Luxury brand breaches body image rules

Last month, the Ad Standards Community Panel upheld a complaint against a luxury fashion brand for depicting unhealthy body image ideals in a sponsored Instagram ad. They are the second advertiser to breach the body image rules following the update to the AANA Code of Ethics practice note in 2018.

The Community Panel determined that ‘while the model may not actually be unhealthy, the impression of the ad… was of a person that looked thin to a degree that would not be attainable by healthy practice’.

While advertisers are allowed to use people of all shapes and sizes in their ads, they need to make sure their content does not:

  • portray unrealistic ideal body images
  • show extreme body shapes that are unable to be attained through healthy practices
  • alter or digitally enhance images in a way that changes a person’s body shape or proportions.

The Panel considers a range of aspects when making a decision under this provision of the Code including the model’s pose, the use of makeup, and the lighting of an image. These details can make a person appear to be unhealthily thin, as was the case in the luxury brand’s ad.

It’s important to note that the Panel’s decision is not intended to make a comment on the model themselves, rather the effect the imagery could have on the audience.

You can read the Community Panel’s full determination on the Ad Standards case reports page.

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