Today, in news of the unsurprising: the UK’s famously ban-happy Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned two more American Apparel ads on the grounds that they cause “harm and offence.” And they weren’t even particularly bad ones, as American Apparel ads go.
The ASA banned the first ad (above) for the model’s exposed buttocks and fart-smelling expression. Also, for trying to make sweaters, those most virtuous of garments, altogether too sexy:
We noted the woman in ad (b) was fully clothed on her top half but that she was also on a bed and her bottom half appeared naked. Her buttocks were visible, with her legs raised. We considered the image to be gratuitous, particularly in an ad for knitwear. We also considered the model’s facial expression appeared blank, if not unsure, and were concerned that she appeared vulnerable. We considered the image was overtly sexual.
“Blank, if not unsure?” I’d go with “would clearly rather be jazzercising to AnCo than exposing herself to Dov Charney for a promotion” but potato, potahto. The point is that literally every American Apparel model has this exact same expression, so they might as well just pre-emptively ban all future ads and be done with it.
The second ad was banned for featuring a headless woman performing various suggestive poses while wearing Am Appy’s criminally comfortable, sweatshop-free thigh-highs:
The ASA noted ad (a) did not show the model’s face and that the scenes, which showed her on a bed, emphasised her groin and buttocks as well as focusing on her breasts, albeit they were covered. Although we considered it was reasonable for ads for hosiery to feature women in limited clothing, we considered the images and the model’s poses were gratuitous. We considered the images were overtly sexual and that they demeaned women by emphasising the model’s groin, buttocks and breasts and by not including her face.
But whenever they show the model’s face, the ASA hates the expression on it! One simply cannot win with these people.
There is also this:
We considered there was a voyeuristic quality to the images, which served to heighten the impression that the women were vulnerable and in sexually provocative poses. For the reasons given, we considered the ads were likely to cause serious offence to visitors to American Apparel’s website. We concluded that they breached the Code.
For their part, American Apparel’s PR team threw up their hands and said they were just trying to be authentic:
American Apparel (UK) Ltd (American Apparel) said they did their best to abide by the standards of the industry as well as creating authentic, honest and memorable images relevant to their customer base.
At the end of the day, I am not going to seriously defend these kinds of images, because they give me the douchechills. But they are indeed “authentic” in that this is how a large swath of industry and society views women (and, by extension, people), and I don’t think banning a few American Apparel ads is going to change that. Don’t hate the player, hate the game, etc. That said, I will never tire of seeing what kind of synergistic corporate-speak the embattled company comes up with to defend itself. Don’t ever change, guys.
(Via The Telegraph UK)
Photos: American Apparel