Due to the complaint of just one person, this Prada ad featuring True Grit actress Hailee Steinfeld will never be seen again in the U.K. because it shows “a child in a hazardous or dangerous situation“:
It’s the second insane ad ban handed down by Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority today. (The first one banned this Lynx ad featuring model Lucy Pinder for being too sexy.) The ASA regulates marketing in the U.K.
Neither Prada nor Tatler, the magazine that ran the ad in its September 2011 edition had received any complaints about the shoot, the ASA’s ruling noted.
The complainant — an anonymous member of the public — disliked the ad because it appeared to show Steinfeld crying and was suggestive of youth suicide, as she’s sitting on a railroad track. The ASA rejected that complaint after it learned that Steinfeld wasn’t actually crying: The shot was made “between takes” on the set, while Steinfeld had been rubbing her eye because it was “itchy or had something in it.”
However, because Steinfeld was shown sitting on the tracks the ASA ordered the ad be censored:
We noted Prada’s comments that the photo was shot on an abandoned railway track and that Hailee Steinfeld was not in any way constrained to that position, and that the viewpoint of the ad extended along the railway track where there was clearly no train in sight. We noted that she could have easily moved from where she was sitting, that she was not running along the track, and she was not playing on it. We acknowledged that the ad was part of a serious, high fashion campaign aimed at adult women; and that it was placed only in adult, high fashion magazines such as Tatler, which was not aimed or addressed at children. Nevertheless, because the ad showed Hailee Steinfeld, who was 14 years of age only when the photo was shot, in a potentially hazardous situation sitting on a railway track, we concluded the ad was irresponsible and in breach of the Code in showing a child in a hazardous or dangerous situation.
It’s verdict: “The ad must not appear again in its current form.”
At some point the Brits need to wake up to the fact that this regulatory scheme is out of control. Perhaps by requiring consumers to put their names on their frivolous complants it might cut down on some of the ASA’s more unreasonable rulings.
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