Witchery falls foul of ad board for “sexualised” kids ad

Article by Cara Waters /
Smart Company /
May 6, 2014 /
Click here to view original /

The Advertising Standards Board has upheld a complaint that a WitcheryKids ad is sexualised, but the clothing retailer is set to appeal.

The ad watchdog received complaints about the image which features a girl wearing WitcheryKids clothing while dancing and listening to music.

“The still video frame image shows a young girl with legs apart wearing a short skirt that has been shot on a low angle that focuses on the model’s crotch,” one complainant wrote.

“I find this image extremely offensive as a mother to a daughter.”

The ASB took into account the “strong community concern” regarding the sexualisation of children.

“The board noted that in the current advertisement the girl is wearing a short skirt and has her legs apart and considered that this pose is more adult than child-like,” the ASB found.

The ASB also noted the camera angle means that the image of the girl highlights the shortness of the skirt she is wearing.

“The majority of the board considered that overall the image amounted to a depiction of a child which is sexualised and is therefore not appropriate,” the ASB found.

WitcheryKids is owned by the Country Road Group and the group said the image had been misconstrued.

“CRG always ensure that the WitcheryKids’ product range and brand campaigns reflect community standards and portray children in a dignified and respectful manner,” the group said in a statement to the ASB.

“CRG do not consider the imagery to be sexual in nature nor does it imply that children are sexual beings.”

Dr Lauren Rosewarne from the University of Melbourne told SmartCompany it’s “a very long bow to draw” to suggest that a girl in motion is a specialised crotch shot.

“The complaint is indicative of excessive panic around the supposed sexualisation of children, something that transpires in the heads of overzealous parents far more than in reality,” she says.

WitcheryKids is seeking a review of the ASB’s finding.

In the meantime it has removed the image and it has not been used for any other marketing or advertising purposes.

Witchery declined to comment further to SmartCompany pending the review of the decision.