After receiving a ton of backlash from the public for using photos of women’s buttocks to promote discounted flights, Firefly Airlines issued an apology for its sexist ads.
The airline was heavily criticised after posting 2 related advertisements – one on 7th March, the other on 11th March – on its Facebook page. The ads featured the bottom half of women in pencil skirts. Both images have since been removed from all social media platforms.
“We at Firefly have no intention to be sexist in how we conduct our business and we have the utmost respect for everyone. We regret that our recent advertisement visuals caused discomfort in certain quarters and for that, we apologise,” said Firefly in a statement.
The first image showed a woman in the airline’s corporate orange colour skirt, standing next to a bench that said “50% off” on the seat with the warning “Caution wet paint”. The woman’s skirt had the same “50% off” imprinted on it, implying the fact that the wet paint had rubbed off on her behind. Appearing beside the advertisement were the words in bold: “Firefly sticks to you”.
On the second advertisement, the low cost airline said it was increasing its discount to 60%, with the figures 50% + 10% imprinted on the women’s bottoms. Beside the graphic was the phrase, “Oooppss.. We Did It Again”.
Facebook user Heather Smeaton criticised the ad by stating, “This ad is incredibly sexist and is, I think, disrespectful to women. To offer discounts, which are printed on flight attendants’ bottoms (are their ‘services’ for sale?) gives a terrible impression about how you view your female staff and women in general. I think you should come up with a new ad.”
DAP Wanita assistant publicity secretary Syerleena Abdul Rashid described the ads as “mind boggling” and it “was a huge mistake” on Firefly’s part. “The series of offensive advertisements sanctioned by the company have single handedly destroyed women’s rights advocacy by ‘dismembering’ us in an atrocious manner, solidifying the idea that women are just the sum of our bodies,” she said.
Rantau Panjang MP Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff has also requested to ban the use of women’s bodies for future promo materials. “We hope the ministry stops all these, restricts and bans all forms of advertisements which exploits women in any way, regardless even if the ad features a women’s legs, or faces which makes us feel as if women are trade tool in our country,” she told Malay Mail.