The ASA have banned two racy advertisements for being overtly sexual.
One of the advertisements, under the heading “Bodysuits and Thigh-Highs”, featured six images of a female in a black lycra bodysuit and blue thigh high socks. The model was on a bed and her face was not shown. In two of the shots the model was depicted from the front and had her legs open and another showed her from behind in a kneeling position. The other three images showed her from the side, either in a kneeling or reclining position. The other advertisement showed a model wearing nothing but an oversized sweater, lounging with her legs in the air.
The ASA received only one complaint about the advertisements but decided to side with the complainant and ban the ads from ever running “in their current form” stating that the “gratuitous” pictures were “likely to cause serious offence”.
American Apparel are less than impressed with the ruling.
A statement from its spokesman reads “We’d like to shoot down the idea that American Apparel is trying to make ads that get banned for publicity. It’s the other way around. The ASA grandstands on the AA name to get publicity and that’s why they repeatedly come after the company. I think the fact that the ‘ads’ in this case weren’t even ads but images on our website makes that pretty clear. How can this agency have any say over what a company displays on its site? We’ve been doing these ads for 10 years. Who are they to say what is and isn’t appropriate?”
Does this mean American Apparel will not be complying with the ASA ruling? If not what will happen? Well, although the ASA don’t really have any powers of enforcement,details of each non-conforming trader are listed on the ASA website until they have appropriately amended their marketing in line with the ASA ruling. Non-compliant advertisers can also be reported to The Office of Fair Trading (OFT), which has powers to fine companies and bring legal actions against them. More to come on this one!