The British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has investigated two complaints recently stemming from recent American Apparel ad campaigns, banning several images (including the two below). This is the third time in about a year that the Los Angeles-based retailer has faced similar action by the ASA. According to the complaints, the images portray the models as vulnerable and overtly sexual, with the photographs objectifying women. The ASA concluded that the ads breached its Code: "We considered there was a voyeuristic quality to the images, which served to heighten the impression that the women were vulnerable and in sexually provocative poses. For the reasons given, we considered the ads were likely to cause serious offence to visitors to American Apparel's website."
According to an American Apparel spokesperson: "We'd like to shoot down the idea that American Apparel is trying to make ads that get banned for publicity. It's the other way around. The ASA grandstands on the AA name to get publicity and that's why they repeatedly come after the company. I think the fact that the 'ads' in this case weren't even ads but images on our website makes that pretty clear. How can this agency have any say over what a company displays on its site? We've been doing these ads for 10 years. Who are they to say what is and isn't appropriate?"