Sparks fly over Kazakhstan's naked flight attendants ad

Screen shot from the video advertisement showing three naked air stewards - from the shoulders up Image copyright Chocotravel
Image caption Gratuitous sexism or clever advertising?

A controversial advertising campaign for a Kazakhstan travel company has created a buzz today, generating a lot of reaction across social media.

The short clip which aims to promote flights on a travel website has been shared on Facebook more than 71,000 times and viewed more than 31,000 times on YouTube in the past two days.

The video begins with a close-up of cap-wearing female flight attendants, shown only from the neck upwards, and then widens out to reveal quite a bit more, the women's modesty being protected only by a banner across the screen and a small hat.

As expected many have commented that the ad is "tasteless" and "unpleasant".

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Karlygash Tazhibayeva asked: "What if it was your mother or little sister in the ads. How would you feel?" Ekatherina Eltsova agreed, saying the company had hit rock bottom.

Daria Shipacheva was so upset by some of the comments from men who liked it, adding: "I want to leave this planet!"

Whilst many have been complaining about the ad, a male version was published the following day on Facebook, with exactly the same script and format.

Image copyright Chocotravel
Image caption No shirts but ties, does this make it even?

Facebook user Dinara Seisen called the advert old-fashioned and sexist, adding that the company's reputation has "hit an all time low".

However others disagreed: "Beautiful girls and in advertising there is nothing shameful," says Marisa.

Equally, Darkhan Baymakhanov regarded the advert as cool, unusual and effective: "They are brave people who are not afraid to experiment or act to change the world."

Kazakhstan news site Today.kz reports that Chocotravel did not intend to offend.

On his Facebook page, Choctravel Ticketing Service director, Nikolay Mazensev, has responded to the criticism saying the clips were "bold and outrageous and we did not mean to offend".

He adds: "It shows no less than you'd see on the beach or by the pool. Do you attack girls in short skirts or swimsuits?"

The videos were also posted by Nurken Rzaliyev, who works at the umbrella organisation Chocofamily. On his Facebook page he rejects the idea that they are sexist: "There's definitely no sexism. Opinions were divided, but attention was made to the problem of high ticket prices."

One user Dima Vinogradov said Nurken should not listen to these commentators from the Middle Ages who hate nudity: "Everything is super! Good luck to you and your company!"

The BBC has also approached Chocofamily for a response.

To add to the insults Russia's Metronews points out that the name of caps the female flight attendants are wearing is also a Russian slang word for a woman's genitals.

PR and communications consultant Marat Raimkhanov called the advert a "triumph of misogyny, a gesture of desperation to attract public attention. It's a total failure - socially, morally and professionally," and called for a boycott of the Choco brand.

While all adverts hope to grab your attention, this one might have done exactly that, but for all the wrong reasons.

Written by the BBC UGC and Social News team, with additional reporting from BBC Monitoring.

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