Gucci Gets Flak From British Regulator For ‘Unhealthily Thin’ Model

Hong Kong Weathers Global Financial Storm
HONG KONG - MAY 25: The entrance to the Gucci store in the Times Square neighborhood is viewed on May 25, 2014, in Hong Kong, China. Hong Kong, with a population of nearly 8 million people, has become one of the world's most important trade and financial centers since the British relinquished control of the region in 1997 to the People's Republic of China. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
Photograph by George Rose—Getty Images

A recent ad campaign by Gucci elicited criticism from an advertising regulator.

A complaint was issued with the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority that regarded two models in a Gucci commercial as “unhealthily thin,” and said that the video was “irresponsible.” Titled “The Cruise,” it was posted online in December on The Times of London’s website.

In the ASA’s assessment of the complaint, it determined that the advertisement breached responsible advertising codes. Of the two models the complainant referred to, the regulator resolved that one of them did appear to fit the “unhealthily thin” description. According to the assessment, her torso and arms seemed disproportionate to her head and lower body, and her somber facial expression and dark makeup paired together “made her face look gaunt.”

Gucci responded to the complaint defensively, saying that the issue of whether or not the model looks unhealthily thin is “to some extent, a subjective [one],” and it didn’t believe that was the case in this advertisement. The Italian fashion brand said that none of her bones were visible, she was simply “toned and slim.”

The ASA’s assessment was upheld, ruling that Gucci’s ad “must not appear again in its current form.” Gucci has since removed the final two images from the video.

This is the second time in less than a year that the ASA has upheld this kind of decision. Last summer the regulator ruled that an Yves Saint Laurent ad breached the same responsible advertising codes after a similar complaint was issue.

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