A swimwear advertising campaign by fashion retailer H&M has escaped a ban despite complaints that images featured were “degrading towards women”.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) did not uphold complaints regarding five posters by the retailer which each showed women in bikinis, with some claiming that the imagery was irresponsibly placed and could be viewed by children.
In its response, the Swedish retailer, which also came under fire earlier this year following an ad featuring David Beckham in his underwear, said it “took its responsibility as an advertiser very seriously and was disappointed that some consumers found the campaign degrading to women or inappropriate for general display.”
Adjudicating on the matter, the ASA ruled that H&M intended to showcase its latest swimwear collection to its core audience and had not meant to cause offence.
As the ads contained no nudity or overtly sexual poses, the complaints were not upheld.
“When H&M planned an outdoor campaign they bought posters in locations which optimised against their core target audience (women aged 18–39),” the ASA commented.
“However, they only used poster sites that did not fall within a 100 metres proximity to schools.
“H&M regretted that the advertising had been perceived as offensive, and said they would take the complaints into consideration for future advertising campaigns.”
Last month, H&M announced singer Lana Del Rey as the new face of its Autumn clothing campaign as it sought to find a “style icon” to model its new collection.