Ban on Calvin Klein’s FKA Twigs Ad Revoked After ASA Climbdown


The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has backtracked on its decision to ban a Calvin Klein advertisement featuring the British singer FKA twigs, citing the “strength of public feeling.”

The ASA said that after “careful thought” it had decided that “the image was not sexually explicit, that the ad presented FKA twigs as confident and in control and, therefore, that she had not been objectified.”

The ASA had originally said the ad presented her as “a stereotypical sexual object.”

The poster featured the singer with a denim shirt partly covering her body, revealing part of her breast and the side of her buttocks, along with the caption “Calvins or nothing.”

The ASA initially described the advert as “irresponsible and likely to cause serious offence,” and made the decision to ban it after two people complained about the image, arguing it inappropriately sexualised her.

At the time, the ruling stated that “the ad used nudity and centred on FKA twigs’ physical features rather than the clothing, to the extent that it presented her as a stereotypical sexual object.”

The “image’s composition placed viewers’ focus on the model’s body rather than on the clothing being advertised,” the ruling continued, stating that the ad, which first appeared in April 2023, “must not appear again in the form complained of.”

The ASA did not ban two posters from the same campaign featuring the model Kendall Jenner, which attracted complaints on the same grounds. The ASA said those images did not focus on Jenner’s body in a manner that portrayed her as a sexual object, and that the level of nudity was not inappropriate for a lingerie ad.

FKA twigs defended the ad and responded to the ban with a statement on Instagram, saying that she “saw a strong beautiful woman” and did not identify with what the advertising agency “have labelled me.”

The singer also drew attention to “other campaigns past and current of this nature,” arguing that there were “double standards” at play.

Jeremy Allen White, best known for playing chef Carmy in the hit TV series “The Bear,” also featured in a Calvin Klein campaign, where he poses topless in boxer shorts. One of the images shows him pulling the underwear waistband down to reveal his abdominal muscles.

The ASA said it received three complaints about Allen White’s campaign, but that it is not yet investigating the TV and magazine ad.

A spokesperson from the ASA said the decision to revisit the original ruling “took place in the context of the significant strength of public feeling, including views expressed by FKA twigs”, and was also driven by “concern that our rationale for banning the ad was substantially flawed.”

However, the ASA Council has maintained its decision that the image in the ad was “overtly sexual” and was “not suitable for display in an untargeted medium.” The ban remains in place on that point, the statement said.

The statement continued: “We wanted to examine whether we had used inconsistent wording and if we had made the right judgment about objectification in the ad.”

Calvin Klein had defended the FKA twigs advert, saying: “The images were not vulgar and were of two confident and empowered women who had chosen to identify with the Calvin Klein brand, and the ads contained a progressive and enlightened message.” They argued the poses adopted by FKA twigs and Jenner were “natural and neutral.”

They also highlighted that FKA twigs and Jenner collaborated with the company and approved the images, and subsequently told interviewers “they felt a sense of empowerment and confidence from having participated.” Calvin Klein also highlighted that male models featured in the same campaign.

FKA twigs’s full statement read: “I do not see the ‘stereotypical sexual object’ that they have labelled me. I see a beautiful strong woman of colour whose incredible body has overcome more pain than you can imagine. In light of reviewing other campaigns past and current of this nature, I can’t help but feel there are some double standards here. So to be clear … I am proud of my physicality and hold the art I create with my vessel to the standards of women like Josephine Baker, Eartha Kitt and Grace Jones who broke down barriers of what it looks like to be empowered and harness a unique embodied sensuality. Thank you to CK and [photographers] Mert and Marcus, who gave me a space to express myself exactly how I wanted to – I will not have my narrative changed.”

The ASA said the republished ruling was final.

By Mabel Banfield-Nwachi

Learn more:

Why Calvin Klein Ads Still Get People Talking

Steamy images of Jeremy Allen White and FKA Twigs pushed the brand — which has a well-documented history of courting controversy — to the centre of conversation once again, proving casting and timing plus a little bit of provocation can fuel relevance.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top