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Watch company withdraws ‘sexist’Hong Kong ads, (DPA) 28 April 2007
HONG KONG – A watch company Saturday withdrew a Hong Kong newspaper advertisement for a luxury watch designed for pilots that carried the slogan: ‘Often seen on stewardesses’ bedside tables.’
IWC Schaffhausen told Deutsche Presse-Agentur DPA it would apologize to customers for the ad which was criticized as sexist and offensive by both pilots and flight attendants.
The advertisement for the 10,000 US dollars Big Pilot’s Watch ran on the front page of English-language daily the South China Morning Post last Wednesday. Beneath the slogan, the advertisement describes the men’s watch as ‘not infrequently spotted in bedrooms’ and says its power reserve ‘means you can afford to stay in bed that little bit longer.’
Complaints were lodged by customers, flight attendants and customers of the watch company, the consumer council and the newspaper. One 32-year-old Cathay Pacific flight attendant said the ad was ‘breathtakingly sexist and seems to make out that flight attendants are loose women who sleep with pilots just because they’ve got a nice watch.’
IWC Shaffhausen spokeswoman Enrica Tong said the watch company had received a number of complaints about the advertisement and was sending out a letter of apology to customers. In the letter, the company says the advertisement sought to convey the ‘charm and twinkle in the eye’ of a pilot’s lifestyle and ‘focused on the old word cliche about pilots and stewardesses.’ However, the company admitted it had failed to get the tone right and said: ‘We apologise for any offence we may have caused. It was by no means intended when the advertisement was created.’
John Findlay, general secretary of the Aircrew Officers Association which represents Hong Kong pilots, said pilots and flight attendants alike objected to the advertisement, which he called ‘tasteless.’ Findlay, who is married to a senior Hong Kong-based flight attendant, added, ‘There’s no point in asking our members to boycott IWC watches as I have never seen a pilot wearing one.’