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Sex may sell but crackdown looms on developers’ advertising hoardings

Ian Bushnell 8 November 2018 59

The WOVA development hoarding in Woden that was the subject of a complaint to the Advertising Standards Bureau. File photo.

The planning authority has foreshadowed a crackdown on so-called ‘sexy’ advertising hoardings around building sites in response to community concerns about the depiction of women.

Chief Planner Ben Ponton says the authority was looking at developing new advertising guidelines and using the planning approvals process to regulate the use of imagery deemed out of step with community values.

He said the main concern was that the nature of the advertising did not reflect what is being advertised, particularly with the use of images of scantily clad women.

The issue has been bubbling away for months with Minister for Women Yvette Berry previously singling out Geocon for the nature of its advertising, such as the hoarding around the WOVA development in Woden which attracted a complaint to the Advertising Standards Bureau.

It was subsequently dismissed but complaints have continued to pour in to MLAs offices and the planning authority about developers’ advertising hoardings.

On Wednesday (7 November), Labor MLA Tara Cheyne raised the issue at the Legislative Assembly during an annual reports committee hearing, saying there continued to be a proliferation of ‘sexy’  hoardings on building sites not limited to one company.

She said that a father had complained to her recently about his young daughter’s response to a hoarding in Belconnen which showed a naked woman in a shower having a good time. His daughter had asked him what that had to do with a building site.

“That stresses to me what sort of messaging are we allowing to be sent in a such a public way,” she said, asking planning officials what could be done about it.

Mr Ponton replied that his team was looking at the advertising guidelines for the bus network and regulation through the planning approvals process.

Elaborating on that today on ABC radio, Mr Ponton said there were a number of sites of concern but at present, hoardings were exempt from the approvals process.

“We will explore whether there is an opportunity through the development application process as a condition of consent to have the material provided back to the planning authority, where we can compare what’s been provided against criteria or guidelines that we’re hoping to develop,” he said.

“Already in Canberra when you think about what’s advertised on our bus network, there are guidelines in place already about what’s acceptable advertising and these guidelines look to reflect current community values. We’re hoping to explore something similar to apply to the planning approvals process.”

He said while there were no monetary sanctions available under the Planning and Development Act, there were other options through the approvals process although he would not speculate on whether this meant preventing or halting construction.

Mr Ponton said the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate planned to engage with the industry and the community before any action and this would take place in the New Year.

Comment has been sought from Geocon.


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59 Responses to
Sex may sell but crackdown looms on developers’ advertising hoardings
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ionameow 12:24 pm 16 Nov 18

People with daughters seem to understand the issues here, as they surely want their child to grow up feeling like an autonomous person rather than a sculpture piece! I feel like a lot of people who see no problem with this would feel very strange if a woman in a crisp ‘masculine’ business suit stood next to a man in budgie smugglers precariously/decoratively draped over a bicycle.

8:23 pm 10 Nov 18

I’m just so offended by this 😂😂😂

9:20 am 10 Nov 18

We all know how Geocon feels about women, it’s no secret. Remember what happened at Wayfarer? Women are there to be naked and serve men drinks, duh! But it’s ok cause they’re “Building Canberra”. 😂

10:32 pm 09 Nov 18

Rather look at her than the sweaty lycra ball sack brigade riding round town.

5:01 pm 09 Nov 18

Rebecca Zacka-Dann do we think my IG vid reached geocon?

1:41 pm 09 Nov 18



Fast forward to the free shuttle buses from Summernats to Fyshwick strip clubs with semi clad strippers promoting the service at an event that’s billed as a “family” event.

Concerned indeed.

1:11 pm 09 Nov 18

Absolutely pathetic.

10:02 am 09 Nov 18

#wovait #likesowovait🙄

Clean up your act Geocon. Your organisational culture is gross.

8:53 am 09 Nov 18

I don't find anything wrong. Swimsuit, dress, suit.....Its suppose to be appealing.

    4:29 pm 09 Nov 18

    He wears a business suit, she wears a swimsuit. Men are powerful, women are decorative. We unconsciously take in the message until it feels so normal that people wonder, what is the problem ?

    6:26 pm 09 Nov 18

    I saw in one of the poster that there was a women wearing a suit

    12:33 am 10 Nov 18

    Karen Feng what was the man wearing?

    8:03 am 10 Nov 18

    If you walk past the sign, you will see that she does not wear a suit even though she is featured multiple times.

    12:01 pm 12 Nov 18

    Its absolutely disgusting the way that the guy is put up there, looking all tall, dark and handsome. Its really just body shaming those "real" men out there with dad bods and cheap suits.

    5:09 pm 12 Nov 18

    Robbie Munday Body imagery in advertising is a separate debate. Let’s not confuse the primary topic by conflating the two issues 😊

    5:12 pm 12 Nov 18

    Isn't that what the underlying gist of the complaints were? I dunno, I didn't actually read the article. Its almost like I don't care or something.

    5:20 pm 12 Nov 18

    Robbie Munday Ok I meant the unrealistic, likely to induce body-shaming type debate is different to the power and control debate.

    11:09 pm 13 Nov 18

    advertisement are suppose to look appealing. If the advertisement shows the adults doing something questionable thay would be a problem.

8:09 am 09 Nov 18

Why isn't she in lycra????

4:50 am 09 Nov 18

She should be wearing a helmet

11:25 pm 08 Nov 18

I love how people are defending false advertising. Since when do women ride around in swim suits in Canberra like please, women spend more time covering up because they are freezing their asses off 😂

11:05 pm 08 Nov 18

Feature males models on the ads? I dunno. #equalitynow :p

    1:12 am 09 Nov 18

    Brad Rogers did anyone even stop to think of the horses??? They should be in this ad. #equalitynow :P

10:36 pm 08 Nov 18

Lucky these do gooders don’t live on the Gold Coast as you see that for real riding around the streets of surfers all the time. But wait it is Canberra the no fun capital

9:55 pm 08 Nov 18

Good! It is demeaning and sends the wrong message about women.

    9:14 am 11 Nov 18

    What - women shouldn't ride bicycles? Women shouldn't wear swimsuits? Women shouldn't ride alone?

    6:26 pm 11 Nov 18

    Martin Leonard if you don’t get it there’s no way I’m going to try and explain it

    6:27 pm 11 Nov 18

    But here’s a hint - it’s not about what women should and shouldn’t do

    7:18 pm 11 Nov 18

    Jill Lyall Ah but you imply otherwise. Are you of the belief that woman should not have featured as shown?

    10:26 am 13 Nov 18

    You go Marty. I’m offended that people are just so ridiculous nowadays. If women want to be in adds like that who is anyone to say she can’t.

    I really dislike people.

9:41 pm 08 Nov 18

It’s NOT a planning issue OK people! It’s called advertising , not planning. Regulate advertising if that’s what’s needed and let planners get on with planning.

9:36 pm 08 Nov 18

About bloody time. When my 10 year old niece saw the Geocon ad for Tryst she exclaimed "What's that woman for to do with selling apartments?". If a 10 year old can see the problem then Geocon should be able to too!

    9:57 pm 08 Nov 18

    Do you say the same about the mentos ads? Haha. I think this is common across advertising. What does George Clooney know about coffee? Or what does Mark Taylor know about air conditioning? Haha. Standard advertising I think

Blen_Carmichael 9:35 pm 08 Nov 18

Oh my God. There’s a photo of a woman in a one piece swimsuit on a bicycle. If men see this they will turn into Benny Hill clones, leer at women, and tell smutty jokes.

9:19 pm 08 Nov 18

Meanwhile, in Cirrus Belconnen... (yes; that 24 stores building sandwiched between the Mall and Lake)

8:48 pm 08 Nov 18

Don't we all wear bathing suits when riding a bike?

    9:12 pm 08 Nov 18

    Boweavil Kat apparently athletes when doing athletic things.

    9:14 pm 08 Nov 18

    Julie Maynard most people on bikes are athletes

    9:53 pm 08 Nov 18

    They’re probably more likely to want to have happy fit athletes in ads rather than the realistic scenario of overweight unhappy people sitting watching tv haha. Nobody really wants to see that, unless they made it funny. Different kind of marketing though.

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