American Apparel has been reprimanded by the advertising watchdog over a back to school ad that could “normalise predatory sexual behaviour” and “sexualise school-age girls”.
The Advertising Standards Authority ruled that images on the retailer’s website and Instagram account that featured an upskirt shot of a model in a tartan skirt leaning into a car showing her crotch and another of a woman bending over in a pleated skirt to reveal her knickers were “gratuitous”, “sexist” and “objectified woman”.
In its defence, American Apparel said the pictures were not explicit or pornographic and the models used were real people in natural poses and were over the age of 30.
However, the ASA slammed the ads for their attempt to “imitate voyeuristic ‘upskirt’ shots” that looked like they had been taken without consent.
The watchdog added: “In the context of an ad for a skirt marketed to young women, we considered [the images] had the potential to normalise a predatory sexual behaviour.”
It banned the ads, warning American Apparel to ensure its advertising in future is prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and would not cause serious offence.
American Apparel’s controversial chief executive Dov Charney was fired from the company he founded 16 years ago by its board in June following allegations of misconduct.