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Pretty Little Thing ad banned in the UK for being 'offensive'

The Advertising Standards Authority ruled the ad "overly sexualised and objectified women."
The ad portrays women in revealing outfits posing in suggestive poses.
The ad portrays women in revealing outfits posing in suggestive poses.Pretty Little Things
/ Source: TODAY

Fashion brand Pretty Little Thing isn't allowed to run its latest YouTube advertisement in the United Kingdom, according to a ruling from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The news comes just months after a member of the public reported the ad to the U.K.-based regulatory organization, claiming it "overly sexualised and objectified women."

During the ad in question (you can view it here), models appear in several revealing ensembles, including high-waisted chaps and bikini tops and bottoms. Throughout the 30-second spot, models pose in a series of suggestive and seductive poses.

According to the ASA's ruling, representatives for Pretty Little Thing claimed the ad "supported and promoted diversity through bold and distinctive fashion of all shapes and sizes." They also said the brand "had not intended to create an ad which was deemed offensive and irresponsible."

In response to the complaint, the trendy retailer provided a mood board to demonstrate the creative direction behind the ad and argued that the video was "inspired by their customers who seek the latest rave style clothing."

The ASA ruled that Pretty Little Thing could not air its ad as is in the U.K.
The ASA ruled that Pretty Little Thing could not air its ad as is in the U.K.

After reviewing both arguments, the ASA ruled that the ad could no longer appear again in the U.K. in its current form.

"We considered that the cumulative effect of the scenes meant that overall, the products had been presented in an overly-sexualised way that invited viewers to view the women as sexual objects. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence and was irresponsible," they wrote in their ruling.

Matt Wilson, media and public affairs manager for the ASA, told TODAY Style the organization evaluates ads very closely to determine if they are offensive.

"We use public research, take into account the audience that’s likely to see an ad, the medium and context in which it appears as well prevailing standards in society to help inform our decision making," he said. "Our focus remains on putting the protection of children at the heart of our rules and work and taking action where advertisers get it wrong."

When it came time to review the Pretty Little Thing ad, the ASA determined that the content could potentially do more harm than good. "The focus of the ad, in our view, appeared to be on the model (sexualising her) rather than the clothing range being advertised," Wilson said.

This isn't the first time the brand has landed itself in hot water in recent months.

Last May, a 29-year-old shopper called out the brand for a "size 4" women's dress that barely fit her 4-year-old daughter, nevermind her. The same month, another shopper shared her story of a bikini she bought from the brand. After wearing it in the water, she realized it wasn't exactly water-friendly when the dye started leaking out.

Pretty Little Thing did not return requests for comment.