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‘Sexually suggestive’ Jack Wills catalogue ad banned

An ad in a Jack Wills catalogue has been banned for using “sexually suggestive” images and text, following a single complaint. 

Banned Jack Wills ad

A banned Jack Wills ad

The ad, which appeared in the spring catalogue in February, featured images of male and female models in their underwear, drinking and dancing on a bed together.

Copy above the images read: “Underwear… pure and comfortable cottons or flirty delicate laces, whatever your choice, you can be sure it’s what’s underneath that counts.” Below it read: “…midnight mischief.”

Another page, promoting loungewear, featured images of male and female models on a bed. Some of the models wore loungewear, one male model was topless on a bed with a woman while reading and another woman wore a bra with a strap falling off her shoulder.

The Advertising Standards Authority received one complaint from a woman who argued the images were unsuitable in a catalogue targeted at and seen by teenagers.

Jack Wills said its target was 18 to 24 year olds at university, not teenagers, and said it was “in keeping with their brand image to depict a group of five friends in all of its campaigns as a reflection of the life stages of their target audience”. 

It argued that the images were “not sexualised, provocative and did not imply sexual activity in any way” and simply “showed a group of friends enjoying a weekend away”. It also pointed out that none of the images featured any nudity.

The catalogue had been addressed and sent to the complainant, not her children, and was delivered in a sealed, opaque paper envelope.

But the ASA ruled it must not appear again in its current form and warned Jack Wills not to use sexualised images or text in a catalogue to which teenagers could have direct or indirect access.

“We considered that this sequence of images, in conjunction with the text, was sexually suggestive as opposed to simply being flirtatious or playful,” it concluded.

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