ASA Adjudication on H&M Hennes & Mauritz UK Ltd
H&M Hennes & Mauritz UK Ltd
40 Argyll Street
4 April 2012
Number of complaints:
Summary of Council Decision:
Two issues were investigated and both were Not upheld.
A digital poster for H&M, displayed on 30 January 2012, showed three images of David Beckham. One image featured David Beckham wearing only a pair of trunk briefs.
Three complainants objected to the ad.
1. Three complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive.
2. Two complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible, because it contained material that they said was unsuitable for children to see.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
1. H&M Hennes & Mauritz UK Ltd (H&M) said the ad formed part of a campaign to launch David Beckham Bodywear for H&M. They said the campaign focused on quality, fit, function, comfort and design, and said the campaign aimed to show the function and fit of the garment. They said they had not intended for the campaign to be offensive.
2. H&M stated that while planning the campaign they aimed to optimize the plan to the audience they wanted to reach. They said all sites they booked for the campaign were optimised to reach an 18- to 39-year-old adult audience, and were therefore on main arterial routes, to target vehicular traffic. They said all sites were planned away from schools, with the exception of one poster that fell just within 100 m of a school, but was included because it indexed so highly against their target audience. They said they understood that the sites were viewed by a much wider audience than those they intended, but said that because they had not intended for the ad to be offensive they had not thought it would have been a problem.
1. Not upheld
The ASA noted that there was no explicit nudity in the image, and that the ad was for an underwear range. We considered that the nature of the product meant viewers of the ad were less likely to regard the ad as gratuitous or offensive, and considered that the poses and facial expressions of David Beckham were mildly sexual at most. While we acknowledged that some viewers might consider the images distasteful, we concluded the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 4.1 (Harm and Offence) but did not find it in breach.
2. Not upheld
As noted above, we acknowledged that the ad might be viewed by some as mildly sexual in nature, because David Beckham was featured in only a pair of tight trunk briefs. However, because the ad was for an underwear range, was not overtly sexual and did not feature explicit nudity, we considered the ad was not unsuitable for children to see, and concluded it was not socially irresponsible.
On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.