poll -- which found that more than eight out of 10 did not find the adverts offensive -- many respondents said they saw nothing particularly shocking in the use of scantly clad young women to sell a product.

In fact, some pointed out that it was a relatively old-fashioned marketing method.

There were some misgivings concerning the manufacturer's claim to be major sponsors of Irish rugby, with a couple of respondents seeing this as an attempt to cash in on the nation's currently favoured, and most internationally successful, sport.

"I nearly crashed when I saw the billboards but I wasn't offended," one male respondent said.

Another male described the advertising campaign as "Brilliant".

"I don't know whether to take up rugby or just eat the crisps," he added.

A female respondent said that while the adverts were not offensive, they were inappropriate.

Sunday Independent

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