Ad on Instagram created by an influencer found to have sexualised a minor

Ashley Regan
By Ashley Regan | 5 August 2022
Source: Tingey Injury Law Firm via Unsplash

An Instagram ad for international fast fashion company SHEIN was found to breach the Code of Ethics last month after the Community Panel found that the content sexualised a minor.

Advertisers must not use sexual appeal in ads featuring people who are or appear to be under 18.

The ad was posted by a 14-year-old influencer posing in a black dress with cut outs and included a special discount code.

The complainant/s made regarding this advertisement said: “The video is highly sexualised, featuring a young teen dressed in porn-inspired adult wear. She is filmed running her hands up her thighs, front and breasts. 

“It is reprehensible for SHEIN to use kidfluencers like this young teen girl to promote its products. 

“Kidfluencers are at high risk of being exploited by child predators. The video has had over 13k views, with engagement from extremely concerning accounts where young + pre teen girls are sexualised and connected to more predators.”

In a written response, the advertiser argued that the content was not advertising because “SHEIN did not sponsor this post nor did we ask for this post to be created. The swimsuit worn was not provided by us".

However the panel considered that it met the definition of advertising in the code because the post promoted the brand, tagged the brand and shared a special discount code.

The panel also concluded that the advertisement breached AANA Code of Ethics\2.2 Exploitative or Degrading, as the influencer was 14 years old at the time, she was wearing a revealing dress and was seen running her hands over her hips and breasts in a sexualised manner. 

The Panel also concluded that the advertisement breached AANA Code of Ethics\2.4 Sex/sexuality/nudity as the image of a young person which is sexualised did not treat sexuality with sensitivity to the relevant audience. 

As a result, the influencer was asked to take down her post and the SHEIN code was deactivated. 

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