Pretty Little Thing may be continuing its meteoric rise to the top of the fast fashion pack, but it suffered a setback last week when it’s television advert was banned. The advert received complaints from viewers as the models were deemed ‘childlike’ and the advert itself ‘sexually suggestive’.
The advert featured two female models in the desert, modelling the clothes and riding around on colourful bicycles. It was screened during an ITVBe episode of Dinner Date back in April, and one viewer complained to the Advertising Standards Agency. The viewer complained that the advert was ‘irresponsible’ due to portraying models who appeared to be children in a sexual manner. There were another two complaints relating to a Tube advert and another TV advert but they were not upheld.
Pretty Little Thing responded to the complaint by pointing out that the models were 23 and 24, and the clothes wore in the advert were designed for festivals. The ad clearance agency Clearcast said that it’s viewer panel felt the advert was in line with the summer/festival spirit of the clothing, and the models featured were not childlike or over exposed. However, the ASA singled out one of the models in particular as having a ‘youthful appearance’ and said that some of the poses and angles drew attention to their chests and bottoms. In summary, the ASA said that the mixture of the poses, the outfits and the models’ expressions meant that the advert was considered to be ‘sexually suggestive’. They said that the ad portrayed a model who appeared to be under the age of 16. In their conclusion, they said that the advert was irresponsible and a breach of the ASA code, and it should not appear again.
In the full ruling, the ASA said that in some parts of the advert, the models were acting ‘juvenile’ and ‘mischevious’ and the make-up and styling of the clothes were reminscent of teenagers’ fashion in the 90s. They said that one of the model’s buttocks were ‘partially exposed’ and their faces were ‘sultry and seductive’.
A quote from the ASA said that although the model was over 21, she appeared to be younger due to her ‘appearance and mannerisms’. They added that the outfits, the colourful props, the set and the name of the brand equated to the overall impression that the model was a child.
When pressed for comment, Pretty Little Thing said that the colourful props were intended to be ‘bright and happy’ and reiterated that the clothes were designed for summer festival wear.
You can see the banned advert here.