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Selfridges escapes ad ban following complaint over 'unhealthily thin model'


By Rebecca Stewart | Trends Editor

April 11, 2017 | 3 min read

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has thrown out a complaint made against Selfridges after a member of the public claimed that a model featured in one of its campaigns appeared to be "unhealthily thin".


Selfridges escapes ad ban following complaint over 'unhealthily thin model'

Upon receipt of a promotional email from the retailer in January, the shopper told to the watchdog that they believed the model featured in the ad was too slim, and as such the campaign was "socially irresponsible".

The British company argued that the image (below), which showed a woman standing side on wearing a long blue dress, did not seek to specifically draw attention to the her frame. It said the model had adopted "a neutral pose" and was not positioned in a way intended to exaggerate her slimness.

Selfridges cleared of using ‘unhealthily thin’ model in fashion ad for dresses

The lose fit of the dress, Selfridges claimed, would "distort" the size of any model regardless of their figure, maintaining that the question of whether or not an individual looked "unhealthily" thin was a subjective matter.

The regulator agreed and didn't uphold the complaint. In a ruling published today (12 April) it said: "While the image did emphasise the model’s slenderness through pose and the style of clothing, she appeared to be in proportion," adding that it thought most people would focus on the fit of the dress rather than on a desirable body image.

"We considered that, although the model was slim, she did not appear to be unhealthily thin or significantly underweight and therefore concluded that the ad was not irresponsible," it finished.

Last year, Gucci was not so lucky and received a slap on the wrist from the ASA for an online ad which was dubbed "irresponsible" and banned for featuring "gaunt" models.

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