Kids do the darnest things, don’t they? And when it comes to influencing young people and in pushing copycat behaviour through media, it can get pretty ugly. The once very popular (and still sort of popular) clothing brand, Superdry, have recently had their new Facebook advertisement pulled by the ASA, following complaints from viewers that it was “socially irresponsible”.
If you didn’t know, Superdry is a British clothing brand, a success story of two minds from Cheltenham, Ian Hibbs and Julian Dunkerton, who used American vintage style fashion inspired by Japanese graphics into their clothing prints. It became very popular in the mid to late 2000’s, and had become the go-to brand for many young people who didn’t seem to have much fashion sense, that wished to stand out amongst their peers with bold shirt prints saying “Superdry” on them for a number of years.
Anyway, in the last few years to capitulate away from its waning popularity, ownership of the brand changed in 2014 with Julian Dunkerton stepping down as CEO. Since then, their adverts have seemingly taken on a much darker turn, hence why this latest Facebook advert in question has been pulled by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The Facebook advert featured freerunner Harry Gallagher, also known as “Nightscape”, who regularly posts daredevil photos on his Instagram, such as this one below. Don’t try this at home kids!
View this post on Instagram
Say Cheese 😸 *GIVEAWAY ALERT* 'Tis the season for giving so for Christmas I'm going to be doing my BIGGEST GIVEAWAY ever! The prize will be one of every single item in my merch store… I have over 30 items! For the chance to win all you have to do is: 1.Follow me 2.tag 3 friends in this post! I'll be picking the winner in one week! Merry Christmas to the NSNATION ❤️🎅
While there have been no reports of anyone actually copying the activities shown in the advert (as pictured below), the complaint was upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), who deemed the advert “harmful and irresponsible”. Let’s take a look at a video still from the advert which garnered these complaints.
Superdry argued against the ASA and said that the advertisement was not targeted towards children, as the clothes being promoted wouldn’t appeal to them.
You see, the advertisement features Nightscape walking across an exposed beam above a city skyline at night. The ad was described as being “socially irresponsible and encouraged an unsafe practice”.
“A professional parkour or free running athlete with a social media following, his age, and the brand’s solely adult clothing lines meant the ad would not appeal to children”. The company claimed. “There is nothing in the ad which actively encouraged viewers to undertake copycat behaviour”.
Despite this, the ASA ruled that while the advertisement didn’t actively state that viewers should copy the activity, the implication of the ad was that it was fun and daring to do.
“While we acknowledged the lack of ease of access to such a location meant it would not be an easy activity to emulate, we considered it was likely to appeal to some young adults as an act of dexterity and daring.” The ASA stated. “For those reasons, we concluded that the ad was harmful and irresponsible.”
Unfortunately, we aren’t able to show the Facebook advertisement itself, since it has been fully taken down. With 2017 soon coming to a close, the year isn’t quite done with yet more banning of advertisements, and in this case, we’d have to agree that Superdry is probably pushing “irresponsible” imagery to young people.
While we couldn’t find the ad in question, we managed to find this other advert from Superdry released in May 2017 called ‘The Night is Young‘, which should have also garnered some complaints for its pushing of antisocial behavioural themes, and questionable imagery directed at teenagers and young adults.
With the promotion of lighting things on fire, the encouragement of teen sex, flashing passing cars your breasts on a bridge, getting tattoos, acts of vandalism, trespassing, breaking and entering, symbolisms of violence, being stopped by police, the blatant Playboy style bunny ears in sexually suggestive imagery, as well as setting off fireworks to cause a nuisance in a public area, all in the name of “COOL“… Well, let’s just say that it’s no wonder their latest “Dare” campaign is being deemed as “socially irresponsible”.
<Story by Emily Clark>
Featured Photo Credit: Regent Street