A new ad campaign for Thai budget airline Nok Air, which displays scantily clad Maxim models, is being slammed by members of the Thai government. The Nok Air promotional follows in suit with Irish budget airline Ryanair’s annual charity calendar.
The Bangkok Post reports that Nok Air publicized their new calendar on their Facebook page, saying that whomever participated in their contest would receive the calendar as a prize.
The calendar, very much like the Ryanair charity calendars, features models in bikinis posing around Nok Air passenger jets.
A complaint was filed with the Ministry of Culture in Thailand by Natee Theerarojanapong who said the calendar should be banned because it tarnishes Thailand's image.
"The campaign focuses on the country's bad reputation regarding sex services, and an image that other organisations have been trying to change," Natee said.
Natee added that the message from Nok Air could be misinterpreted as encouraging to passengers to sexually harasses air hostesses on the airline.
Permanent secretary Prisana Pongtatpitakkul said: "They lack the sense of social and cultural responsibility and ignore social and cultural repercussions — particularly female dignity."
However, Nok Air disagrees. "It was supposed to be a gift to our customers, and so far the campaign has received positive feedback, increasing the number of passengers. There were so many viewers that the webpage crashed," said Nok Air CEO Patee Sarasin.
Patee added that since the models in the calendar were not Nok Air employees, it doesn’t necessarily damage neither Nok Air nor Thailand’s image.
He added, "Understanding the ministry, their reaction isn't really a surprise, however, given what the public is exposed to on a daily basis, we believe that we have not crossed the line."
Over in Ireland, Ryanair’s calendar broke sales records recently when 7,000 of the 2013 edition were sold in just under a month. The photoshoot features members of Ryanair’s staff, with proceeds benefiting Polish charity the TVN Foundation, which helps children suffering from cystic fibrosis.