A TV ad campaign for dating site eHarmony featuring a lesbian couple making dinner has sadly made Australia’s list of the most complained-about ads of the last 12 months.
This week, watchdog Ad Standards unveiled the list of the ten ad campaigns that attracted the most complaints from the public up to June 30.
The eHarmony ad featuring the two women was one of four from last November featuring various couples together. The four ads attracted nine complaints overall.
“I don’t like the raunchy adds with same sex kissing moments etc,” one person wrote of the lesbian couple.
“It’s just to graphic for me to watch men kissing or females kissing in erotic scenes.”
Another complained, “Too much kissing..sloppy lips..revolting..and with covid such an issue I was particularly concerned by the ad.”
One person told the watchdog, “The advertisements are too graphic with the promotion of sex. EHarmony can advertise the product without the explicit scenes.
“Market the product to be inclusive of all people wanting to meet and leave it there.”
Another wasn’t happy about one of the eHarmony ads that featured a clothed straight couple in bed together.
“These commercials were on whilst the family was watching the pro surfing Saturday morning. The commercial appeared and two people are in bed etc etc,” they wrote.
Ad Standards throw out complaints about eHarmony ads
However in April, watchdog Ad Standards responded by dismissing all nine of the complaints.
“The only intimate behaviour between the couples in the advertisement is kissing,” the panel explained.
“[One] featured a couple in a bedroom scene however both people were fully dressed and did not engage in sexual activity.
“The Panel acknowledged that some members of the community may prefer not to see intimate scenes.
“However… the sexuality in the advertisement was very mild and not inappropriate for viewing by a general audience which may include children.”
In its response, eHarmony said all of the ads ran in appropriate timeslots, in line with their policy.
“There is no nudity in any of the ads. Whilst there is a clip in one ad of a couple in bed, it is not an explicitly sexual clip,” they said.
The company added, “One of those viewers objected to an ad merely because it showed a same-sex couple kissing.
“eharmony is proud of being an inclusive service and believes that it is important to be representative of all Australians in its ads.”
Last year, Ad Standards also ruled a Bonds ad featuring a real-life gay couple didn’t breach the rules, despite numerous homophobic complaints.