A double-page magazine ad, seen in Vogue, promoted the designer brand Miu Miu. It featured a photograph which appeared to have been shot through a slightly open doorway to reveal a young woman, wearing Miu Miu products, reclining on a bed while looking straight at the camera, in an otherwise sparse room.
The complainant, who felt that the image appeared to show a child dressed as an adult in a sexually suggestive pose, challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and offensive.
Prada SpA said the ad was part of a campaign featuring three different models in a series of cinematic tableaux. They said the images showed glimpses of the models through doorways and placed the viewer at the heart of a multidimensional, multi-room story. The ad featured Mia Goth, a 22-year-old actress and model. She was shown on crisp white bed sheets, wearing a sophisticated outfit, without a low neck-line, and nude make up. They did not believe she was shown in a sexually suggestive pose or that there was a sexual tone to the ad or her expression.
Vogue UK said the magazine was sophisticated and their readers were educated to appreciate top photography and great fashion models. They did not believe their readers would think that the ad made any suggestion that the model was a child. They said they had not received any complaints from readers directly.
The ASA noted that the model had a youthful appearance, was wearing very minimal make up and clothes that appeared to be slightly too large. We considered those elements contributed to the impression that she was younger than 16 years of age. She was posed reclining on a bed, looking up directly to the camera through a partially opened door, which gave her an air of vulnerability and the image a voyeuristic feel. We considered that the crumpled sheets and her partially opened mouth also enhanced the impression that her pose was sexually suggestive. We considered that her youthful appearance, in conjunction with the setting and pose, could give the impression that the ad presented a child in a sexualised way. Therefore, we concluded that the ad was irresponsible and was likely to cause serious offence.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society.
(Social responsibility) and
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).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Prada SpA to ensure future ads did not include images that inappropriately sexualised young women or were likely to cause serious offence.