Do You Think This Gucci Ad Should Have Been Banned?

Photo: ASA
Gucci's new campaign video is getting a lot of heat in the U.K.: Britain's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned an ad for the brand's 2016 cruise collection because of its "unhealthily thin" models, The Drum reports.

The online campaign in question — a video directed by Glen Luchford starring bright young things raving in slow motion to a cover of Joy Division's "Control," which featured still shots of the models at the very end — was first flagged when it appeared on the U.K.'s The Times’ website back in December. A reader complaint prompted the ASA to investigate and issue a report on the matter.

The organization found one image in particular — of a model in a long dress leaning against a wall — to be alarming. So alarming, in fact, that the ASA slammed the image for being "irresponsible." The ASA said her torso and arms "appeared to be out of proportion with her head and lower body," and that her makeup "made her face look gaunt," according to the report. Both Gucci and The Times acknowledged that the models cast each had a "slim build," but believed that they "were not depicted in a way that could be interpreted as unhealthily thin" — and that, ultimately, it was "a subjective matter." Not so fast, though. The ASA concluded that the ad "must not appear again in its current form."

It's certainly a fine line, but whether it’s down to a camera angle, or a makeup illusion, or something else, the image highlighted by the ASA is concerning. And it's not Gucci's first go at producing a controversial ad: In 2003, under then-creative director Tom Ford, the brand released a campaign featuring supermodel Carmen Kass with a Gucci G shaved into her pubic hair. The image was banned almost instantly, but became iconic — it was perceived as rebellious and sexy, which only added to the brand’s allure. Being called out for featuring overly thin models, however, is not a coolness-inducing reason to be banned.

Other luxury brands have felt the ASA's hammer come down, too. Last May, the ASA banned this Miu Miu ad, but the criticism was age-related, not about body size: the organization claimed model Mia Goth looked too young for the image's suggestive nature (though she was 21 when it was shot). In 2011, Marc Jacobs' fragrance ad starring Dakota Fanning was banned by the ASA because the then-17-year-old actress apparently looked under 16, which would've implied the sexualization of a child. And sometimes, the policing of high-end campaigns is about false advertising instead of alarming or inappropriate imagery. Case in point: Dior's mascara ad being banned for featuring misleadingly long eyelashes on Natalie Portman in 2012.

If hype is anything to go by, Gucci is at the top of its game again, presenting stunning, cult-loved collections to adoring fans under its relatively new designer, Alessandro Michele. So this playing into fashion's extreme physical standards may come as a disappointment to fans.

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