Calls for Elle Macpherson Intimates TV ad to be banned

LONDON - A woman whose daughter was murdered has called for the new advertising campaign for Elle Macpherson Intimates, which shows a woman wearing underwear while holding a deadly knife, to be banned.

Writing in The Mail on Sunday, Liz Longhurst, whose daughter Jane was murdered by a man obsessed with necrophilia, said that the ad campaign should be banned for linking sexual titillation with violence.

The ad she writes about is "knife fight", which opens with a woman standing in Intimates underwear picking up and putting down knives in a kitchen. It then shows two women having a naked knife fight and ends with a woman cleaning blood off the kitchen floor.

Macpherson has defended the ad campaign as being "beautifully haunting and ambiguous", but Longhurst has hit out.

In The Mail on Sunday, she writes: "Without the sales pitch, what is there in Elle Macpherson's campaign but the picture of a faceless woman, clutching a knife, in titillating underwear. How easily could that become a distorted fantasy for some."

Conservative media pressure group MediaWatch has said it will complain to Ofcom about the advertising and back calls for a ban.

Longhurst has started a campaign to have websites featuring images of simulated necrophilia and strangulation banned after it was revealed that her daughter's killer, Graham Coutts, spent hours on the internet looking at such sites.

While her campaign has received support from MPs and the public, she says that the task is proving difficult, "not least because there is money to be made out of an industry built on violence and sex".

There are guidelines saying that banks should not do business with websites dealing with sexual violence, but Longhurst says they have no teeth.

"In shock value, not 'beautiful ambiguity', there is money to be made. Advertisers are well aware of that. They see these images and the publicity they generate as simply good business," she wrote in the MoS.

The Elle Macpherson Intimates campaign started out as a press execution, but media agency Rocket, led by strategy director Donna Glanvill, thought that TV should be the lead media. This led Australian creative agency, The Glue Society, and photographer Mario Sorrenti collaborate on the two films in the campaign.

The campaign drew complaints when it first aired in Australia, and in March this year the Advertising Standards Authority banned an Intimates press ad after complaints that it depicted masturbation.

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