Italian Internet start-up pulls ad campaign

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ROME--Italian Internet company halted a provocative ad campaign after women's groups complained that it was in poor taste.

The in-house campaign consisted of full-page ads in several leading Italian daily newspapers featuring a naked woman in a suggestive pose with her back to the camera and the words: "Why pay for something you can have for free?" is a new company that offers Internet services to users free of local telephone charges and other fees in return for allowing streaming advertising across the computer screen.

The newspaper ads caused outrage among feminist groups, which called onItalian legal authorities to pull the ad. Authorities took no official action, but the company stopped the campaign voluntarily after five days. An official from the company declined to comment on the issue.

"This is an issue about the manner in which women are portrayed," says Federica Rossi, a spokeswoman for the national housewives association. "This particular ad hit a new level of bad taste."

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