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The ASA sees what you did there, Jack Wills, and it is not pleased.
The Advertising Standards Authority, the independent organization which regulates ads across all U.K. media, is banning the “Fabulously British” retailer’s Midnight Mischief underwear campaign for its use of double entendres as well as the “irresponsible” and “sexualized” photos of models in their skivvies.
The campaign was part of a direct-order catalog mailed to customers in February of this year. Of the nearly 3 million people that received the catalog, only one person complained. The complainant argued that the images as well as the accompanying text were too sexual for a younger audience — that is, should they get their hands on it.
“Although we understood that Jack Wills’ target audience was 18- to 24-year olds, and that the catalogue was sent to an adult, we considered that younger teens might have access to the ad either directly or indirectly, and that the images were likely to appeal to those readers because they portrayed a lifestyle to which they might aspire,” reads the statement on the ASA’s website.
The organization also posted the retailer’s response to the upheld ruling, which they refute.
“[Jack Wills] said the catalogue was addressed and sent to the complainant, not her children, and was delivered in a sealed, opaque paper envelope,” they noted, and adding, “Jack Wills did not consider the claims ‘Pure and comfortable cottons, or flirty delicate laces; whatever your choice, you can be sure it’s what’s underneath that counts …’ and ‘A favourite tee and your boxers, or a lounge short and bra; this is loungewear made for the morning after the night before’ to be sexually suggestive or inappropriate because they accompanied images of the group of friends having fun together.”
Jack Wills was the subject of another ASA controversy in 2011, again for an “inappropriate” catalog. Tom Ford and Miu Miu have also been targeted for sexually inappropriate advertisements in the past few years, while Gucci and Saint Laurent have been banned for “unhealthily thin” models.
If the ASA thinks the Jack Wills ad is bad, we can only imagine how they would react to anything Calvin Klein has done.
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