US Gen Y fashion retailer American Apparel – famed for its raunchy campaigns featuring teen girls – has been busted by UK regulators for its latest campaign that features, what appears to be, a teen girl in a thong bodysuit.
Last month B&T reported that the company’s incoming CEO, Paula Schnieder, was dispensing with the raunchy campaigns in favour of “edgy over offensive”.
However, less than 12 months into the job, Schnieder has found herself and the brand on the wrong side of regulators.
The company – who has flagship stores in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide – are again in trouble for showing a teen model with her buttocks clearly visible. It had previously been busted and sanctioned in 2009, 2012 and 2013 for sexualising under age models.
The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) deemed the images were “irresponsible and offensive” because the model in the ad appeared to be under 16 years of age.
The ad was ultimately banned and ASA concluded the image had a “youthful appearance” and her expression and pose was a sexualised one and could cause serious offence.
American Apparel counter-claimed that the model was actually 20 years of age and, far from being a raunchy image, was merely modelling generic underwear.
Some critics – both in the US and the UK – have argued that the retailer continues to stray into controversial territory as the fines and the bans are easily outweighed with the PR and media exposure.