Boohoo Under Fire For 'Objectifying Women'

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 7 months ago | News

Image: movie still from Clueless. Image source.

British fast fashion brand Boohoo has come under fire with the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for their pattern of "objectifying women” and being “socially irresponsible” in email marketing. Last week, the advertising watchdog slammed Boohoo’s July 2019 email marketing campaign with the subject line “Send Nudes [eyes emoji]”.

The self-regulatory organisation is responsible for monitoring UK media and making sure it is free from misleading, harmful or offensive advertisements. This specific Boohoo ruling was in response to a customer complaint about the email, which contained a photo of a female model wearing a beige jacket and cream-coloured dress.

After investigating further, the ASA found that the reference to "send nudes" was “socially irresponsible,” particularly given Boohoo’s young target market, which consists of many teens. Boohoo responded by saying that the word “nude” was used “solely to describe the [garment] colour, which resembled that of the wearer’s skin” and stated that individuals must be at least 18-years-old to receive its emails.

But, as The Fashion Law reports, the ASA maintained that, while the ad may have played on “a well-known phrase to highlight a fashion trend,” the “specific reference chosen [has] the effect of making light of a potentially harmful social trend”. The ASA went on to point out that “increased pressure to share such photos had been linked to negative outcomes for young people.”

In terms of Boohoo’s claims about a mailing list age requirement, the ASA ruled that “online age is often misreported,” and Boohoo failed to “provide details of any further steps [it] had taken to reduce the likelihood of under-18s being targeted with the ad,” which was deemed especially likely due to the “general price point of Boohoo’s clothing and the age of the target market.”

As a result of this ruling, Boohoo must now refrain from using this kind of language in marketing campaigns and must ensure that all future ads are “socially responsible.” AWhich raises some interesting questions about what other areas of their business model might also be deemed socially irresponsible.


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