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ASA bans PrettyLittleThing ad for ‘socially irresponsible’ images

By Rachel Douglass

11 Aug 2022

Business

Image: PrettyLittleThing

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has announced that it has banned an ad by PrettyLittleThing which it said could be considered as sexualising a minor.

The ruling concerned an ad campaign featuring Travis Barker’s 16-year-old daughter and brand ambassador Alabama Barker, who can be seen in what the ASA claimed are sexually suggestive poses and clothing.

In the images, Barker sported looks from her Y2K edit, which included short dresses, low-cut necklines and mini skirts.

In one photo, Barker was seen sucking a lollipop, while in another the model was spraying a water hose in a short fitted dress.

The ASA also said that the retailer acknowledged Barker’s young age in the campaign through a tagline that stated: “Channel that teen dream realness with barely-there micro mini skirts”.

According to the UK watchdog, PrettyLittleThing confirmed Barker was 16 at the time of shooting, however added that they had chosen the influencer based on the interests of its customer base, which is primarily aged between 16 and 24 years old.

The retailer further noted that they did not intend to sexualise Barker, who reportedly approved of the creative, and disagreed that she was portrayed in a sexual manner.

Instead, PrettyLittleThing told the ASA that they wanted to convey a message of body positivity to encourage and empower young women to embrace their bodies with a campaign inspired by the current ‘Y2K’ trend that was popular among its audience.

The ASA upheld the complaint, following the code stating that marketing must not portray or represent anyone who was, or seemed to be, under 18 in a sexual way.

It is the third time in three months that the online retailer has been subject to ASA rulings, one of which claimed its jeans advert, in which a bare chested woman wore the brand’s denim line, objectified the model.

ASA
PrettyLittleThing