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“Sexist and degrading” wine advert banned over “Taste the bush” tagline

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Anna Pollitt
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A wine advert inviting people to “Taste the bush” has been banned for being “offensive” and “degrading” to women.

The internet ad shows a glass of Premier Estates' red wine positioned in front of a woman's crotch as she tells viewers, “some say you can almost taste the bush.”

With it not being 1975, or a scene from Austin Powers, people complained to the Advertising Standards Authority. 

In a ruling published on Wednesday, the ASA spelled out to Premier Estates what one of its marketeers should probably have done before the ad first went live in August:

“Most viewers would understand the claim ‘some say you can almost taste the bush’ to be a reference to oral sex, particularly given that it was accompanied with the image of the wine glass positioned directly in front of the woman’s crotch.

“We considered that it served to undermine her as, until that point, she had been portrayed as confident and in control while discussing the merits of the wine.

“For that reason, we considered that the ad presented the woman in a degrading manner, and concluded that it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.”

The musty idea was thought up by ad agency Saatchi Masius, owned by the famous Saatchi & Saatchi brand.

Saatchi Masius executive creative director Surrey Garland had said that the campaign aimed to counter the wine industry image of “pompous blandness”.

The wine company's founder Budge Dhariwal said the ad “captures the brand’s unique British humour and banter.” Ah, banter.

Budge Brands Ltd, Premier Estates’ parent company, “acknowledged that the joke might not be to everyone’s taste” but said it had been “careful to ensure the wording worked on both levels – as innuendo and as a straight piece of monologue”.

The firm, which expected the ad to generate 20 million page impressions, denied that the advert was degrading to women because the narrator was “confident, elegant […] calm and reasoned”.

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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at Stylist.co.uk, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant. The baby is borrowed.

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