An Air New Zealand advertisement portraying older single women as man-hungry "cougars" who troll bars for fresh "meat" has sparked outrage, particularly among rape prevention groups in New Zealand.
The online ad, done in the style of a mock nature documentary, was promoting a competition for free tickets to a rugby tournament. According to the New Zealand Herald, the promotion, by the airline's Grabaseat discount airfare site, encouraged women 35 and over who pursue men at least 10 years younger, to compete for tickets by sending pictures of themselves out with their friends, or "cougar mates," presumably on the hunt.
For those unfamiliar with the term, "cougar" is often used to refer to a sexually aggressive older woman who seeks younger men. Think the Courtney Cox series "Cougar Town."
In the risque ad, the narrator introduces the cougar as "too old to be girlfriend, too young to be your mother," and as "starving itself on sparse vegetation during the day then hunting large slabs of meat at night" by seeking out young men at a bar. The cougar, the narrator explains, hasn't "tasted fresh meat for days," and will eventually pounce and drag her young male prey back to her apartment "where it will cruelly be made to listen to Enya or the Eurythmics."
While a Grabseat manager defended the ad as "a good bit of light-hearted humor" and a celebration of the "quirky sense of humor Kiwis are renowned for," others are far from amused. New Zealand's Rape Prevention Education director Kim McGregor labeled the ad disgusting and degrading. And McGregor tells the New Zealand Herald says she's spoken with Air New Zealand employees who agree.
"They find it degrading and that it is encouraging potentially harmful behaviour, so my question is why is our national carrier promoting sexually predatory behaviour?" McGregor said. "We have also had complaints from male survivors who have been raped by women and they are very distressed that their situation is being laughed at and made out to be humorous."
Air New Zealand is no stranger to making headlines for its provocative ad campaigns. Check ouy last year's "Naked" ad spot.
The 'Cougar' ad: Funny or offensive? Watch below and let us know.