The ASA received three complaints about the Viva Glam ad but no action was taken
An advertisement featuring pop singer Miley Cyrus has received complaints from three members of the public for being “overtly sexual” and offensive.
The MAC Viva Glam ads are displayed on a billboard in a large shopping mall complex and in large and small-scale poster form on the London Underground.
On the billboard, the ad features 22-year-old Cyrus wearing a low-cut corset bodysuit lying on her back with her legs apart, while on the London Underground the same image is displayed but with subtle differences; in the small scale poster Cyrus’ crotch is partially reflected in a mirror, while in the large scale poster her crotch is entirely reflected, although distorted by lighting.
The complainants all slammed the ad for being offensive because they believed they were overtly sexual, while two of the complainants went on to add that the ads were unsuitable for display in public areas as they risked being seen by children.
However, Estée Lauder brand MAC responded to the complaints stating that it thought the ads showed Cyrus “in a confident pose and that the use of colour and multiple reflections made the images dynamic and vibrant, while providing a background that made her stand out" and that the composition of the ads were designed to draw the viewer to her confident and defiant stare.
It added that the reflected images of Cyrus’ crotch “were no more than what one would ordinarily see when walking along a beach with women sunbathing or by a pool”.
Addressing the complaints about the ads being likely to be seen by children, MAC confirmed that all the media owners it had used had not displayed the posters within 100m of a school.
As a result of the investigation, the ASA did not uphold the complaints and said that while some might find the ads distateful and sexually suggestive, overall the ads were not overtly sexual, or likely to cause serious or widespread offence.