Remember last month when the Australian Christian Lobby began a bizarre and unexpected campaign against Volleys? Well, the company has been officially reprimanded by an ad standards body, but the ACL still isn't happy.
Everyone's favourite cheap sandshoe came under fire for a racy tennis-themed ad campaign featuring naked bodies and lots of skin contact in a push that also promoted safe sex, titled Grassroots.
Wendy Francis of the ACL complained about the "R rated images" of the campaign (they're definitely not R-rated, but decide for yourself by clicking here) and claimed it violated "kids' innocence".
Well, Francis and the ACL have claimed a win. In a finding published on the website of the Advertising Standards Bureau, a complaint against the Volley campaign was upheld. The complaint made about Volley claims "my children all play tennis and to see the tennis racquet wrapped in a condom with a suggestive message as though the handle was a penis is distressing to them and upset them greatly as well as the semi pornographic poses of the naked models simulating sex".
"They sell shoes to young children. I do not approve of my toddlers being exposed to nudity. It
is just way too explicit. Even swimwear models wear more than these shoe-models!" the complaint, which did not feature the name of the complainant, stated.
The ASB dismissed complaints against many parts of the campaign, and noted that Volley had removed several images from their website, but did uphold a complaint against one image -- described as "a man has his hands inside the front of the white underpants of a person doing a handstand against his body" -- as breaching advertising codes around nudity and sex.
The report notes that, following the ruling, Volley "removed the video and three of what we believed were images of more concern to complainants" from their website. The campaign itself, which formerly could be found at this link, has also been removed from the website.
"Subsequently, the #Grassroots landing page / links of the "Volley" website including remainder of the #Grassroots images have been permanently removed and we confirm that no #Grassroots images will be redeployed on the "Volley" website," Volley said in response to the ruling.
On Tuesday, the ACL said in a press release it was happy with the ruling, but still mad at Volley because the company wasn't fined or further punished. The ACL was also unhappy that the complaint was made on January 4 and the ruling made on February 8, but not published until February 20.
"For an entire month, Volley were given a free kick to continue to sexualise our children," Francis said.
"And when the ASB ruled against Volley – for a second time on this ad campaign -- there was no penalty, no fine, no nothing."
ACL managing director Lyle Shelton also claimed a tweet Volley sent in reply to Francis -- which said "thanks for rooting for us!" with a smiling emoji -- was "offensive" and "misogynist".
"They should apologise to her," Shelton said.
The ACL is now collecting signatures to petition communications minister Mitch Fifield.
"As Volley Australia has demonstrated, self-regulation has clearly failed," Francis said.
"The Australian public have an expectation that children deserve to be protected from sexually explicit adult concepts. It is in recognition of their basic right to innocence."