// PrettyLittleThing advert found for using “socially irresponsible” images of a 16-year-old model that depicted her in a sexual manner, the ASA has ruled
// Images by PLT which featured a 16-year-old posing in a ‘sexual way’ were also banned
Prettylittlething has been rapped over sexually provocative material after the ASA banned an advert portraying someone under 18 in a sexual way.
The campaign featured Travis Barker’s daughter Alabama Barker who was 16 at the time it was shot and the ASA ruled the fast fashion retailer used “socially irresponsible” images of the16-year-old model.
The watchdog said that PLT had highlighted Alabama Barker’s young age while featuring her in a series of sexually suggestive poses and clothing.
Ms Barker’s images appeared on the retailer’s website in June, modelling her Y2K Edit clothing collection.
In one image, Ms Barker wore a tight-fitting short dress while sucking a lollipop. Another image featured Ms Barker wearing high heels and a low-cut short dress that revealed her breasts while spraying a water hose.
The brand ambassador webpage featured text saying “channel that teen dream realness with barely-there micro mini skirts”.
Prettylittlething confirmed Ms Barker was 16-years-old at the time of the ad’s shooting and said it had chosen Ms Barker as its brand ambassador because its customer base was primarily aged between 16 and 24-years-old.
The retailer said the campaign was based on the ‘Y2K’ trend which it said was extremely popular with its target market and which it characterised as girly, colourful, fun and playful.
The fast fashion giant said it did not intend to sexualise Ms Barker and disagreed that she was portrayed in a sexual manner.
PLT said that all creative was approved by Ms Barker and her team, and that she was posed in a similar style to images that could be seen on her own Instagram account.
It said the images in which Ms Barker was sucking a lollipop were intended as a nod to the Y2K trend and were playful and girly.
It said, in reference to the images in which Ms Barker could be seen spraying a hose pipe, that it believed cooling down on the lawn on a hot day fitted the intended Y2K aesthetic.
Prettylittlething concluded its defence and said it wanted to convey a message of body positivity to encourage and empower young women to embrace their bodies and inspire confidence.
However, the complaint was upheld by the ASA, which said the code stated that marketing communications must not portray or represent anyone who was, or seemed to be, under 18 in a sexual way
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