La Unión Cement is accused of producing sexist advertising, including using bikini-clad women and close ups of cleavages, to sell its product.
A court in Valencia is due to rule on the alleged sexist advertising after a lawsuit was filed against the building supplies company in October by the Madrid-based Institute of Women, part of the government´s Ministry of Equality.
It is the first time the Violence Against Women department of the public prosecutor´s office has been part of a case of sexist advertising, it will rule alongside the department of trade on the case.
A still from one of La Unión´s corporate videos.
La Unión has been controversial in its advertising methods for some years, often recruiting attractive women for its campaigns and trade shows, which many might argue, have little to do with the actual product – cement.
The lawsuit concerns various promotional videos for the cement company, which show scantily clad women for no apparent reason, something which is clearly sexist, according to the Institute of Women.
“Our job is usually based on raising awareness of gender equality but sometimes there are instances, such as this, when we are moved to take legal action,” the Institute´s Head of Communication, María Jesús Ortiz Gómez, told The Local.
And the company does not stop at using women in its advertising campaigns, even its packaging features suggestive cartoons of big-breasted women.
An advert for La Unión cement.
The prosecution has demanded that the cement company cease all allegedly sexist advertising and has also asked the court to ban any further usage of the images in question.
The defence has argued that the images belong to an old campaign that is no longer running.
La Unión has previously been keen to point out how much it prizes equality.
“La Unión reaffirms its corporate vision in favour of the training of women and their inclusion in the company,” it said in a press released dated August 2015.
The company claims that it “exceeds today´s standards of equality and gender parity.”
Spain's law against gender violence allows the courts to “bring injunctions against advertising that uses degrading images of women” in terms established by the General Laws on Advertising.
A judge in southern Spain banned budget airline Ryanair from advertising its charity calendars in 2013 because they featured “discriminatory” images of flight attendants in bikinis.