Consumer Direct – are we missing something?!

// 21 October 2009

Consumer Direct is a government-funded service set up to advise consumers of our rights.

They liven up this process with a series of slapstick photos of people in consumer-disaster situations, such as this guy whose jumper seems to have shrunk, a woman whose blender exploded and a man whose steering wheel came off:

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Reader Laura wrote in to point out that the image Consumer Direct chose for their “after you buy” advice section is inexplicably a woman with a construction workers’ helmet on, ear protection and… a bra?! What’s the consumer disaster?!


As Laura points out:

Why a woman in a bra? How does that relate to anything?

Is it meant to represent something, or could they just not bring themselves to put together a whole site without a ubiquitous woman-in-her-underwear shot?

The only thing that springs to mind is the old saw, about stealing the shirt off someone’s back. But if that’s it, why the construction worker’s gear?!

Comments From You

gadgetgal // Posted 21 October 2009 at 12:09 pm

I saw an ad a few weeks back for the estate agents Beresford Adams – it was done in the style of a comic book, with a husband and wife discussing buying a home. Inexplicably, though, the wife was changing her top at the time – odd.

If I can find it I’ll scan it and give you a link, it’s pretty weird!

Kez // Posted 21 October 2009 at 12:30 pm

That’s very bizarre altogether. Just looked at the website and cannot figure out at all why that woman is wearing a bra and a construction helmet.

Racking my brains and just not getting it. Unless it’s meant to be another “consumer disaster” – she bought a shirt and it…. went invisible??

Hannah // Posted 21 October 2009 at 1:42 pm

No Kez you’ve got it all wrong. Its obvious- she bought a shirt that was so loud she needed ear protection and a helmet!

It makes complete sense.

Bianca // Posted 21 October 2009 at 1:55 pm

It looks like a head superimposed on a different body. Creepy!

There was once some stoopid sexist video (for a song which was obviously REALLY forgettable because I can’t remember it) which featured women in construction helmets and underwear. Maybe that inspired the winker who created this image. I’d even go so far as to say s/he could have been involved in the Tango ads during their chequered past….in which case their ‘logic’ is going to defy all of us, so we might as well just put the kettle on (filled with gin).

liz // Posted 21 October 2009 at 1:57 pm

She’s put the sunglasses on and the earplugs to shelter herself form wolf-whistles?

She actually ordered a swim cap and goggles but they gave her a helmet and sunglasses?

Ridiculous in a kind of bemusing way..

Denise // Posted 21 October 2009 at 2:19 pm

Well, the woman with the spattered shirt is being punished for using a labour saving device. She should have done it the hard way with a wooden spoon or pestle-and-mortar. Who does she think she is, imagining she could save time for more interesting things?!

And the woman in the bra and construction helmet – she’s getting there, she knows you have to wear protective headgear for some jobs, but her fluffy laydee brain hasn’t yet worked out that you need protective overalls too. That’s why she looks a bit huffy.

Kate // Posted 21 October 2009 at 2:31 pm

Sorry, not a funny comment, but the way I read it was that she’s arrived on holiday to find her hotel is still being built or is right next to a building site. It’s happened to me in the past.

Kez // Posted 21 October 2009 at 2:42 pm

Could be, Kate. Although in that case, it would be more effective if she were wearing a bikini and clutching a beach towel… it still looks more like a bra, to me.

Melly // Posted 21 October 2009 at 3:14 pm

I was considering going into advertising, but it doesn’t take a degree so much as a grounding in ‘the basics of objectifying women and misogyny’.

Lizzy-Lou // Posted 21 October 2009 at 8:00 pm

That video was Benny Benassi’s Satisfaction:

Which, on a tangent, has reminded me of the video I hate most in the world (which is a shame as I like the song): Destination Calabria

I mean, seriously? Up the skirt shots, fellating trumpets, gawd, don’t get me started. My husband can quote my ire verbatim whenever this vid comes on at the gym…

earwicga // Posted 22 October 2009 at 12:06 am

Good find! I’ve emailed them to ask for an explanation for the inclusion of this picture. I stated that I couldn’t see it’s relevance and asked whether they really felt it was necessary for a gratitious breast shot on the website. The Contact Us link is at the top of the website page. The link for the pages including the breast shot is:

Rachel H-G // Posted 23 October 2009 at 2:50 pm

Lizzy, I didn’t even follow the link and I know what video you are referring to. It is vile. I never even knew the title until now.

The photo in question is confusing and silly as well as being sexist. What on earth is it supposed to symbolise? It could be the half-built holiday hotel, but there are easier ways of showing that.

Theo // Posted 23 October 2009 at 8:48 pm

This Consumer Direct Lady is not half as annoying as the old Gripfill Lady. She clutched her tubes of gripfill in each hand and used her upper arms to squoosh her bosom upwards towards the camera – which looked straight down her top. Check for the current Gripfill women. Less well endowed but just as unsuitably dressed for a building site.

It’s one of those things that makes me smack my head on the desk. It’s gripfill. It sticks stuff to other stuff (professional definition that). It does not need a young lady in denim cutoff shorts and tool belt to advertise it.

I have to also say, I find the Benny Bennassi video quite funny. I felt it was toungue in cheek enough to work, although it does tread very close to the line.


RadFemHedonist // Posted 27 October 2009 at 5:56 pm

The advert comes off as objectifying the woman to promote the service, the point is unclear, maybe she has arrived at a hotel or vacation house to find it half finished, maybe she has been sold an incomplete set of protective gear, maybe she works on a construction site and they’ve given her no overalls (in which case she’d be being denied her rights as an employee, not a consumer), there’s also the issue that the other woman shown is in a kitchen situation where as the men are not.

I hate that Destination Unknown video too, and I love the song too, that song is one of the mainstream videos I’ve seen that skates closest to pornography, the level of objectification is ridiculous, I hate how so many people say this stuff only happens in rap/hip hop videos (by which they also mean to imply that it’s mostly black artists that do this), there are tons of objectifying videos out there and it’s not as if rock, dance and all the other musical genres that have vocals don’t have their share of misogynist lyricists.

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