Gucci Advertisement Banned for Featuring "Unhealthily Thin" Model
The Advertising Standards Authority, U.K's advertising watchdog, is back at it — this time banning a Gucci advertisement for featuring a model that looks, in their words, "unhealthily thin."
The ad in question is actually six months old. The campaign photos for the brand's 2016 cruise collection were first posted on Gucci's Instagram in September 2015, and later in a video published in December 2015 by U.K.-based the Times.
The complainant took issue with two of the campaign pictures. The first ad in question, seen below, was not ultimately banned, as the ASA believed "her legs, while slim, appeared to be generally in proportion with the rest of her body which was not excessively slender or underweight."
The second was banned for being "irresponsible," with the ASA issuing the following reasoning:
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 makeup, particularly around her eyes, made her face look gaunt.
Gucci claims that the ads were a part of a dance party video "aimed at an older, sophisticated audience," and believe the target population of The Times is a "mature readership."
The brand also believes that the debate of whether or not she is too skinny is subjective, and in this case this woman isn't unhealthy thin because "nowhere in the ads were any models' 'bones' visible." Not digging itself out of this hole, Gucci further blamed the makeup choices for possible causing the model to appear more thin than she is.
Regardless of whatever excuses Gucci wants to use for this advertisement, folks online seemed to be in agreement that the model was clearly too thin, with some even commenting that the male model in the photo was just as skinny.
"This makes me really sad. You can tell she's beautiful but they BOTH look super sick," one user commented on the brand's Instagram. "This is NOT what we want our younger generation aspiring to," another wrote.
Twitter users were also quick to discuss the subject, praising the ASA and questioning Gucci's defense of the ad.
This Gucci ad only contributes to the already-ignited "skinny" models debate that's been happening for years. Most recently, in December 2015, the French government passed a law stating that all models had to provide a doctor's note confirming that they are healthy and have an appropriate Body Mass Index. This came a few months after Victoria Beckham was accused of using "uniformly painfully thin" models in her September 2015 New York Fashion Week show.
The banning of the ad yet again raises the debate over whether a model's weight and health can be judged in tandem, and whether skinny models should be limited because of inherently bad messages about health. Either way, we know Gucci is just one of many brands to use thin models, following the fashion industry norm.
April 6, 2016, 12:15 p.m.: This story has been updated.