A Pretty Little Thing retail advert has been banned - here’s why

The advert was considered 'offensive' and 'irresponsible' (Photo: Pretty Little Thing/YouTube)
The advert was considered 'offensive' and 'irresponsible' (Photo: Pretty Little Thing/YouTube)

An advert for online fashion retailer Pretty Little Things featuring women in revealing lingerie has been banned by the UK’s advertising watchdog.

The YouTube advert, which aired in October, was considered “offensive” and was condemned for presenting the firm’s products in an “overly sexualised” way.

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‘Offensive and irresponsible’

The advert, which has now been removed from YouTube, began with a model looking seductively over her shoulder while wearing black vinyl, high-waisted chaps-style knickers, with her buttocks on display.

Other scantily clad women were then shown, including one wearing a transparent mesh bodysuit and over-the-knee boots, while lying on her side with her knee bent up and a neon bar between her legs.

A viewer complained about the advert being overly sexualised and objectifying women.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) then looked into the complaint and agreed, claiming the advert was “irresponsible” and likely to cause offence.

The ASA said, “"The ad proceeded to show women in seductive poses, wearing various lingerie style clothing and holding neon bars.

“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.”

The watchdog rules that the advert must not appear again in its current form and warned Pretty Little Thing not to objectify women in future campaigns.

The retailer was criticised for depicting women in an 'overly sexualised' way (Photo: Pretty Little Thing/YouTube)

A celebration of all women?

Despite the ruling, the online retailer has defended the ad and claimed it highlights its support for body diversity, by use of “bold and distinctive fashion of all shapes and sizes which focused on different trends”.

While the retailer asserts the advert “celebrates all women”, and that it worked hard to promote “a healthy body image that was inclusive and empowered women”, the ban means it must not be shown again and has since been removed.

Pretty Little Thing faced another ad being banned back in 2017, when it portrayed a model who appeared to be under 16 in a “sexually suggestive” manner.

The ASA has also recently banned an advert for retail rival Missguided, for featuring “highly sexualised” images that objectified women.

Similar action was taken by Pretty Little Things’ parent company Boohoo for “socially irresponsible” sexual references in an email advert. The ad used the phrase “send nudes”, which a viewer complained made light of a potentially harmful social trend.