A Pretty Little Thing advert has been banned by the UK’s advertising watchdog over concerns it objectified women.
The pre-roll YouTube advert for the online clothing company opened with a model looking over her shoulder in a seductive manner while wearing black vinyl chaps-style knickers with her buttocks on show.
A later scene depicted a model wearing a transparent mesh bodysuit while lying on her side with her knee bent up and a neon bar in between her legs.
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) looked into the ad, which aired back in October, after someone complained it was overly sexualised and objectified women – and challenged whether the ad was offensive and irresponsible.
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Another scene from the ad featured a woman in a bikini top, holding a neon bar behind her shoulders in a “highly sexualised pose which accentuated her breasts”, the ASA said. The woman was then shown crouching down with her legs apart, wearing chaps-style trousers to reveal string bikini bottoms.
In defence of the ad, PLT said it highlighted how it “supported and promoted diversity through bold and distinctive fashion of all shapes and sizes which focused on different trends”.
Pretty Little Thing – founded in 2012 and owned by the Manchester-based Boohoo group – started out as an accessories-only line but is now a fashion brand that prides itself on being “all about the right here, right now”.
“We don’t just anticipate trends; we create them,” the brand’s website boasts, “as we deliver our girl product inspired from the catwalk, celebs, and coolest influencers of the moment.” It has close connections to TV culture, especially ITV2′s Love Island, whose islanders often go on to sign sponsored contracts to promote Pretty Little Thing lines – or design their own.
Responding to the ASA complaint, the brand said that it had not intended to create an ad that was seen to be offensive and irresponsible, and that it worked hard to promote a positive and healthy body image that was inclusive and empowered women.
It even provided a mood board to demonstrate the creative theory behind the advert, explaining it was inspired by customers seeking the latest “rave-style” clothing.
But the ASA considered the cumulative effect of the scenes meant the products had been presented in an overly-sexualised way that invited viewers to view women as sexual objects. It concluded the ad was irresponsible, likely to cause serious offence and ruled that it shouldn’t appear in its current form again.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.