Advertising Standards Authority bans Gucci ad after ruling that the model looks “unhealthily thin”

Apr 7, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Advertising Standards Authority bans Gucci ad after ruling that the model looks “unhealthily thin”

Apr 7, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

The ASA found this model appeared "unhealthily thin" and "gaunt"
The ASA found this model appeared “unhealthily thin” and “gaunt”

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), an advertising watchdog in the UK, yesterday presented a ruling upholding a complaint about a Gucci advert from December last year which describes the model as appearing “unhealthily thin” and “gaunt”.

The complaint about advert labelled by the ASA as “irresponsible” mentions two models.  One model sat down on a couch and the other appearing to lean up against a wall, the images appeared as stills at the end of a video on The Times Website in December 2015.

Under rule 1.3 of the UK’s Advertising Code, the ASA have banned the advertisement in its current form.

1.3 Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society.

The ASA considered both images mentioned in the complaint.

The ASA noted that the model seated on the sofa wore a short skirt which showed her legs up to her mid thighs.  We noted that her legs, while slim, appeared to be generally in proportion with the rest of her body which was not excessively slender or underweight – for example, her knee and ankle bones were not overly noticeable.

gucci-model-1-589x442

We therefore considered that the model did not appear to be unhealthily thin.

However the complaint was upheld due to the perceived appearance of the second model.

We noted that the model leaning against the wall was wearing a long dress so that only her lower legs, ankles, neck and head were visible. We considered that her torso and arms were quite slender and appeared to be out of proportion with her head and lower body. Further, her pose elongated her torso and accentuated her waist so that it appeared to be very small. We also considered that her sombre facial expression and dark make up, particularly around her eyes, made her face look gaunt.

The ASA found this model appeared "unhealthily thin" and "gaunt"

For those reasons, we considered that the model leaning against the wall appeared to be unhealthily thin in the image, and therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible.

In Gucci’s response to the complaint, they stated that…

Whether or not models were unhealthily thin was a subjective matter.

Here you can see a director’s cut of the video, courtesy of Gucci’s YouTube channel, and make your own mind up.

YouTube video

Apparently, no complaints were filed in relation to what Gucci describes as “dancing”.

You can read the full ruling by the ASA here.

What do you think?  Let us know in the comments.

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

12 responses to “Advertising Standards Authority bans Gucci ad after ruling that the model looks “unhealthily thin””

  1. Scott Stevenson Avatar
    Scott Stevenson

    Whenever you’re so thin that your handbag appears to be causing you to lean unnaturally, in one direction or another, it may be time to get some medical help.

  2. Marc Stokes Avatar
    Marc Stokes

    she does look unhealthy, but if she’d have looked unhealthy whilst being very overweight, she’d have been “redefining beauty standards” or some other nonsense.

    1. David Magee Avatar
      David Magee

      Bazinga!

  3. Gvido Mūrnieks Avatar
    Gvido Mūrnieks

    Yes – models(including males) look somewhat unhealthy thing! That is indeed fact.
    So, what’s the issue?
    All I could get out from the ASA ruling was, that one model in particular does not comply with their standards, therefore the ad should be stopped.
    I wonder – do ASA has some kind of standartisation list, that states requirements of body proportions allowed in advertisement? It is not sarcasm. I would genuinely like to see these requirements.

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      Like many other “standards” and a lot of laws that seem to have no legal definitions of the terms they use (such as “indecent”), it seems to be a subjective one, and whether something does or doesn’t comply with the “rules” will depend on the individuals responding to the complaint on the day.

  4. J. Zaring Avatar
    J. Zaring

    They should instead ban these for poor composition and snapshot like quality. Haha

  5. JOhn C Avatar
    JOhn C

    Thank God the government is making these decisions for the ignorant masses. Can you imagine if people had to decide what was attractive and what was not on their own? And people think government is too big?

    1. Vanitas Foto Avatar
      Vanitas Foto

      It isn’t a matter of the government thinking what are attractive or ugly, it is a matter of displaying unhealthy thin or obese people as something fashionable or in vogue.

      My mother suffered from nervous anorexia and it was really painful to see her suffer from this disorder and trying to overcome it, in this case it wasn’t something out of “Oh I want to look like the model”, nevertheless she suffered a lot because of it.

  6. Vanitas Foto Avatar
    Vanitas Foto

    Well they should do the same with H&M´s March 2016 campaign too… Because they are unhealthy thin too…. http://www.popsugar.com/fashion/HM-Spring-Campaign-March-2016-40518543#photo-40518543

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      The ASA typically only act when a complaint is made. So, complain to them if you feel strongly about it. :)

      1. Vanitas Foto Avatar
        Vanitas Foto

        Good to know I will because it is truly shameful what they are doing there.

  7. Master Avatar
    Master

    the walking dead….