Target's Gok Wan in trouble over 'bangers'
Wan’s ad for Target bras, where he refers to women’s breasts as “bangers” generated several complaints to the Ad Standards Board from viewers.PT1M6S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2slvj 620 349 August 26, 2013
Department store Target appears to be getting bang for its buck by using British reality TV guru Gok Wan in a series of TV commercials, but his use of "bang" has some viewers up in arms.
The Advertising Standards Bureau has been forced to make a determination on Wan's use of the word "bangers" to describe breasts in ads about women not being properly fitted for bras.
"Your bangers will never feel more loved," Wan promises women if they wear a correctly sized bra.
Complaints about Gok Wan's Target commercials - and his use of the word 'bangers' - have been dismissed. Photo: Screengrab
The How to Look Good Naked presenter also describes breasts as "assets" in the commercials, which has drawn viewers' ire.
"I find it distasteful that he uses the term 'bangers' to describe women's breasts," one wrote to the bureau. "If a straight man were to use similar language during prime-time TV, there would be a huge outcry by women claiming sexist behaviour. There should be no different standards of acceptable language simply because a man appears to be gay."
Another complained: "Who on earth calls their breasts 'bangers' and why do we have to watch an obvious gay man talking about women in this way? It is insulting."
Target’s Gok Wan ads have raised ire. Photo: James Brickwood
"A female body is a beautiful thing, not to be cheapened by a poofter calling breasts "BANGERS"!!!," a third wrote. "I WAS BREAST FED, NOT BANGER FED! It's an insult to sooooo many Aussie men and woman to see poofs on tv but you let it happen. I haven't even started stirring up the national [Country Women's Association] clubs yet so look out!"
Others queried whether the use of "bangers" demeaned women and suggested that given its Australian use, Wan should have used another word.
"Women's breasts don't bang in any form ... Our breasts are not sausages."
A small number were offended because of Wan's sexuality.
"It's an offence to any decent person to watch some queer guy advertising and blaspheming and using insulting descriptive words re a woman's body and to be prancing around half dressed guys."
Target countered that the women in the commercials had "a range of normal body shapes" which were not idealised.
It also defended the choice of Wan, saying in its submission that he was a British style icon who was playfully irreverent, colourful and fun.
"Target strongly believes that a person's sexuality is irrelevant to their worth as a person. Target makes no apology for using a gay man in its advertising and we do not believe that this should be grounds for upholding a complaint."
It said that "bangers" was an "irreverent term of affection" chosen "in wry acceptance" that some women are unhappy with their breasts.
It was not chosen to be derogatory or suggest that breasts were meat, Target said, accepting that the lack of Australian understanding of the word's colloquial British use meant "boobs" may be substituted in later commercials.
The bureau dismissed the complaints, ruling that the ad was positive and light-hearted and its intent was to alert women to the importance of buying a correctly sized bra.
It ruled the use of "bangers" was not discriminatory and while some viewers may be offended by it, it was used as part of Wan's persona.
Target added Wan's commercials had already featured homewares and would soon include menswear and children's wear.
So bangers could be back.