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Sex Expo 2023 lands in hotwater over ‘cheeky’ posters

Published Oct 20, 2023


WITH less than a week to the highly anticipated adult-themed Sex Expo at the Gallagher Convention Centre, the event has garnered backlash, once again, over its 'cheeky' advertising campaign.

The expo's organisers launched and rolled out a massive advertising campaign across Johannesburg and Pretoria showcasing a curvy lingerie-clad bottom with The Sex Expo logo gleaming from one cheek.

According to the organisers, the main issue raised by 'ultra conservatists' revolved around the depiction of a bum in a g-string featuring the word “sex”, which many felt was too hot to handle.

As a result, they said mobile billboards put up had been slashed and vandalised, while the organisation behind the expo had received numerous emails and messages demanding the removal of the “offensive” imagery.

To add fuel to the fire, a petition on the platform with over 7500 signatures had also called on the Advertising Regulatory Board to remove the 'risque' advertising.

Due to this, the organisation highlighted how, feeding off the conservative backlash, both the city councils of Johannesburg and Pretoria city had rejected the campaign and refused to issue permission for it to be displayed on street poles across both cities.

“The Sex Expo is sexy, fun and tasteful, like the campaign, but unfortunately, you just can’t please everybody,” said expo organiser Sarah Dean.

“It’s bizarre that such an innocent and sassy image can generate such controversy in 2023. Online discounted tickets for this event are selling faster than ever, which shows that most people are actually pretty excited that we’re bringing sexy back!”

As a matter of fact, Dean explained that they had gone as far as conducting an independent and anonymous survey in local shopping centres around both cities just this past weekend, which found that the overwhelming majority of 2300 respondents either liked or had no issue with the campaign image.

Only 12% of people sampled were against the image, while the remaining 10% said they were unsure.

This is not the first time the Sex Expo has been taken to task for its advertising posters, as even with the run-up to the 2022 Sex Expo, the Tshwane municipality removed half of the event posters days before the four-day event, while the Johannesburg municipality notified organisers they had received complaints about its billboard on Malibongwe Drive.

However, despite the uproar over the advert, this year’s expo promises to take attendees on an elevated level of entertainment with sensual shopping, amazing stage performances, educational workshops, and a full spectrum of alluring products on display.

This year’s Expo at Gallagher Convention Centre will be taking place from October 26 to the 29.

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