Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority has banned two online ads for American Apparel’s “back to school” range for sexualizing school girls in mini skirts and portraying an invitation for sex (or rape). The poster images on the retailer’s website page, were judged harmful and offensive by the advertising watchdog of UK.
A girl wearing a short skirt bending over to get something from the ground – exposes her white panty in the process – is what appears in the Instagram post . In the website post, a girl wearing a very short school skirt is leaning into a car to get something form the seat – exposing her white panty in the process.
Complaints to the ASA said the online ads (created in-house) were offensive because they were sexual in nature, and inappropriate for a skirt advertised as school-wear for under 18 girls.
In its defense, American Apparel said its approach was not graphic, explicit or pornographic, and was designed to show a range of people who were natural and real. The company also justified the ads by saying that models are not portrayed in a manner that was vulnerable or exploitative, and that the model was 30 years old.
The explicit images were posted by an underage member of the social media team, and the clothing retailer said it draws a strong distinction between its advertising in print or other traditional media, and web or social media, where consumers choose to view sexually explicit images.
The ASA, however, ruled that the ads were objectifying underage women, and were likely to cause rape crimes. The advertising watchdog also rejected the claim by American Apparel that the model was 30+ – as only her ass is visible.
The retailer has removed the images.
Here is a gallery of some of American Apparel previous advertisements in the media’s.