Two posters for Playboy clothing, sold by the online retailer Missguided, seen between mid-July and early August 2020:
a. The first poster showed images of a model dressed in a long coat, a cropped top and trouser set featuring Playboy rabbit logos, and large sunglasses. The model appeared in four standing poses: with raised, outstretched arms; touching her sunglasses with one hand; holding the drawstrings of the hooded top; and with hands in trouser pockets. The ad also featured a Playboy logo and text stating “PLAYBOY X MISSGUIDED”.
b. The second poster showed the same text and images of the model as described in ad (a), which were repeated across the poster.
IssueEighteen complainants who believed the model looked under 18 years of age, challenged whether the ad was offensive and irresponsible because, by depicting the model in Playboy-branded clothing, the ad portrayed someone in a sexual way who seemed to be under the age of 18.
Missguided Ltd said the model in the ad was aged 28 years at the time of the photoshoot, and they did not consider that she could be seen to look under 18 years, or foresee complaints of that nature. They said that the theme of female empowerment was the basis of the “Missguided x Playboy” collection promoted in the ad. They highlighted that the model in the ad was fully clothed, wearing loungewear top and bottoms and a coat, and that while her stance was confident and poised, they did not consider that it invoked any sexual implication. They also said that while some complainants had unfortunately perceived the model to be under 18 years old, they did not believe that was the general perception of the ad.
Playboy Enterprises International, Inc, said that Playboy licensed its brand to Missguided as part of a collaboration, but did not have any role in the advertising of the products by Missguided. They said they understood the model was 28 years old at the time she was photographed, and that Missguided had taken appropriate diligence to ensure the model met minimum age requirements. Playboy did not consider that the ad portrayed the model, who was fully clothed, in a sexual way and said that neither the clothing featured nor anything else in the ad had any sexual implication.
Global highlighted that they had previously sought CAP Copy Advice for the creative in the ads, and had been advised that the images were likely to be in accordance with the CAP Code.
The ASA understood the model featured in the ads was 28 years old. She appeared in four poses; in each one the upper part of her face and eyes were obscured by large sunglasses. We considered that her face was fairly youthful in appearance, particularly in two images in which her head was tilted to one side. We did not, however, consider the model appeared to be below the age of 18 in the ads. Notwithstanding the above, we also did not consider that the ads presented the model in a sexual way.
We acknowledged that those who saw the ad were likely to associate the Playboy clothing worn by the model with Playboy magazine. However, the model was dressed in a long coat and a casual hooded top and trouser set, with only her midriff exposed. Her poses were not sexual in nature and were in keeping with typical poses seen in fashion advertising. For these reasons, we concluded that while the model appeared youthful in certain images, she did not appear to be under 18 years of age and had not been depicted in a sexual way in the ads.
The ads, therefore, were not offensive or irresponsible. We investigated the ads 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: age; disability;
gender; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and
maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation. Compliance
will be judged on the context, medium, audience, product and prevailing
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. and 4.8 4.8 Marketing communications must not portray or represent anyone who is, or seems to be, under 18 in a sexual way. However, this rule does not apply to marketing communications whose principal function is to promote the welfare of, or to prevent harm to, under-18s, provided any sexual portrayal or representation is not excessive.? (Harm and offence), but did not find them in breach.
No further action necessary.