Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Not upheld.
A poster campaign for a high street retailers' lingerie collection:
a. the poster ad featured a model wearing a set of push-up bra and pants;
b. the poster ad featured a model wearing a push-up night slip;
c. the poster ad featured a model wearing a push-up bra;
d. the poster ad featured a model reclining on a sheepskin rug wearing lingerie and stockings;
e. the poster ad featured a model reclining on a bed wearing a set of push-up bra and pants;
f. the poster ad featured a model reclining in a set of push-up bra and pants;
g. the public transport ad featured a model wearing a set of push-up bra and pants.
1. Forty-seven complainants objected that the ads were offensive and demeaning to women.
2. Those complainants also objected that the ad was unsuitable for public display where they could be seen by children.
1., & 2. H&M Hennes & Mauritz UK Ltd (H&M) said the advertising campaign was intended to show their new lingerie collection and promote indirectly the ladies' lingerie department for the coming [Christmas] holiday season. They said the model in the campaign was actress Laetitia Casta and that she presented the collection in a self-confident way, and whilst the campaign images could be seen as flirtatious and sensual, they were in no way meant to be sexy or provocative. They said they always took precautions when planning an Out of Home campaign and they bought posters in locations which would optimise their core audience of women aged 18–39 years. They also said they had instructed media owners to ensure the posters were not placed within 100 m of a school.
CBS Outdoor said they had submitted all images for the upcoming campaign to CAP for Copy Advice and that based on their own views and that of CAP, some of those images did not appear in the poster ads. They stated that based on CAP advice they had also placed a restriction on the ads so that they did not appear within 100 m of a school.
JCDecaux said they had received no direct complaints about the ads but that they were similar to images which had been carried previously.
Clear Channel did not comment.
1. Not upheld
The ASA noted the images in ads (a), (b), (c), (e), (f) and (g) featured the model wearing various types of lingerie and that the majority of the designs included "push up" bra's which significantly accentuated the cleavage. We considered that, within the context of ads for a lingerie collection, the images were sensual rather than sexual and that whilst some consumers may have found them distasteful, the images were unlikely to be seen as offensive or demeaning to women. With regard to ad (d), we noted the model was shown reclining on her front on a sheep skin rug and her body was more provocatively positioned than in the other ads. We further noted the model was looking directly at the camera through tousled hair in a mildly suggestive way. However, whilst we understood that some individuals would find the image to be distasteful, we considered that it was not explicit or overtly sexual. We therefore concluded that ads (a–g) were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or be seen to demean women.
On this point we investigated ads (a-g) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
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 them in breach.
2. Not upheld
We understood some complainants were concerned that children would see the ads because of their locations on bus stops and on public transport. We considered ads (a), (b), (c), (e), (f) and (g) were only mildly sexual and considered that a placement restriction was unnecessary. Whilst we considered ad (d) was sexually suggestive the advertiser had put a placement restriction on all of the posters meaning that they were not placed with 100 m of a school. We therefore concluded that the ads were not irresponsibly placed.
On this point we investigated ads (a-g) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 1.3 Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society. (Social responsibility) but did not find them in breach.
No further action required.