A Donegal nightclub's female golfer billboard breached the advertising code after causing widespread offence.

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld complaints made against Liberties Nightclub’s ’19th Hole’ ad campaign after its content was considered to be offensive and misogynistic.

Sixty-four complaints were made against a billboard erected outside Buncrana in May 2018 which promoted Liberties as “Your 19th hole for the summer” with a focus on a woman’s bottom.

The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that the image focusing on a woman’s thighs and bottom was in breach of the standards code as it caused grave and widespread offence on the grounds of gender.

The billboard sparked a shocked response nationally when it was first revealed in May. It was taken down three days later following a weekend of heated debate.

Many of the complaints to the ASAI were in relation to the advertisement being offensive, misogynistic and promoting a rape culture.

Complainants considered that the advertisement had an inappropriate focus on the image of the woman’s bottom and that the depiction of the woman reduced her to a sexual object. The content was considered objectifying of women and some people considered that the advertisement implied that the woman was a ‘golf hole’.

The advert was seen to prompt ‘sexually predatory behaviour’, according to many complaints to the ASAI, and implied that men could ‘access sex with young women at the nightclub’.

Liberties Nightclub responded to complaints to say that no offence was intended and that the golf-themed advertisement was being used to promote Liberty’s nightclub as a potential venue (i.e. 19th hole) for tourists during the Irish Open.

The advertisers said the depiction of a woman’s body was not a ‘conscious decision’ and that they considered using men or women as the featured image.

The ASAI Complaints Committee said that advertisers went against the Code of Standards by causing offence on the grounds of gender.

Liberties have been advised not to run the advert again and to “respect the principle of equality of men and women” in future adverts for nightclub events.