BareMinerals ad under scrutiny by ASA after models deemed 'unhealthily thin'

BareMinerals, which specializes in products for the face, rather than the waistline, has fallen foul of the ‘healthy’ model size debate after the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) received a complaint about an ad that featured two models deemed 'unhealthily thin.'

The ad in question was produced as part of its ‘Power of Good’ campaign, which starred Black Panther actress, and brand ambassador, Letitia Wright. The campaign was launched to celebrate the brand’s dedication to creating good-for-skin formulas that inspire consumers to feel confident.

Alongside Wright, the ad featured a series of models talking directly to the camera. Although most models were covered up, two show clearly defined collarbones and angular shoulders.

The complainant challenged whether the ad was irresponsible.

In response to the complaint BareMinerals argued that, as a makeup brand, it's advertising always focused primarily on model’s faces, rather than their bodies.

The beauty brand claimed it had the policy to feature healthy looking women, and did not use models who were unhealthily thin.

Further, it felt the message of the ‘Power of Good’ campaign “was about being good to yourself and others, and good health was integral to that message.”

The ASA decided against taking further action and did not reprimand the beauty brand. It declared that although the models appear to be slim, their “scenes were very brief and neither the ad’s lighting nor the model’s post acted to accentuate those features.”

Although undeniably slim, the watchdog did not deem their size ‘unhealthy’ and thus did not find the ad irresponsible.

The ASA has not been so lenient over the use of thin models in the past. One brand to get a rap over the knuckles from the watchdog was Gucci who back in 2016 had an Internet ad banned for featuring underweight models.

At the time, Gucci argued that its audience comprised an "adult and mature" readership and that the issue of whether or not the woman was too thin was a "subjective" matter.

Although most top fashion powerhouses have now committed to stop using size zero models, defining what a ‘healthy’ body actually looks depends on the eye of the beholder. At the time of the widespread ban, model Jamie King spoke out to say that stopping size zero models from working as a form of body shaming.

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