The ad watchdog has dismissed a case against Target despite several complaints it made women appear "whorish" and encouraged "perversion and rape".
The Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) received a host of complaints about the "see through nature" of the peach briefs, the models' ages and the type of underwear being promoted. However, the ASB has ruled the ad didn't represent women in an "exploitative or degrading way" and therefore didn't breach section 2.2 of the Code.
A television spot which promoted Target's range of ladies' underwear showed several women in varying underwear and pajama sets, including close-up shots of a model wearing sheer, peach coloured briefs.
A male complainant argued: "This shocking advert must be taken off the screen to prevent perversion and possible rapes. It makes the teenagers and the older women appear whorish. Some of the girls in this ad appear to be very young, under 18. I imagine the pervs watching TV think it is a real hit."
Another said: "Is nothing private or scared anymore?? This is being shown during family viewing time and it is highly offensive to the Muslim community and all others who have moral values. I certainly don't want my children to see this type of advertising. It is little wonder that we have so much immorality in the world when we are confronted by this on a daily basis."
Target hit back with the following response: "We do not consider that the advertisement sexualises or objectifies women - quite the opposite. We consider that the advertisement is appropriate and would not offend the sensibilities of the general public within the context of an advertisement for lingerie."
It also argued the close-up shots of the model's peach coloured underpants were only shown for a short amount of time and didn't reveal any explicit nudity. The Board also claimed the women in the spot appeared to be adults and were presented in a confident, non-sexualised manner.
Despite the case being dismissed, Target has since agreed to remove the offending scenes from the spot.
Just last month, the retail giant was slammed with Facebook complaints from parents who claimed its young girls clothing line was "trampy". Parent Ana Amini took to Target's Facebook page to urge it to make a clothing line for 7-14 year old girls which "didn't make them look like tramps". Hundreds of other parents followed Amini's action and saw the brand swamped with consumer comments.
It is unknown whether Target has taken action regarding the Facebook complaints.
Follow @AdNews on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.
Have something to say? Send us your comments using the form below or contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org
The AdNews Media Summit is on 19 May, 2016. A top line of of the industry's smartest thinkers will debate the biggest topics in media, advertising, marketing and creativity. Don't miss it, buy tickets here. Buying 5 tickets or more earns you a discount.
Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at email@example.com