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Updated January 23rd, 2024 at 01:24 IST

H&M Accused Of 'Sexualising' Kids In School Uniform Ad, Withdraws It After Facing Backlash

Fashion brand H&M recently released a school collection and suffered massive backlash for sexualising kids. They have now pulled down the ad with an apology.

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H&M | Image:X
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Fashion giant H&M recently faced significant backlash and subsequently withdrew a controversial advertisement promoting school uniforms amid accusations of sexualizing young children. According to the Independent, the campaign featured an image of two primary school-aged girls in pinafore dresses with the caption, "Make those heads turn in H&M's Back to School fashion."

Why did H&M recently face backlash?

The advertisement sparked outrage online with many deeming the caption "highly inappropriate" and expressing concerns about the portrayal of young girls. Internet users strongly criticised H&M for what they perceived as a failure in responsible advertising, especially when involving children.

Several comments highlighted the discomfort with the chosen phrase, "Make those heads turn," in conjunction with images of young girls in school uniforms. Users criticised the campaign for being tone-deaf and suggested it missed the mark on appropriateness for a back-to-school context.

The public outcry was evident on social media platforms with users describing the advertisement as "sickening" and accusing H&M of contributing to a culture that blends corporatism with inappropriate content. Calls for the removal of the ad and an investigation into its approval process were raised among dissatisfied consumers.

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H&M Back to School campaign | Image: X

H&M apologised after facing massive backlash

Responding to the controversy, H&M issued an apology and announced the withdrawal of the ad. The company expressed regret for any offence caused and pledged to review its approach to future campaigns. Mumsnet founder and CEO Justine Roberts commented on the incident and addressed the longstanding concerns about a sexualized culture affecting children. While acknowledging H&M's prompt response in removing the ad, Roberts talked about the need for proactive measures to prevent the recurrence of such inappropriate advertising.

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A similar incident happened last year when a Chinese-owned online marketplace Temu came under fire after launching an ad that sexualised a child. It showed a girl aged between eight to ten wearing a bikini that "was quite adult for a girl of her age”.

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Published January 22nd, 2024 at 23:58 IST

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