Three posters for Matalan swimwear:
a. The first ad showed three women wearing bikinis posing outside a row of beach huts. Text stated The economic outlook. Sunny. Bikini separates from ฃ4 .
b. The second ad showed four women in bikinis standing on a beach looking into the distance. Text stated A boost for your economy … Bikini separates ฃ3 .
c. The third ad showed three women standing by the sea with their arms around each other, smiling. The woman in the centre was wearing a cover up and the two on either side of her were wearing bikinis. Text stated The economic outlook. Sunny. Bikini separates from ฃ5.
- One complainant challenged whether ads (a) and (b) were inappropriate to be displayed where they could be seen by children.
- Two complainants challenged whether ad (c) was offensive and unsuitable for display in an untargeted medium.
- One complainant challenged whether ad (c) was inappropriate to be displayed where it could be seen by children.
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
The ASA acknowledged the complainants had been concerned by the images and did not feel they were suitable for display in an untargeted medium. However, we noted the ads did not show any nudity and that the images of women wearing bikinis were clearly relevant to the product being advertised. We noted that the models were posed naturally in ads (b) and (c) and that the poses of the models in ad (a) were no more than mildly sexual. We considered that the models’ facial expressions were not sexually provocative, and that the text did not contain any innuendo. Whilst we understood that the ads may not appeal to everyone, we considered that the ads were not sexual in tone and we concluded that they were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
We investigated the ads under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find them in breach.