Two product listings on the H&M app, seen on 8 October 2021, included images of the products worn by the same model:
a. The first ad, for a green polo-neck dress, included an image of the model shown from her waist up, holding her hands on her stomach. In another, full-length image, the model was shown wearing the dress and matching flared trousers, standing side-on to the camera and crossing her arms.
b. The second ad, for a white wool-blend dress, included an image of the model carrying a white coat under her arm. In another image she was shown with the coat hanging off her arms.
IssueThe complainant, who believed the featured model appeared unhealthily thin, challenged whether the ads were irresponsible.
ResponseH&M Hennes & Mauritz UK Ltd t/a H&M said that they were extremely conscious of the impact that their marketing could have. They took the issue very seriously and had a strict advertising and model policy. The purpose of the images was to show the clothes in a clear, informative and inspiring way.
The ASA considered that in the first image in ad (a) the folds and high collar of the dress, and the pose, in which her head was tilted forward, emphasised the slenderness of her waist and arms. In the second image she was posed leaning back with one leg forward. In combination with the flared trousers this made her front leg look disproportionately larger than the rest of her body. This accentuated the length of her body but her waist did not appear disproportionately thin. In the first image in ad (b) the model was facing the camera, with her hip tilted and one leg bent forward, and the coat under her arm obscuring part of her waist. In the second full-length shot, the model wore knee-high boots and the coat hung off her elbows and flared out around her knees. We considered the style of the high-collared, loose-fitted dress and her poses highlighted the slenderness of the model in both images.
While the model appeared slender in all four images, we considered that her face, arms and neck appeared to be in proportion to the rest of her body, and she did not seem gaunt or unwell. We considered that, although the model was slim, she did not appear to be unhealthily thin or significantly underweight in either ad and therefore concluded that the ads were not irresponsible.
We investigated ads (a) and (b) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 (Responsible advertising), but did not find them in breach.
No further action necessary.