A magazine ad for Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume was seen in ELLE magazine. The ad showed a female model sitting astride a horse. The model was leaning back slightly, wearing a short white dress and holding an outsized bottle of the product in her lap. Text stated "THE NEW FRAGRACE FOR WOMEN" and "DAISY MARC JACOBS EAU SO FRESH".
The complainant objected that the ad was offensive and irresponsible, because they believed it showed a young girl in a provocative pose.
Coty UK Ltd said the model was 19 at the time of the shoot. They also believed that her pose was not styled in a manner that suggested she was a child. The advertiser also said that the ad did not show private body parts or any sexual activity. The overall intention of the ad was to reflect the bubbly, playful nature of the fragrance.
They also highlighted that the target readership of the magazine was 18- to 25- year-old women and that they would be unlikely to find the ad offensive or irresponsible as it was in line with the consistently edgy style of the magazine.
Hearst magazines, publishers of ELLE, said the ad complemented the editorial style of the magazine. They agreed that the model was not underage nor was her pose sexually provocative.
The ASA understood that the ad had appeared in a magazine whose target readership was women between 18 and 25 years and that the advertiser and publisher believed that it reflected the tone and style of the magazine. We noted that the model was wearing a short white dress that exposed most of her leg, she was leaning back slightly whilst seated astride a horse and held a large bottle of the fragrance over her groin area.
We understood that the model was 19 at the time of the shoot and considered that, although youthful, she did not look like a child. We also acknowledged that the overall styling of the ad was consistent with the editorial content of the magazine in general but that the placement of the product could be seen as sexually suggestive. However, we concluded that as the model's overall pose and expression was not sexually provocative and because she did not appear to be a child, the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or be seen to be irresponsible.
On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code rules
Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society.
(Social responsibility) and
Marketing communications must not contain anything that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care must be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. Compliance will be judged on the context, medium, audience, product and prevailing standards.
Marketing communications may be distasteful without necessarily breaching this rule. Marketers are urged to consider public sensitivities before using potentially offensive material.
The fact that a product is offensive to some people is not grounds for finding a marketing communication in breach of the Code. (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.