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Spoof 'Hello Boys' campaign leads to backlash at market

LONDON - A campaign to promote local produce markets which spoofed the legendary 'Hello Boys' ad for Wonderbra has been rejected by some of the people it was intended to help.

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WI Markets, which runs hundreds of local produce markets in England and Wales, announced earlier this year that it was hunting for models to appear in a new advertising campaign where members would bare all to promote the variety of home-grown and home-made products.

The first ad that was proposed was to have shown a woman protecting her modesty with only a pair of strategically placed jam tarts, and in a spoof of the Wonderbra ad starring Eva Herzigova, it would feature the words "Hello Men".

WI Markets, originally set up by the Women's Institute, may well have been hoping for a similar success to Rylston and District branch of the Women's Institute, which created a publicity storm when it released a nude calendar -- inspiring the hit film 'Calendar Girls'.

However, not all of those involved with WI Markets are impressed at the new publicity drive. According to a report in the East Anglian Daily Times, the WI Market in Woodbridge is hitting back with a calendar of its own for 2004.

Instead of naked buxom farmers' wives, the Woodbridge calendar takes the radical step of showing scenes from the market, and pictures of the tea ladies, cashiers and produce.

The newspaper quotes market treasurer Fred Reynolds saying: "The attitude of people in the local WI Market is that this latest campaign is past its sell-by date and it is not appropriate."

He said that the markets, which were the highlight of the week for many visitors, were social businesses and that nude photography was totally out of place with what they were doing.

Alex Timms, creative director of the Bath-based agency Timms Creative Communications, who conceived of the campaign, said that although "sex sells" and it was a "good way of getting people talking about the campaign", there was another reason for using nudity.

"The female nude is not only more arresting than even the most delicious looking cake, but it communicates the fresh ingredients going into all these products. They're entirely natural and the nudity reflects this," he said.

WI Markets have around 500 weekly markets running in England and Wales. It was originally part of the Women's Institute, but is now run as a separate limited company.

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