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Carpet foundation ad 'flattering to women'

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I am extremely disappointed at your editorial (AJ 11.5.00) referring to the Carpet Foundation advertisement as 'distasteful' on the basis of 'readers' outrage' following a 'rash' of complaints. On your own admission you received far more enquiries for our brochure than you did complaints. Why then was this positive aspect of our advertising dwarfed by your negative spin on the situation?

Your editorial piece was produced without any opportunity given to the Carpet Foundation to put its own case. Our imagery was photographed by John Swannell a royal photographer and one of the UK's top fashion photographers, someone very much in tune with how women feel about the use of the female form in advertising.The advertising is targeted at women and has featured in the top 23 home interest magazines since October 1999 and has generated nearly 10,000 enquiries so far.

The imagery is so admired by editors and publishers that they have ensured we get the best positions. The vast majority are women who would not use advertising they regarded as demeaning to women.

Key women's t it les such as Mar ie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Harpers and Queen, Elle, Vogue, Vanity Fair (with a combined readership of six million women) use imagery which is sensual, sexual, stylish and flattering to women. The Carpet Foundation advertising reflects this fashionable approach.

We target the diverse range of professions which influence carpet purchase decisions. Only the AJ has produced any negative response (and a good number of enquires from both men and women).

I can understand that some people do not like the campaign and may even feel offended by the imagery. What is irritating is that such a minuscule minority should try to impose its views on others using the cause of 'women's equality' as the driving force. Such an honourable cause justifies a more intelligent approach and will not benefit from the highly biased views of an out-of-touch minority.

Michael Hardiman, marketing director, The Carpet Foundation, Kidderminster, Worcestershire

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