Watchmaker Accurist has been accused of exploiting anorexia in its latest advertising campaign and is being investigated by the advertising industry's watchdog.
Almost 80 people have complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about an advert which features an emaciated model wearing a watch on her upper arm under the slogan "Put some weight on". The ASA has asked Accurist to respond to complaints that the use of the model is an offensive and light-hearted treatment of eating disorders. "We're investigating it on the grounds that it might be distressing and upsetting to people with eating disorders," said an ASA spokesman. Relatively few complaints were made about the advert when it first appeared in women's fashion magazines.
Nicky Bryant, chief executive of the Eating Disorders Association, said the association had complained about the advertisement because deliberately provocative campaigns using the weight of models to promote products were "unhelpful at the very least", and could be harmful to people concerned about their weight.
The ASA is expected to deliver its verdict on the adverts in the next few weeks.
An spokesman for Accurist said the company had also received complaints from people about the advertisement, which is no longer running.