Five posters for H&M swimwear:
- (a) One poster showed a woman sitting in shallow sea water, wearing a pink bikini. Text stated, Bikini top ?3.99 .
- (b) A second poster showed a woman sitting upright on a beach, wearing a black bikini, a shawl around her shoulders and sunglasses. Text stated, Bikini top ?3.99 .
- (c) A third poster showed a woman standing in shallow sea water, wearing a patterned bikini. Text stated, Bikini top ?3.99 .
- (d) A fourth poster showed a woman wearing a one-piece block patterned swimsuit, which was zipped to the neck. Text stated, Swimsuit ?19.99 .
- (e) A fifth poster showed a woman standing in sea water up to her thighs. She wore a yellow patterned bikini and an opened scuba diving back pack. Text stated, Bikini top ?3.99 .
- (f) A digital poster was seen outside Westfield shopping centre. It featured three images, the first was similar to poster (a) but the shot was zoomed out and showed more of the model. The second image was the same as poster (c) and the third featured a model in the sea, wearing a one-piece swimsuit and sunglasses. Issue
The ASA received ten complaints challenging whether the ads were offensive, degrading towards women, too sexual for general display, and unsuitable to be seen by children.
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
The models in all the ads were wearing bikinis. However, we considered this was in line with consumer expectations in a campaign promoting swimwear. We noted that, although the photographs were close-up shots, there was no nudity in the ads and considered that neither the models’ poses nor expressions were overtly sexual. . While we considered that the poses could be seen as mildly sexual, in the context of a campaign for swimwear, we considered that they were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
We investigated ads (a), (b), (c), and (e) under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find them in breach.
Ads (a), (b), (d) and (f) featured models who were leaning their heads back towards the sun, with eyes closed. This had the effect of drawing attention to the models’ chests which, in a different context, could be considered sexually suggestive. However, in the context of a campaign of posters for a range of swimwear, featuring models at the beach in the sun, we considered that the approach was in line with consumer expectations. The posters featured no nudity or overtly sexual poses. Although we welcomed H&M’s decision to place the posters away from schools as a precautionary measure, we concluded that ads (a), (b), (c), (d) and (f) were suitable for general display and therefore not irresponsibly placed.
We investigated ads (a), (b), (c), (d) and (f) under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find them in breach.