Topless Santa advert taken down for objectifying male model

Dating app’s tube ad featuring a topless Father Christmas after a hipster makeover is banned for objectifying the male model, 58, who stars in it

  • Lumen’s advert featured Paul Orchard, 58, posing topless to promote the app 
  • Advert saw him wearing braces and had caption ‘pull a cracker this Christmas’ 
  • Ruled advert must be taken down as it could be seen as ‘objectifying’ the man 

An advert which featured a picture of a topless Father Christmas has been banned amid claims it sexually objectified the 58-year-old model.

The dating app advert showed Paul Orchard, wearing braces and holding a phone with the caption: ‘Pull a cracker this Christmas.’

Exterion Media, Transport for London’s advertising firm, said the caption must be changed to something ‘less suggestive’ and the model must be covered up.

The advert by Lumen was ruled as ‘objectifying’ the male model in the advert

Exterion Media, Transport for London’s advertising firm, said the caption must be changed to something ‘less suggestive’ and the model must be covered up. Pictured: The new advert released by Lumen

Lumen, a dating app exclusively for over-50s, was accused of not being ‘compliant’ with the Committee of Advertising Practice guidelines and ‘could be seen as objectifying the man and his physique’. 

Model Mr Orchard said: ‘I’m surprised these ads have been banned, especially when you consider the other images you regularly see on the Underground of younger people wearing much less than I am.

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‘We worked hard to ensure the photographs were tasteful as well as fun, and it’s a shame TfL don’t see it that way.’

Tube bosses have clamped down on what they deem inappropriate adverts, but Lumen’s founders have labelled the decision as ‘absurb’.

A more ‘appropriate’ version of the advert is now on display in Euston station despite the topless version appearing on other parts of Transport for London. Billboards with the original image and tagline will appear across the country from next week.

Co-founder Charly Lester said: ‘This campaign is only meant to be a bit of fun. I didn’t think it would get banned, I thought it was funny. I don’t think it is rude — it is cheeky.

‘Our app is all about anti-ageism, body confidence and being yourself, so to have this banned is a bit depressing. It’s ridiculous and absurd.’ 

The advert has already gone up in parts of London, but a new version will soon be rolled out

Exterion rejected the advert due to ‘social responsibility and potential offence’, emails seen by the Evening Standard revealed.

Lumen had to use another version with the model in a red three-piece suit with the tagline ‘Santa, Baby.’ 

Ms Lester said the ‘sensitivity’ was born out of the controversy of a Protein World advert in 2015 which had a toned woman wearing a bikini asking ‘Are you beach body ready’. 

TfL said if an advert is deemed ‘not compliant’ they work with advertisers to amend it.

The Committee of Advertising Practice said adverts which reinforce gender stereotypes, like men struggling with household tasks or women as bad drivers, will be banned from next June.

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