An email from Jigsaw, a clothing retailer, received during September 2021, stated in the subject line “These boots were made for walking”. The image below featured a woman climbing over a fence wearing a jumper, boots and only underpants on her bottom half.
IssueThe complainants, who believed the ad was sexualised and objectified women, challenged whether the ad was offensive and irresponsible.
Robinson Webster (Holdings) Ltd t/a Jigsaw said the image was part of an artistic series commissioned for their Autumn/Winter 2021 (AW21) campaign and they said it was created as a celebration of reconnecting with nature, enjoying time with friends and the freedom of self-expression.
Jigsaw said the AW21 collection “Into the Woods” was inspired by a group of friends who go into the forest for a celebration of the magic of nature. The project explored the relationship with our bodies inside and out, through the art of dressing and undressing. They said the campaign was shot, styled and the art directed by an all-female team, and the images that were created came from a place of celebration and freedom.
Jigsaw said the model was wearing a bathing suit and that no other body parts were exposed because the image was focusing on the boots she was wearing. They said the angle from which the shot was taken was at the eyeline of the boots, which were central to the image and drew the eye to the boots.
Jigsaw said they understood that seeing the image in isolation and without the wider context might have led to it being perceived in a different way, which was not their intention. They agreed to withdraw the image from any future ads.
The ASA understood that the image in the ad was one of a series which was part of a campaign that highlighted social activities in nature for Jigsaw’s AW21 collection. However, the ad presented an image from that campaign in isolation, and we assessed the ad in that context.The subject line of the email stated “These boots were made for walking” which we considered suggested that the content of the email would focus on the boots which were available to buy. The first image in the email was of a female model shown climbing over a fence wearing boots, and otherwise wearing only a jumper and underpants, which exposed her buttocks. We considered that the low-angle from which the photograph was taken meant that the visual emphasis was on the model’s lower half and made the exposed part of her body the focus of attention, rather than the boots she was wearing. The model’s face was not visible and, given its focus on the model’s exposed buttocks and upper legs, we considered the low-angle nature of the image gave it a voyeuristic feel. We considered there was therefore a sexually suggestive element to the image. We considered that her partial nudity was further highlighted as she appeared to be out for a hike or walk in the woods, where people would not ordinarily be undressed in that way.
For those reasons we considered that the ad objectified the model depicted and invited readers to view her body as a sexual object. Therefore, because the ad objectified and stereotyped women as sexual objects, we concluded that it was irresponsible and likely to cause serious offence.
The ad breached CAP (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Social responsibility), 4.1 and 4.9 (Harm and offence).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Robinson Webster (Holdings) Ltd t/a Jigsaw to ensure that future advertising did not cause serious offence by objectifying women.