A marketing email from Boohoo, received on 15 July 2019, featured the subject heading “Send Nudes [eyes emoji]”. The body of the email contained a photo of a female model wearing a beige jacket with the words “Send nudes. Set the tone with new season hues” written across the image.
The complainant challenged whether the reference to "send nudes" was socially irresponsible.
The ASA acknowledged that the term “nude” was commonly described to refer to colours that were similar to some people’s skin tones. At the same time, the phrase “send nudes” was likely to be understood as referring to requests for sexual photos, which could be a form of sexual harassment. We noted that increased pressure to share such photos had been linked to negative outcomes for young people. Boohoo’s target market was aged 16 to 24. We noted that the ad had only been sent to those who self-declared that they were over 18, but online age was often misreported, and we had not been provided with details of any further steps Boohoo had taken to reduce the likelihood of under-18s being targeted with the ad. Given the general price point of Boohoo’s clothing and the age of the target market, there was also likely to be some overlap with even younger teenagers who aspired to looks associated with a slightly older age group. While the ad played on a well-known phrase to highlight a fashion trend, we considered the specific reference chosen had the effect of making light of a potentially harmful social trend. Furthermore, in the subject heading of an email, without any further context, the phrase “send nudes” was likely to be disconcerting for some recipients, particularly those who might have personal experience of being asked to “send nudes”.
In the context of an ad aimed at a relatively young audience who were more likely to be harmfully affected by pressure to share sexual images of themselves, we considered that the reference to “send nudes” was socially irresponsible and breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 5.1 (Children).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Boohoo.com UK Ltd to ensure their ads were socially responsible.