US clothing brand slammed for sexualising models looking younger than 16 yrs
A US clothing brand has again fallen foul of the advertising watchdog with campaigns featuring "gratuitous" images and the sexualisation of models who appeared to be under 16 years old.
But American Apparel, which ran into similar issues with campaigns in 2009 and earlier this year, responded to two separate complaints by saying "it was standard practice to market hosiery, intimates or lingerie in the way done on their website."
In the first complaint, a woman who had wanted to look at the brand's website with her 12-year-old daughter said she found 23 images advertising stockings and hosiery that were "unnecessarily sexual" and inappropriate to be seen by children, the Daily Mail reported.
A second complaint objected to images of what appeared to be a young girl with her breasts visible through a shirt and others featuring "overtly sexual" poses.
American Apparel said the ads which attracted the second complaint were "completely decent and were a fair representation of their product line."
The firm argued that other retailers sell such products in a similar fashion - and they too can be viewed by children.
But the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the model "looked under the age of 16."
"We considered both poses were sexually provocative and concluded that the images were irresponsible and likely to cause widespread offence, because they were displayed on a website which could be viewed by, and was likely to have appeal to, children under 16 years of age," it said.
"The ads must not appear again. We told American Apparel they should not use images which were likely to sexualise models who appeared under 16 years of age, and they should not use images which were likely to cause offence," the ASA added.