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American Apparel Ads Deemed 'Gratuitous'

The British Advertising Standards Authority upheld complaints against images on the brand’s Web pages.

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LONDON — The British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld two complaints against ads by American Apparel on the advertising page of its company Web site, calling them “gratuitous.”

The complainant contended the two ads, one under the heading “Bodysuits and Thigh-Highs” and the other advertising a sweater, to be offensive on the grounds of being overtly sexual objectifying women.

The “Bodysuits and Thigh-Highs” collection of images featured six pictures of a woman in a black Lycra bodysuit and blue thigh-high socks on a bed, with her face unseen. The other image in question showed a model reclining on a bed with her legs in the air wearing only a unisex turtleneck sweater.

While American Apparel, which has come under scrutiny for its provocative campaigns in the past, said that it did its best to abide by the standards of the industry as well as “creating authentic, honest and memorable images relevant to their customer base,” the ASA upheld the complaints, ruling that the ads must not appear again in their current form. The ASA told American Apparel to “ensure their future advertising contained nothing that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.”

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