A Gucci advert promoting the company's latest fashion range has been banned by UK regulators for using a model that looked "unhealthily thin". The ad, which appeared on The Times newspaper website, is the latest to be taken to task by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for pushing an "irresponsible body image".
The promotion showed several models dancing to a soundtrack and ended with images of two slender models wearing Gucci clothes. A complaint sent to the ASA said the models appeared dangerously thin and accused the clothing company of being irresponsible.
Guccio Gucci SpA – the parent company of Gucci – defended its advertising campaign, however, arguing that deciding whether a model looked unhealthily thin or not was a "subjective issue". It admitted the models were slim but added that "nowhere in the ads were any models' bones visible", and suggested the "natural" make-up used may have "accentuated the impression of thinness".
The Times said it agreed with Gucci that thinness was a subjective matter.
But in a ruling publishing on Wednesday (6 April), the ASA said Gucci has breached codes on responsible advertising. It said while it was satisfied one model appeared slim but not unhealthy, another female shown leaning against a wall appeared too thin.
It said: "We considered that her torso and arms were quite slender and appeared to be out of proportion with her head and lower body. Further, her pose elongated her torso and accentuated her waist so that it appeared to be very small.
"We also considered that her sombre facial expression and dark make up, particularly around her eyes, made her face look gaunt. For those reasons, we considered that the model leaning against the wall appeared to be unhealthily thin in the image, and therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible."
The ASA told Guccio Gucci the advert must not appear again.
This is not the first time fashion companies have found themselves accused of promoting a poor body image with their adverts. Just last week, "ethical" clothing company Nobody's Child had a series of posters banned by the ASA after they were found to have "sexualised vulnerable children".
In January, a TV advert for a corset which promised to give women a "sexy tiny" waist was also banned after the ASA received a number of complaints saying it "encouraged unhealthy body perceptions".