Jack Wills advert banned by ASA over inappropriate 'sexualised' images

The Advertising Standards Authority said the sequence of images, in conjunction with the text, was sexually suggestive as opposed to simply being flirtatious or playful.

Zlata Rodionova
Wednesday 01 June 2016 08:58 BST
The British retailer was censured for an advert in its spring catalogue featuring models in their underwear drinking and dancing
The British retailer was censured for an advert in its spring catalogue featuring models in their underwear drinking and dancing

A “sexualised” advertisement for British clothing brand Jack Wills has been banned by the UK advertising watchdog after being deemed inappropriate for young people.

The advert, part of the retailer’s spring catalogue sent out in February, featured images of young people drinking and partying in their underwear. The text underneath stated “Pure and comfortable cottons, or flirty delicate laces, whatever your choice, you can be sure it’s what’s underneath that counts”.

Another page, promoting “lounge wear”, featured images of a shirtless male model on a bed with a woman while reading, and a woman wearing a bra with a strap falling off her shoulder.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received a complaint from a parent who believed the images should not be included in a catalogue targeting and likely to be seen by teenagers.

Jack Wills denied the images were “overly sexual or encouraging underage sexual activity” but rather “reflected the life stages” of its target audience, university students from 18 to 24 years old, rather than younger teenagers

It added that none of the images featured any nudity and that none of the clothes worn by the models were transparent. The catalogue was sent in a sealed, opaque paper envelope addressed to the parent who complained and not her children, Jack Wills said.

But the ASA ruled that younger teens might have a direct or indirect access to the catalogue and the images might appeal to younger readers because they portray “a lifestyle to which they might aspire”.

The watchdog acknowledged that most of the clothes were appropriately fitted and did not accentuate part of the models' bodies in a sexualised manner.

However, the sequence of images in conjunction with the text was “sexually suggestive as opposed to simply being flirtatious”, the watchdog concluded.

“Because we understood that younger teenagers could have both direct and indirect access to the catalogue, and because we considered the images and text were sufficiently sexualised to be inappropriate for that audience, we concluded that the ad was irresponsible and that it breached the Code,” said the ASA.

Jack Wills was told not to repeat the ad in its current form.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in