Topshop’s advertising is looking a bit thin…!

The Topshop brand has pulled ‘Codie’, their wafer thin model, from its online advertising campaign as concerns have been raised that this may encourage eating disorders to the targetaudience of their campaign.  What messages are they giving out here? Is this a reasonable claim, or are consumers becoming too sensitive as to what the fashion industry consider to be attractive and missing the point that, in fact, models (in general) are typically built tall and slim…?

Topshop's Skinny Advertising

Topshop's Skinny Advertising

Back in April the Miu Miu brand received allegations that they had used a ‘too skinny’ model in their advertising campaign.  The advertising Standards Authority recently cleared the brand from any such allegations as they reached the conclusion that a combination of lighting and make-up effects made the model look slim, however not significantly underweight and therefore fashion label Miu Miu was deemed to be not irresponsible in their advert! This poses the question as to what messages are acceptable in today’s market, given the rise in eating disorders as a result of heavier media exposure. Where do brands in this industry draw the line…Topshop?

According to Marketing Communications: A Brand Narrative Approach the importance of the ASA’s involvement in brand advertising is fundamental to establishing what campaigns are perceived as ethical, and what is unethical (please refer to page 486 for an interesting case study on insurance company, Swiftcover.com).  It is reassuring to hear that the ASA are considering all facts and measuring what is acceptable in today’s society without completely discarding the importance of an industry’s impact on people’s lives…maybe we will see a shift in Topshop’s advertising to the using of hangers instead of real people in their adverts!

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