ASA Adjudication on Jack Wills Ltd
Jack Wills Ltd
22 Fore Street
6 April 2011
Number of complaints:
Four full-page ads for Jack Wills clothing appeared in their 2011 edition of "The Spring Term Handbook". The first ad showed a young woman from the shoulders down who was standing with one leg raised and bent at the knee. She was wearing a shirt and a short skirt that lifted to show her upper thigh, buttocks and the lower section of her knickers. The second ad showed a group of three young women and two young men beginning to undress on a beach. One of the men was removing one of the women's tops to reveal her bra. The third ad showed the same group at a distance running out of the water wearing only their underwear. The fourth ad showed a young man and a young woman embracing and kissing. The man was topless and the woman was wearing only knickers. The side of the woman's breast was clearly visible and her left leg was raised and wrapped around the man who was holding it in position. From the left of shot water was sprayed on the couple.
Nineteen complainants objected that the ads were offensive and unsuitable for publication in a clothing catalogue that was targeted at and seen by teenagers.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Jack Wills stated that their brand was targeted at university students aged 18 to 22 years old and that all of the models featured in their catalogue (the 2011 Spring Term Handbook) were at least 18 years old. Their logo stated that they were "University Outfitters" and they advised that they drew inspiration from "the hedonistic university lifestyle". They said their marketing was intended "to project a positive, fun and sometimes flirtatious" image which they believed was an accurate reflection of student life.
Jack Wills explained that to have received their catalogue customers must have either signed up online or in one of their stores and that in either case they must have confirmed that they were at least 18 years old. They pointed out that customers could unsubscribe at any time either online or by telephone.
Jack Wills advised that the online film advertising the 2011 Spring Term Handbook carried a warning that it contained scenes of a sexual nature although the catalogue, which directed readers to the video, did not.
The ASA noted that all recipients of the Jack Wills catalogue had confirmed they were over the age of 18, but considered that some under 18-year-olds might have viewed or received the catalogue. We noted the images in the catalogue were intended to tell a fun, hedonistic and flirtatious story of university life and we considered that those images would be appealing to younger teenagers, because they portrayed a lifestyle to which they might aspire. We noted that each of the images contained partial nudity and considered that the fourth image in particular went beyond what could be described as fun or flirtatious. Because we understood that younger teenagers could have both direct and indirect access to the catalogue and because we considered the fourth image in particular to be overtly sexual in nature, we concluded that the catalogue was sufficiently provocative as to present a risk to younger teenagers.
The catalogue breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 4.1 (Harm and offence) and 5.1 (Children - harm and offence).
The catalogue must not appear again in its current form.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)