Provocative store ads: should retailers practise more caution?
Are certain shopfront ads a little too audacious for a place like shopping malls? Shouldn't mall storefronts be more family orientated than X-rated?

A popular fashion retailer was reported to the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) recently, because their storefront displays were considered a little too racy.

The Young Designers Emporium (YDE) has had a number of sales in the past where they have gradually slashed their prices. The event has become well known as the "naked" sale, because prices are stripped to a "bare minimum".

A man visiting a Western Cape mall was not impressed by the advertising used to promote the sale, and subsequently complained to ASA about the provocative advertisements and how it could negatively impact children.

The formal complaint submitted states: "... the advertising was sexually explicit and harmful to children and that it would contribute to sexualising children before they are mature enough to tackle such issues responsibly. Attempts to resolve this issue directly with Mall Management and respondent's store have failed."

After making the complaint, the authority came to the conclusion that the advertisements were, indeed, contravening clauses 1 and 14 of Section 2 in the Advertising Code of Practice even though the respondent's argument was that the sale was quite in demand and the content was used in context. The respondent added the images were used in a tasteful manner, that they were neither pornographic nor lewd.

These images were used on the retailer's Facebook page, but the banners in store do not cover anything.

While this complaint was brought to the authority this year, and the matter was resolved solely because the sale had ended and the banners were removed from the various store windows anyway, the retailer has been using suggestive imagery for some time.

These are the images from previous "naked" sales:




The regulatory body reminded the retailer's respondent that they need to bear in mind that the content of their storefront campaigns are not only going to be seen by their target market and should be responsible when putting their campaigns together.

The complainant is not the only one who has an issue with the advertising. A number of other parents have taken to social media to complain about the retailer's risqué marketing and advertising campaign.

This comment was posted on the YDE advertisement on their Facebook page:

YDE Facebook complaint

This is a snipped of the comment along with YDE's response, but to view the whole post, click here.

Leslie Kasinganeti also posted about it on social media and as a father was utterly disgusted with the retailer's display of risqué content in a family-orientated environment:

Kasinganeti told Parent24 that as a father to a young daughter, he was so angered by what he'd seen.

"I called YDE and they never got back to me despite being given a reference number. I personally feel that if we as concerned parents do not do anything to protect our children from the broken moral fibre of this country then we are risking creating an unliveable future for our children.

"They will have absolutely no respect for one another, no privacy and a highly immoral society where children will be exposed to pornography in broad daylight.

"We definitely need to act and act fast. I, as a business person, understand these clothing houses need to make money, but there are several other ways to skin a cat, let's leave this one alone."

What are your thoughts on advertising in shopping malls? Should retailers, advertisers and marketing departments be more aware of the surroundings in which they display their content or should they be allowed to run campaigns of this nature, leaving parents to explain it to their children? Share your views by emailing and we may publish your comments, but should you wish to remain anonymous, please let us know.

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