Ads for clothing, shoes and jewellery often come under fire for promoting unhealthy body images and causing body confidence issues by showing unrealistic body types. While this is a wider societal debate and provides challenges that regulation doesn’t hold all the answers to, we do our best to ensure ads are responsible and have banned ads that don’t encourage positive body image.
The advertising rules state that ads should be prepared with a degree of social responsibility and in fashion ads, this can mean making sure models don’t appear unhealthily thin. It’s also important in the fashion industry to make sure children are protected and we have strict rules on protecting children from sexualised images and being the object of sexualisation themselves.
Images that feature suggestive or sexualised imagery such as children in heavy make-up or provocative poses are likely to fall foul of our rules. Advertisers should be aware these rules apply to models that look under the age of 16 even if they are in fact older.
Other symbols of youth, such as school uniforms, are also almost certainly unacceptable if used in a sexual context.
Another problem area for ads relating to clothing, shoes and jewellery is hidden charges such as delivery or costs for returning goods. Advertisers, especially those whose sales are largely or exclusively via the Internet, often offer goods at prices that exclude delivery charges. This is only acceptable under the advertising rules if the customer can collect the product themselves, say from a warehouse or retail outlet.
Advertisers should also avoid using definitive claims such as "FREE DELIVERY WHEN SPENDING OVER £200" and "FREE DELIVERY ON ALL ORDERS" if additional delivery charges apply to some postcodes.