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Are you offended? Company attacked over use of female models

PUBLISHED: 12:57 10 January 2019 | UPDATED: 07:54 11 January 2019

Agrifac managing director Andy Carse pictured in May 2018. Picture: www.edp24.co.uk

Agrifac managing director Andy Carse pictured in May 2018. Picture: www.edp24.co.uk

An East Anglian farm machinery supplier has defended employing models wearing skin-tight dresses to promote their brand.

Agrifac UK sparked outrage after a picture of staff accepting an award alongside two models was published online.

The firm, based in March, prompted a major social media debate when they posted the image after their victory at the Lamma trade show in Birmingham.

It showed models wearing tight red dresses displaying the Agrifac logo and knee high white boots.

In the past few years the use of models – especially at sporting events such as boxing and motor sports – has been branded sexist and demeaning by some people.

A male farmer, David Hill, started off the debate, posting: “Call me grumpy or PC, but isn’t it about time we as an industry started thinking of moving on from having sexy girls on podiums to sell a product? The rest of the world is moving on and maybe we need to as well.”

Jono Dixon posted: “There is nothing better than an attractive lady. However I am certain that @AgrifacUKltd needs to think again about their marketing ploy. Unnecessary nowadays.”

But Steve Pomeroy posted: “If the girls are happy to show themselves in this way, let them be. The Agri industry is hardly glamorous and mainly a male orientated industry. No harm to anyone.”

But many working in the industry – which has a woman, Minette Batters, at the helm as president of the NFU – responded with outrage. Emma Germano tweeted: “The industry will be ‘male dominated’ as long as it takes for the image of the industry to change. Using women to market this way creates that image.”

Ruth Darling added: “It’s a reasonable expectation that men and women get on by their brains and aptitude in their career. Imagine two hunky men posing sexily instead in this pic – having women posing is just as ridiculous, it’s 2019 not 1970.”

A spokesman for Agrifac defended the use of models at their stand. He said they had been “disgusted” by some of the social media comments. “The keyboard warriors are hiding behind their computers.

“We did not get a single complaint at the show. To call the models ‘Barbie dolls’ was just awful. We employ women in our business and we believe in equal rights.”

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