The advertisement, accompanied by music, opens with a young female walking through a set of double doors into a hotel/apartment complex. She is then featured in various poses in different rooms: Sitting on a stool in a bar, standing by a set of patio doors, having a telephone conversation, sitting on a bed and finally, walking by railings surrounding a swimming pool. As the girl changes location she is wearing a different outfit each time. Some of the dresses she is wearing have a low neckline and expose part of her cleavage. The on-screen text indicates that one of the dresses featured costs €15 and the reference to prettylittlethings.com appears on screen for the duration of the advertisement.
The complainant considered that the advertisement was aimed at young females and that the message contained within was that it was normal for young girls to dress provocatively and look overtly sexual. The complainant objected to the advertisement being aired at 6.30pm in the evening when her 11 year old daughter was watching television. She said she did not want her child exposed to this type of advertising which she felt would not help her daughter shape a healthy idea about how she should look.
The advertisers said they wished to assure the complainant that they would never intentionally set out to offend any viewers with their advertising. They said they respected and believed in the equality of men and women and avoided exploitation on the grounds of sexuality.
The advertisers said the purpose of their advertising had been to showcase their latest trends in clothes. They said the model featured in their advertising was over the age of 21 and when creating their campaign, in keeping with their normal practices, they went through a structured process that ensured their concepts fitted in line with the age of their customers.
The advertisers said that the campaign in question had been set at a pink motel on a summer’s day. The styling of the advertisement consisted of summer florals and pastel hues, all of which they considered to be in keeping with their brand and the society in which their customers lived in today. The advertisers said that as a brand they take their social responsibilities very seriously and they did not consider their advertising to be provocative as indicated by the complainant.
Complaint Not Upheld.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted that the model featured in the Campaign was over the age of 21 and did not consider that the campaign was targeted at children. The Committee agreed, however, that some of the imagery used could be viewed by some consumers as being sexually suggestive and asked that the advertisers be mindful of this in the preparation of future campaigns. Nevertheless, the Committee concluded that the advertising was not in breach of the Code.
No further action was required in this case but the Committee once again reminded the advertisers to be mindful of the use of provocative imagery in future marketing communications.