Still images that appeared at the end of a video for the fashion brand Guccio Gucci SpA, seen on www.thetimes.co.uk on 15 December 2015, featured several models dancing to a soundtrack. The final part of the ad featured several photos of individual models. Image (a) featured a woman leaning with her back to a wall and was wearing a long dress which covered her body from the neck down to her mid-calves including her arms. Image (b) featured another model who was sitting on a sofa. She was wearing a high necked jacket and a skirt which covered her down to her mid-thighs.
The complainant, who believed the featured models appeared unhealthily thin, challenged whether the ad was irresponsible.
Guccio Gucci SpA said that the ads were part of a video that portrayed a dance party and was aimed at an older, sophisticated audience. They noted that the target population of The Times, where the ad appeared, had an adult and mature readership. They said it was, to some extent, a subjective issue as to whether a model looked unhealthily thin. which they considered was not the case for either of the women identified by the complainant. They believed both models had slim builds. but were not depicted in a way that could be interpreted as unhealthily thin. For example, nowhere in the ads were any models’ “bones” visible, their makeup was natural rather than heavy (which might have accentuated the impression of thinness), lighting was uniform and warm to ensure there were no hollows caused by shadows and their clothes were not revealing. The visual parts of their bodies appeared toned and slim.
The Times concurred with Guccio Gucci that whether or not models were unhealthily thin was a subjective matter.
The ASA noted that the model seated on the sofa wore a short skirt which showed her legs up to her mid thighs. We noted that her legs, while slim, appeared to be generally in proportion with the rest of her body which was not excessively slender or underweight – for example, her knee and ankle bones were not overly noticeable. We therefore considered that the model did not appear to be unhealthily thin.
We noted that the model leaning against the wall was wearing a long dress so that only her lower legs, ankles, neck and head were visible. We considered that her torso and arms were quite slender and appeared to be out of proportion with her head and lower body. Further, her pose elongated her torso and accentuated her waist so that it appeared to be very small. We also considered that her sombre facial expression and dark make up, particularly around her eyes, made her face look gaunt. For those reasons, we considered that the model leaning against the wall appeared to be unhealthily thin in the image, and therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 1.3 Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society. (Responsible advertising).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Guccio Gucci SpA to ensure that the images in their ads were prepared responsibly.