Sexpo has had a win via a decision from the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) to dismiss complaints about a Sexpo advertisement on the back of a Brisbane bus in August. The complainant alleged that there was nudity in the advertisement but more importantly that they were exploitative and degrading to women. The complainant also said that their children had raised embarrassing questions about sex after seeing the advertisement and that within two clicks of the Sexpo website you could access material intended for an adult audience.

The board found that the images in the advertisement were not exploitative because it was a ‘sex exposition’ and the use of male and female models as they were shown was relevant to this sort of show. The board said that what was alleged to be ‘lewd’ dress was actually ‘mild’ and that a man’s bare chest was within the bounds of decency.

To the charge that it was inappropriate for Brisbane City Council to allow public buses to run advertisements for sex industry events, the board said it was not the council’s role to pass judgement on the type of advertisements that were appropriate for what type of bus and that they were only concerned with the audience that was likely to see the advertisement.

In the past there have been issues around censorship of outdoor advertising in Queensland. In 2012, Wendy Francis, Queensland State Director of the Australian Christian Lobby appeared before a Queensland state parliament committee and argued that all billboards and outdoor advertising should be G rated. Wendy was successful in having outdoor advertising for a safe sex campaign (Rip & Roll) taken down in Queensland.

All this goes to show that Queensland is still one of the most conservative states in Australia. However, if our members are smart in preparing outdoor advertising by referring to previous judgements from the ASB, you can still get your message across.