Monday 16 December 2019

Jack Wills ad banned over 'irresponsible' sexualised images

Josie Clark

An ad for the teenage clothing brand Jack Wills has been banned for using sexualised images and text inappropriate for young people.

The British retailer's spring catalogue, sent as a direct mailing in February, featured images of male and female models in their underwear drinking, dancing and on a bed together underneath text stating: "Whatever your choice, you can be sure it's what's underneath that counts" while larger text read: "Midnight mischief."

Another page showed a male model topless on a bed with a woman, and a woman wearing a bra with a strap falling off her shoulder.

Jack Wills said the brand targeted 18 to 24-year-old university students and not younger teenagers, adding that the catalogue was sent in a sealed, opaque paper envelope and the website had an under-18 restriction for signing up to receive communications.

The company said the images were not sexualised or provocative and did not imply sexual activity in any way.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said although Jack Wills' target audience was 18 to 24-year olds, younger teens might have access to the ad either directly or indirectly, and that the images were likely to appeal to those readers because they portrayed a lifestyle to which they might aspire.

It said the sequence of images, in conjunction with the text, was sexually suggestive as opposed to simply being flirtatious or playful.

The ASA said: "Because we understood that younger teenagers could have both direct and indirect access to the catalogue, and because we considered the images and text were sufficiently sexualised to be inappropriate for that audience, we concluded that the ad was irresponsible and that it breached the Code."

It ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form, adding: "We told Jack Wills not to use sexualised images and text that were inappropriate for younger teenagers in ads to which those teenagers could have both direct and indirect access."

Jack Wills said it would in future print on envelopes containing catalogues: "Please note: You need to be over 18 years old to sign up for Jack Wills' correspondence."

PA Media

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