Ad description

A display ad for Pinko, a clothing retailer, seen on The Guardian website on 22 February 2019 featured a female model posing. The model was wearing a trouser jumpsuit, a long sleeved sequined jacket and a hat.


The complainant, who believed the model was unhealthily thin, challenged whether the ad was irresponsible.


Cris Conf SpA t/a Pinko said the ad appeared in The Guardian and targeted an adult audience. The model was shown wearing sophisticated clothing that revealed little flesh and they believed her body, while slim and toned, was not out of proportion, excessively slender or underweight. They pointed out that her wrist bones, which were visible, were not particularly noticeable, and they said care had been taken to ensure her makeup and the lighting of the image did not create shadows that gave the impression of hollows. For those reasons, they did not believe she appeared unhealthily thin.

The Guardian reiterated that its website had a predominantly adult audience, whom they considered would be less likely than younger consumers to be influenced in their lifestyle choices by the body shape of fashion models. They also reiterated arguments that there was little flesh on display and that wrist bones were visible in most people of a healthy weight and were not a feature particular to those who were unhealthily thin. They said that while the model was tall, slim and long-limbed, her arms and legs were in proportion to her overall body shape and there was nothing in the model’s pose that suggested vulnerability.


Not upheld.

The ASA noted that very little of the model’s flesh was visible, and we accepted that there was nothing notable about the degree to which her wrist bones protruded from her arm/hand. She was posed with her right knee bent out to the side and with her left hand on her left hip, which drew some attention to her hip and thigh. However, the folds of her clothing made it otherwise difficult to determine her body shape, and the jacket she wore over the jumpsuit meant that attention was not drawn to the shape of her upper body.

There was clear make-up shading around the model’s eyes and cheekbones, and the shadow on her neck emphasised her jawline. We considered those elements accentuated her angular look, but did not go so far as to make her appear gaunt. We considered the overall impression was that the model was tall and thin, but not excessively so, and that as such the ad was not irresponsible.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 1.3 (Responsible advertising), but did not find it in breach.


No further action necessary.

CAP Code (Edition 12)


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