UK fashion brand Jack Wills is known for filling its catalogs with posh-looking, often skimpily-dressed models to promote its preppy image.
However, this time, Jack Wills has gone too far, according to the UK ad regulator.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned two pages of the retailer’s Spring catalog for featuring partially dressed models with suggestive captions.
The first page presented a mixed group of models dancing, drinking wine, sitting on a toilet, and cuddling on a sofa, while wearing very few clothes.
It was accompanied by the captions: “UNDERWEAR … Pure and comfortable cottons, or flirty delicate laces, whatever your choice, you can be sure it’s what’s underneath that counts …” and “… midnight MISCHIEF.”
The second page advertised loungewear by showing images of male and female models on a bed. One of the male models was topless, while a female model wore a bra with the strap falling off.
The caption below it said: “A favourite tee and your boxers, or a lounge short and bra; this is loungewear made for the morning after the night before.”
A complaint sent to ASA questioned the suitability of such ads for a clothing brand “targeted at, and seen by, teenagers.”
Jack Wills responded that its brand was targeted at university students aged between 18 and 24, rather than teenagers. It claimed that neither the images of “pyjama party” nor the captions surrounding them were “sexualized.” Jack Wills also pointed out that the copy of the catalog the complainant had received was not addressed to children.
ASA responded that the combination of the text and images made the overall effect “sexually suggestive.” It concluded that because young teenagers could have direct and indirect access to the catalog, the ad was “irresponsible.”
Both ads were banned and Jack Wills was told not to use “sexualized images and text that [are] inappropriate for younger teenagers” in the future.
The banned Jack Wills underwear ad:
This is the loungewear ad that was also banned: