Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Not upheld.
A poster ad for I Saw it First, a clothing brand, seen in June 2018 in various locations, featured the text “Ibiza x Demi Rose” and an image of a model wearing a sheer white dress without a bra.
The ASA received 24 complaints.
1. The complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive because the image of the model was overtly sexual and objectified women.
2. The complainants also challenged whether the ad was inappropriate for public display close to a school where it could be seen by children.
I Saw it First stated that they were a women’s clothing brand and wanted to promote their clothing to their target audience. They explained that the ad was promoting a clothing collaboration with Demi Rose and the campaign had ended in June. They confirmed that the image would no longer be used for any out-of-home advertising.
The agency Forward and Thinking, said they advised I Saw it First that they should be less risqué with their images in future; it was not their client’s intention to shock. I Saw it First wanted to highlight their products to the appropriate audiences in an engaging way.
Primesight said that they could not tell from the image whether the model was wearing underwear and they did not believe that the ad was degrading to women. They said the fashion collection advertised could be purchased on the advertiser’s website which could be accessed by the public and did not contain adult content.
1. Not upheld
The image, which featured a model wearing a sheer white dress, promoted a women’s clothing range and the dress worn by the model was part of that range. The ASA considered that while it was clear that the model was not wearing a bra, the pattern on the dress meant that it was not completely see-through. We considered that her pose and the rest of the image was not provocative and was no more than mildly sexual in nature. We therefore concluded that the ad did not objectify or degrade women and therefore was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule
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.
2. Not upheld
We noted the ad was in an untargeted medium and in some locations had been placed close to schools where it could be seen by young children. However, we considered that although the image may be distasteful to some it was not overtly sexual and had therefore not been placed inappropriately. We concluded the ad was not socially irresponsible.
On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code 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 it in breach.
No further action necessary.