Online fashion retailer Pretty Little Thing has landed in hot water after having a TV advertisement banned for using models who appeared to be underage and in sexually suggestive clothes and poses.
The advertisement, which aired on ITVBe in April during the programme Dinner Date, featured two young females modelling various Pretty Little Thing outfits in the middle of a desert plain.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received a complaint from a viewer which accused the ad of irresponsible for portraying models who looked like children and portrayed in a sexualised manner.
21 Three Clothing, which trades as Pretty Little Thing, said the models were 23 and 24 years old.
The retailer added that the styles of clothing worn in the advertisement were on-trend designs for the summer festival season.
Ad clearance agency Clearcast said its viewing panel felt that the tone of the ad was in line with the summer or festival spirit of the products.
Clearcast also noted that the models featured were neither childlike nor indecent or overly sexualised.
However, the ASA said one model had a “very youthful appearance”, some of the outfits were tight fitting or revealing, and some poses drew attention to the models’ chests and bottoms.
As a result, the ASA determined that the combination of the models’ poses, their expressions and their outfits meant Pretty Little Thing’s advertisement was sexually suggestive.
“We considered that the ad portrayed a model who appeared to be under 16 in a manner that was sexually suggestive,” the ASA said.
“We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and in breach of the code.”
It added: “We told Prettylittlething.com to ensure that future ads did not sexualise those who appeared to be children.”
The Retail Gazette has contacted Pretty Little Thing for comment.