ASA Adjudication on Prada Retail UK Ltd
Prada Retail UK Ltd t/a
65 Curzon Street
23 November 2011
Number of complaints:
An ad in the September 2011 edition of Tatler Magazine for a fashion retailer, featured the young model/actress Hailee Steinfeld. She was sitting on railway tracks and looked as if she was upset and may have been crying.
1. The complainant, who believed the ad showed someone who had been crying, objected that it was irresponsible because it was suggestive of youth suicide, especially because the ad could be seen by impressionable young people.
2. The ASA challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it showed a child in an unsafe location.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Prada Retail UK Ltd (Prada) said the ad was part of a serious, high-fashion campaign aimed at adult women. It was placed only in adult, high-fashion magazines such as Tatler.
Prada stated that they did not in any way condone youth suicide, or promote it, and the ad was not created to give this impression to anyone, or with the intent of depicting a child in an unsafe location. The campaign was photographed by well-known photographer and film maker, Bruce Weber, and featured the well-known American actress, Hailee Steinfeld who was nominated for an Oscar and BAFTA this year for her performance in the film True Grit. The campaign was based on the set of an imaginary film. The photographs were shots of the actress in between takes of the film, while she was waiting for the next scene to begin. The setting and the clothing for the campaign were inspired by the 1940s era. The campaign featured Hailee in mature and elegant 1940s clothing, which was part of a narrative path built up of several different images. Prada said the campaign used mature and elegant silhouettes in its clothing whilst still remaining true to the brand's playful spirit by using a well-known young actress.
1. Prada said the ad featured Hailee Steinfeld sitting on the edge of an old railway track wearing 1940s adult clothing clutching a bag. In the ad, there was a slight breeze, which could be seen by the movement of Hailee Steinfeld's hair and she was rubbing her eye with her finger, indicating that it was itchy or had something in it. This was one of the "between takes" shots in the campaign. Hailee Steinfeld was waiting for the next take of the film to start and, therefore, was not posing for the camera and was relaxed. She was acting in an unconscious manner. Prada stated this was natural for a person to do when they were not being watched. They stated that Hailee Steinfeld was not crying, nor had she been asked to cry or look upset. The ad pictured her with a wistful and thoughtful face.
2. Prada said the ad was photographed on an abandoned railway track in a foreign country. Hailee Steinfeld was sitting on the edge of the train track as if she was resting between "takes" of the movie on a hot day. They said the viewpoint of the ad extended along the railway track and it was clear that there was no train in sight. Prada said that she could have easily moved from where she was sitting because she was not restrained in any way. Because the ad was photographed on a redundant railway track in the ad, neither Hailee Steinfeld nor anyone else, was not placed in danger. Prada said they had not received complaints about the ad.
Tatler commented that they would not be running the ad again. They had not received any complaints about the ad.
1. Not Upheld
The ASA noted that the ad was set on an imaginary film and that the photos were taken while the child model was "between takes".
The ASA noted that the ad was part of a campaign featuring the actress Hailee Steinfeld wearing sophisticated 1940s adult clothing, and that it represented one of the "between take" shots in the campaign where she was acting in an unconscious manner, relaxed and not posing for the camera with a wistful and thoughtful face. While noting that Hailee Steinfeld was sitting on the edge of the railway track, we did not consider that she was shown looking in distress or that she had been crying. We noted that the ad had been carefully targeted and placed in a sophisticated, high fashion magazine with a predominantly adult readership and that the Miu Miu brand was not aimed at teenagers or young children. Because the ad was placed in a magazine with a mainly adult readership and it showed a stylised image of Hailee Steinfeld dressed in sophisticated 1940s style clothing we considered that readers of the magazine would understand that the image was sufficiently removed from reality and that it represented a staged fashion shoot. In that context, we therefore concluded that the ad was prepared with a due sense of responsibility and would not be suggestive of youth suicide to impressionable young people.
On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Social responsibility), 4.5 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.
We noted Prada's comments that the photo was shot on an abandoned railway track and that Hailee Steinfeld was not in any way constrained to that position, and that the viewpoint of the ad extended along the railway track where there was clearly no train in sight. We noted that she could have easily moved from where she was sitting, that she was not running along the track, and she was not playing on it. We acknowledged that the ad was part of a serious, high fashion campaign aimed at adult women; and that it was placed only in adult, high fashion magazines such as Tatler, which was not aimed or addressed at children. Nevertheless, because the ad showed Hailee Steinfeld, who was 14 years of age only when the photo was shot, in a potentially hazardous situation sitting on a railway track, we concluded the ad was irresponsible and in breach of the Code in showing a child in a hazardous or dangerous situation.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Social Responsibility), 4.5 (Harm and Offence) and 5.1.2 (children).
The ad must not appear again in its current form.