This is a shampoo ad?

// 6 October 2008


There’s no explanatory text on the ad itself, but according to the commenters at AdsoftheWorld, it may have run with the caption: “Ensure that your hair will be the second thing he will look at”.

See also the “blond” version here.

Comments From You

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 6 October 2008 at 11:14 am

In a phrase – more ‘of the same – portraying women as men’s sexualised commodities.’ Look how small the actual product is which is supposedly what this advertisement is concerned with compared to the deliberate computer manipulation of the woman’s breasts. Who cares what the woman’s hair or face looks like it is her breasts which are apparently the most important item! Misogyny rules.

frau sally benz // Posted 6 October 2008 at 2:52 pm

WOW, that’s unbelievable! I know I shouldn’t be surprised, and yet, all I can think is “how do fake, airbrushed boobs sell shampoo?”

sianmarie // Posted 6 October 2008 at 3:31 pm

that has err, left me speechless!

i am often curious about a) the way products marketed at women are done in such an overtly sexual way, appealing to male sexuality and b) why shampoo, used by both men and women, is advertised in such a gendered fashion.

one horrible summer job i had in a market reseach call centre required me to do a survey on shampoo. i was not allowed to talk to men, as it was considered that men weren’t shampoo consumers. this just reminded me of that.

tom hulley // Posted 6 October 2008 at 8:03 pm

Does it appeal to male sexuality?

Here is a link to complain:

I wrote:

I find your ‘second thing he will look at’ advert is insulting to men and even more insulting to women. Welcome to the 21st century.

Here is the advertising standards complaint page:

ines // Posted 6 October 2008 at 8:50 pm

gee, if I buy that shampoo will my boobs get covered in cling film and almost-burst? I’d love to see that. Maybe if I get the conditioner I’ll get a vaginoplasty? What about the face cream, does a free pedicure come with it? Girls, this might be a good idea!

Rachel James-Bailey // Posted 7 October 2008 at 9:51 am

That is ridiculous. Methinks I will be boycotting Pantene.

Lucy McCarthy // Posted 7 October 2008 at 1:01 pm

Hi – just to say that the main thing that irritates me about this advert is that we still have to keep on pretending that all men are obsessed with breasts and breasts are the first thing that men notice about women and that men are all the same robotic testosterone-driven creatures blah blah blaaaah. And worst of all, that even ads aimed at women are really aimed at men. Aargh! The picture did make me gasp – such an image to advertise a shampoo (the image of which is tiny and close to the breasts just in case someone missed the real stars of the advert) is breathtakingly tacky/sexist/vile but the words have left me seething. I will complain immediately!

Jules // Posted 7 October 2008 at 1:38 pm

Yeah, sure the motive’s not the best, but it would be really nice if you would not talk about a WRONG subline: “Ensure that your hair will be the second thing he will look at” is definately not anywhere on the ad BUT:

“Pantene con Pro Vitaminas”. – even with my not-too-good spanish knowledge I can realize that they’re playing with VITAMINS – and that even aaaalmost worked. Almost but well.



Jess McCabe // Posted 7 October 2008 at 2:17 pm

Jules – if you see my post, I did say that the text does not appear on the ad, but commenters at AdsoftheWorld reported that’s the tag-line which ran alongside the posters when they appeared originally.

George // Posted 7 October 2008 at 4:51 pm

I really don’t understand how such blatant photoshopping has come to be so unremarkable. Do we really think that the ‘perfect’ breasts are the ones only truly seen on pixelated females? Odd.

tom hulley // Posted 7 October 2008 at 8:00 pm

Here is the reply I received from Procter and Gamble who make Pantene:

Reply from ProcHello and thanks for your email.

All advertisements produced on our behalf are checked internally to ensure compliance with UK codes and law. In the UK there is an independent check of TV Advertising conducted by Clearcast;

advertisements can only be broadcast if they have Clearcast approval.

Clearcast is a private body funded by the broadcasters which operates an independent pre-clearance of advertising on behalf of the UK TV commercial networks. Clearcast check that all claims are supportable and that all advertisements are “legal, decent, honest and truthful”.

We thoroughly test our advertising with consumers before airing to ensure that the adverts are relevant and will be well liked. We do recognise that TV complaints are usually a matter of personal sensitivity and taste and we are sorry that you have been disappointed.

Kind regards,


Consumer Relations

So I am over sensitive so that’s all right then!

The Advertising Standards surprise-surprise Authority said they were not able to cover website advertising. I didn’t say the ad was on a website just my information about it!

Incidentally, the Guardian had a full page sexist and lying (about the product) advert today -like pomegranates make people healthy and sexy?

Kath // Posted 7 October 2008 at 10:59 pm

Jules – there is more text on the ad. To the left of the woman’s head in both ads. I can’t read it but the Ads of the World commenters seem to be sure that it’s what Jess said. Unfortunately I am not surprised to see women commodified in this way, even in an ad aimed at women.

Kim // Posted 8 October 2008 at 1:22 am

Now that I have recovered from the sort of advertising I really shouldn’t be surprised by anymore… I will follow Rachel’s lead and boycott Pantene.

lucy // Posted 8 October 2008 at 8:06 am

Re: Tom, this add isn’t running in the UK, so it’s beyond the ASA’s concern.

Re: the add. Yes, the best way to deal with this might be contacting the client, but bear in mind also the advertsing firm, who, according to their website.

nick // Posted 8 October 2008 at 8:57 am

If this advert is wrong …

what about the sexist Aero Bubbles advert on TV ? I will complain to the ASA on the grounds thats its sexist against men ……….what do other people think ?



Leigh Woosey // Posted 8 October 2008 at 10:58 am

Jess- If this is an Ad for Brazil, why is it on a blog for UK Feminist issues?

Jess McCabe // Posted 8 October 2008 at 11:03 am

@Leigh – Sure, it’s a UK feminist site, but that doesn’t mean we’re only confined to writing about stuff that happens in the UK.

Leigh Woosey // Posted 8 October 2008 at 11:16 am

I really think you should have made the provenance clearer then, Jess. We’ve got people posting links to UK complaints which might not help in this case

A Suggestion For Complaints:

Contact Parent company Proctor And Gamble at

Sabre // Posted 8 October 2008 at 11:49 am

@ nick; if you find the Aero ad offensive then you should complain. I don’t suppose many people were looking at the aero bar!

One point though, it’s worth noting that when people get annoyed about an advert that demeans women it’s not just about that particular advert, it’s also about the fact that the advert isn’t alone in demeaning and objectifying women. There are many many offensive adverts like this out there. It’s almost standard now to see adverts and images like this using, distorting and sexualising women’s bodies to sell things. If it were a one-off thing then it wouldn’t matter so much (to me anyway). I would venture to say that the Aero ad objectifying men is a rare one-off thing and not really parallel to the huge volume of adverts/images objectifying women in every type of media.

Flo // Posted 8 October 2008 at 12:26 pm

@ nick – I don’t have a TV so I can’t comment on the aero ad, but I think it might be interesting to see what kind of response you get from the ASA if you do complain. It would probably be much the same as the ones posted here (because yes, as we all know here, the patriarchy hurts men too) but it would be worthwhile to find out if they treat your complaint in the same infuriating way.

Qubit // Posted 8 October 2008 at 3:53 pm

Nick, I agree the advert is worthy of complaint. I think you would stand more chance of getting your complain upheld if you also mentioned that it was unnecessarily explicit since sexism is rarely upheld.

I hadn’t seen it so I had to look it up on You Tube and don’t have sound here so I am not sure if you have any additional grounds for complaint based on what the guy says. However the obvious sexualisation of the man and unnecessary nudity would make reasonable grounds for complaint from what I have seen.

nick // Posted 9 October 2008 at 11:05 am

Thanks for all your comments.

I have complained to the ASA…I will await there response..

@Sabre …

I have also complained about the

Minstrel advert in tv …sophisticated silliness ……. where two women go to a theatre …talk about the dancing etc …..when next minute a troupe of male strippers appear on stage and take their trousers off ……

being objects for women ?

and also Ocean Spray advert …where two women are in a health spa and they ‘ogle’ at a male employee…one scene is shown with two female hands prints on the rear of his white trousers …….what is that implying ?

that it is ok for women to touch men

inappropiatly ????

Kim // Posted 10 October 2008 at 7:39 pm

Yes, Nick, it is definitely right to complain about an advert with unnecessary and seemingly pointless nudity or innuendos… I don’t believe that men are objectified the way women are, the media is the culprit of course. But the old adage is true and two wrongs don’t make a right; in a perfect world, neither the Aero nor the Pantene advert would exist, but let’s not ignore one because of the other, eh? Sexualising both sides isn’t creating equality, it’s making it worse. Don’t worry, we’re very aware of that.

Altissima // Posted 13 October 2008 at 2:13 am

It’s difficult to see in this image, but there is some text in a dark reddish circle in her hair to the left of her mouth/chin. It says something along the lines of “Real hair in a fake world” or some such. Makes more sense now, but still not real impressive

nick // Posted 14 October 2008 at 2:41 pm

I have a letter from the ASA regarding my complaint about the Aero advert.

It basicially said thanks for my letter,

but they do not think a naked man advertising chocolate is sexist and wont

be taking my complaint any further as

not enough people have complained that it is sexist ……..

so its ok then …………..

hmmmmm…….I take it you guys have

had a similar experience dealing with the ASA ?



john // Posted 28 October 2008 at 3:06 pm

I have complained about the aero advert too. I think it is very sexist – objectification of the male without doubt. Quite simply this would not be allowed the other way around. Why this advert is allowed pre-watershed is beyond me. It appears that complaints regarding sexism against the male is completely overlooked by the ASA who either refuse to take it seriously via their ignorance, or else the ASA must have a heavy weighting of female management who use their power to further polarise men & women by allowing this immature and pathetic revenge tactic! Many young boys are going to be seriously affected in the future because of ASA’a lack of interest in sexism against men. THey are just too short-sighted to see how it will affect our future generation.

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