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E-tailer Wish warned by ASA for sexualised baby ad and 'apparent disregard' for code

E-commerce platform Wish has had several ads banned by the Advertising Standards Authority.

E-commerce platform Wish has had several ads banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for containing “offensive and irresponsible imagery”.

The ads, including an in-app ad and two paid-for Facebook ads, contained images of a baby’s bottom next to products of a sexual nature.

The ASA has said that the ads must not appear again in the same form, and has told Wish “not to feature children in ways that were likely to be seen as irresponsible or offensive.” The watchdog also reminded Wish that it had a responsibility to respond promptly to complaint investigations, after Wish’s owners ContextLogic did not respond to the ASA’s enquiries. The ASA said that it was “concerned by Wish's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code”.

The ads in question promoted three products available on Wish’s platform – a black catsuit, a toddler’s carrying seat, and an elastic support product which the ASA said “was purported to make the penis appear larger.”

The in-app ad featured the first two products alongside each other, with the catsuit modelled by a woman who exposed part of her bottom, and the image promoting the carrier seat showing the baby’s bottom.

One of the Facebook ads featured the same carrier seat promotion, featured alongside a promotion for the elastic support product, which was accompanied by diagrams indicating how it would make the users’ genitalia appear larger. The ads, which appeared between November 2017 and February 2018, were deemed to be “particularly irresponsible and offensive” by the watchdog.

The ASA upheld subsequent complaints from consumers that challenged whether the ads were “offensive and irresponsible” because it presented sexualized imagery alongside an image of a child.

Facebook said that the ads had been removed from the site, because it violated the network’s advertising policies, while Shpock, who placed the in-app ad, said that it had blocked Wish from placing ads with them again.

Wish claims to be the sixth largest e-commerce company in the world, and was reported by Forbes to be worth $8.5bn, more than Sears, Macy’s and JC Penney combined.

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