Controversial Gay Ads Allowed to Remain in Netherlands

AMSTERDAM — has announced that its controversial gay advertisements will remain posted in cities in the Netherlands, despite three complaints that required a review by the Advertising Standards Board.

Since October 1, 2015, posters and signs featuring models appeared throughout the Netherlands’ major railway stations, including those in Amsterdam Central, Amsterdam Sloterdijk, Amsterdam Zuid, Rotterdam Blaak, Den Haag Central, Den Haag HS, and Utrecht Central.

The three complaints filed about the posters stated they were “terrible” and “sickening and shocking,” and it was “highly inappropriate to promote such websites in public places…”

Attila Szatmari, the digital business director for Pink Triangle Press, Squirt’s parent company, wrote to the Dutch Advertising Code Authority in defense of the advertising on November 11.

“ is promoted through print, online, and outdoor advertising in numerous cities throughout the world,” Szatmari wrote. “Our decision to advertise our product and officially launch in the Netherlands was driven by how gay friendly the country is and was notably the first country to embrace gay marriage.”

“Gay imagery on advertising (solo guys, couples, families) and/or shirtless imagery is not something new for the Netherlands, and we believe that this creative does not violate Article 2 of the Dutch Advertising Code,” Szatmari added. “The Netherlands has led the world in recognizing gay rights, fostering a thriving gay community; is a service targeted at gay men and is relevant to the community, as well as legally allowed to be advertised.”

Szatmari provided examples of other Dutch ad campaigns with men in equally provocative poses, including a series of billboards titled “Male Stripper,” which was considered one of the country’s more clever campaigns.

The Netherlands’ campaign also includes various gay and mainstream print and online publications, and as part of its promotion, is offering a one-year free membership to new and existing users — an increase over the 10-day gratis period offered in other markets.

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