This Dating Agency Advertised 'Lonely Ukrainian Women' To UK Readers

·2-min read
The ads are now banned. (Photo: Catherine Falls Commercial via Getty Images)
The ads are now banned. (Photo: Catherine Falls Commercial via Getty Images)

The ads are now banned.  (Photo: Catherine Falls Commercial via Getty Images)

A series of ads for a dating platform have been banned after focusing on “lonely Ukrainian women” in their marketing.

The Advertising Standards Agency investigated the ads by dating agency SofiaDate and and told the company to ensure its future advertising did not contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

The first ad, seen on the Dorset Echo’s website, featured an image of a woman on a balcony with text that stated: “Ukranian [sic] Women. Meet Thousands of Lonely Ukrainian Women. Forget About Loneliness. Let Yourself be Happy.”

The second ad, seen on Scottish newspaper The National’s website, featured the same image with text that stated: “Ukranian [sic] Women. Connecting Singles Across the World to Their Ideal Partner…”.

The third one, seen on the National’s website again, featured an image of a woman in front of a sunset with text that stated: “Ukranian [sic] Women … Sofiadate.com”.

Amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, the ads were ruled to be insensitive to Ukrainian women and the nation during this turbulent time.

The ASA found these images to be offensive for several reasons. They said they considered that the women depicted in the ads were shown in a way that was, at least partly, designed to titillate readers.

“We considered the ads’ focus on Ukrainian women dressed in this manner, as well references to their loneliness, had the effect of highlighting their vulnerability and connecting it to their sexual appeal. For that reason, we concluded the ads were likely to cause serious offence,” the ASA said.

One of the ads (Photo: SofiaDate via ASA)
One of the ads (Photo: SofiaDate via ASA)

One of the ads (Photo: SofiaDate via ASA)

Another ad (Photo: SofiaDate via ASA)
Another ad (Photo: SofiaDate via ASA)

Another ad (Photo: SofiaDate via ASA)

SofiaDate, which trades under Astrasoft Projects Ltd  said it had removed the ads and would check its other advertising to ensure it complied with the ASA’s code of conduct.

As for the news publications showing the ads, The National and Newsquest Media Group (which owns the Dorset Echo) said the ads were ostensibly conventional dating ads, although potentially clumsily sexist in their portrayal of women from a male perspective.

They said the ads did not refer to the war in Ukraine, were not partisan, and were also not unsympathetic towards Ukrainian women or the Ukrainian people in general.

They said that on reflection the ads could be deemed inconsistent with their policy of refusing ads for prostitution and trafficking – and confirmed the ads had since been removed from their newspapers, and they would block the advertiser from the Newsquest network.

We’ve also reached out to SofiaDate for a comment and will update the article if it responds.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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