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Jack Wills advert banned for being 'sexually suggestive'

By Vivian Hendriksz


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London - An advert from high street retailer Jack Wills in a direct mail catalogue has been banned by the UK advertising watchdog for featuring 'sexually suggestive' images and text.

The advert, which was featured in the spring catalogue of Jack Wills in February, depicted female and male models in the retailer's underwear, dancing and drinking as well as posing in bed together. The text accompanying the images read: "Pure and comfortable cottons, or flirty delicate laces, whatever your choice, you can be sure it’s what’s underneath that counts", followed by "midnight mischief" underneath.

Another ad, which was aimed at promoting Jack Wills loungewear include images of a shirtless male model lounging on a bed with a female model wearing a bra, with the strap slipping off her shoulder, while reading. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received a complaint for a parent who saw the advert and argued that the images were not suitable for a catalogue targeted at teenagers.

Jack Wills, whose target audience is between the age of 18 and 24 countered the accusation, claiming that the images were not "sexualised, provocative and did not imply sexual activity in any way. The high street fashion retailer highlighted the fact that none of the images featured nude models and the advert was in line with their brand image and reflected "the life stages" of its target audience. The retailer added that the catalogue was sent in a sealed, opaque paper envelope addressed to the woman who filed the complaint , not her children,

However, the ASA ruled that younger teens could have direct or indirect access to the catalogue and the images, as the advert may appeal to younger readers and portray a lifestyle which they may aspire to. The UK watchdog ruled the advert must not appear in its current form, as the "sequence of images, in conjunction with the text, was sexually suggestive as opposed to simply being flirtatious or playful."

Photos: Jacks Wills, Spring Campaign, website

Advertising Standards Authority
Jack Wills