The ASA has cleared an advert from designer department store, Harvey Nichols, following complaints that the ads were unsuitable as they were sexually explicit, depicted lesbians kissing, and were offensive on religious grounds.
At the launch, Harvey Nichols described the campaign, saying: 'These advertisements bring to life the promise at the heart of our Beauty Bazaar, Harvey Nichols store which is; after pampering and indulging yourself from head to toe across three floors of beauty, looking in the mirror will be a captivating experience and you’ll fall in love with yourself all over again.'
The ASA cleared the campaign, promoting the Liverpool store, after Harvey Nichols said the ads did not depict a lesbian kiss but rather a woman kissing herself, which was made clear by the accompanying text.
The department store added that, even though it was not shown in its campaign, images of lesbians were not offensive or inappropriate and should be accepted by the ASA.
A statement from Harvey Nichols read: “The advertising industry should be in the vanguard of those promoting and supporting the equalities espoused by anti-discrimination laws, including those concerning sexual orientation.”
The ASA said: “We acknowledged that some complainants had interpreted the posters differently and had understood them to depict a lesbian kiss.
“One person also mentioned a young child who had not identified that the kiss was between one woman and her mirror image.
“Although we recognised that some people might have found what they perceived to be a portrayal of a lesbian kiss distasteful, we considered that a reference to homosexuality in an ad would be unlikely in itself to cause widespread or serious offence or constitute irresponsible advertising.”