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Feb 5, 2020
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PrettyLittleThing told to avoid ads that over-sexualise women

Published
Feb 5, 2020

PrettyLittleThing has found itself at the centre of an advertising controversy, after a YouTube ad featuring scantily clad models in seductive poses was banned for objectifying women.


The brand is known for its highly sexualised imagery - PrettyLittleThing


The fashion retailer, which operates in the low-cost segment, has made a name for itself by selling going-out bodycon dresses, lace bodysuits and slinky tops.

Its young and sexy image has got it into trouble before, forcing it to take down an ad in 2017.

And the Advertising Standards Authority ruled on Wednesday that the fashion brand has again breached a number of industry codes by posting a YouTube ad that “invited viewers to view the women as sexual objects”.

Seen on 29 October, the ad opened with a woman wearing black vinyl, high-waisted chaps-style knickers and a cut-out orange bra. A second model was depicted wearing a transparent mesh bodysuit, with her knee bent up and with a neon bar in between her legs.

More scenes included a woman in a bikini top, holding the neon bar behind her shoulders in a pose that accentuated her breasts, before she crouched down with her legs apart to reveal string bikini bottoms. 

PrettyLittleThing said that the ad highlighted its commitment to promoting diversity through bold and distinctive fashion, and that it had not intended to create a campaign that could be deemed offensive.

But after a viewer complained, the regulator agreed that the ad was “irresponsible”.

“We considered that the cumulative effect of the scenes meant that overall, the products had been presented in an overly-sexualised way that invited viewers to view the women as sexual objects. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence and was irresponsible,” the ASA said in its assessment.

The advertising watchdog said the ad must not appear again in its current form, and warned the fashion brand not to use advertising that was likely to cause serious offence.

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