Advertising regulator the ASA has moved to bar further use of ‘offensive’ and ‘overtly sexual’ imagery on the website of clothing retailer American Apparel following an official complaint from a woman who felt the adverts made the models appear ‘vulnerable’.
One ad, headed ‘Bodysuits and Thigh-Highs’, sported six images of a woman in a black lycra bodysuit and thigh high socks adopting a number of different poses in bed, including two with her legs open and one of her kneeling.
A second controversial ad was titled ‘Meet Trudy’ and depicted a model wearing an oversized fisherman turtleneck sweater… and nothing else, with her legs in the air.
In their adjudication the ASA noted: “We considered there was a voyeuristic quality to the images, which served to heighten the impression that the women were vulnerable and in sexually provocative poses. For the reasons given, we considered the ads were likely to cause serious offence to visitors to American Apparel's website.”
Upholding these sentiments the ASA ruled that the ads must not appear again in their current form together with a plea to the retailer to ensure future advertising contained ‘nothing that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence’.