The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a Calvin Klein ad featuring a semi-nude image of pop singer FKA Twigs over claims that it depicted her as “a stereotypical sexual object.”
The poster, which first appeared in the UK last April, showed FKA Twigs partially covering her naked body with a denim shirt, exposing the side of her bottom and almost revealing her nipple. The poster’s caption read “Calvins or nothing.”
In a decision announced on Wednesday, the ASA ruled that the ad may no longer appear on Britain’s streets.
“The ad used nudity and centered on FKA Twigs’ physical features rather than the clothing, to the extent that it presented her as a stereotypical sexual object,” the regulatory organization explained, describing the poster as “irresponsible and likely to cause serious offense.”
The ASA launched its investigation after a mere two people complained about the posters. The complainants also took issue with two other posters in Calvin Klein’s campaign, both featuring model Kendall Jenner. However, the ASA found no fault with these two images, despite them showing Jenner in a similar state of undress.
One of the ads featuring Jenner was “no more than mildly sexual,” the ASA stated, adding that the other – showing the model in underwear with a pair of jeans pulled halfway up her thighs – contained a level of nudity “not beyond that which people would expect for a lingerie ad.”
The fashion brand argued that both FKA Twigs and Jenner were depicted in “natural and neutral” poses, and that it has run similar ads in the UK for many years.
“The images were not vulgar and were of two confident and empowered women who had chosen to identify with the Calvin Klein brand, and the ads contained a progressive and enlightened message,” the company said.
The ASA is often forced to investigate ads based on a single complaint. An advertisement for an online gambling site was banned on Wednesday after one viewer complained that an actor in the ad did not appear to be over 25 years old, while a charity billboard featuring a semi-naked woman and the text “Cancer won’t be the last thing that f*cks me” was deemed inappropriate and offensive following two complaints.
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