A woman poses with a smartphone showing the Boohoo app in front of the Boohoo logo on display. File / Reuters
The watchdog said the ad was irresponsible and likely to cause serious offence, noting that neither the partial nudity nor the bikini bottoms were relevant to the product and that the images did not show the product as it would usually be worn.
In a statement, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) added that one of the images in a series of poses in the listing were "sexually suggestive," and another emphasised the model's exposed skin rather than the product.
The rise of a new breed of celebrities called social media influencers using apps like Instagram and TikTok to promote products has raised concern about body image issues among young people who consume heavily-edited virtual versions of their idols.
London-listed Boohoo, which has sought to improve its reputation after negative publicity over supply chain failings, told ASA that the images were part of its swimwear category and this was why the model wearing the T-shirt was in a bikini.
"We are disappointed by the findings of this ruling...Our marketing reflects the vibrant and confident culture of our brand and is designed to empower, not to intentionally cause offence," a spokesperson for Boohoo, which also owns the PrettyLittleThing, Nasty Gal and MissPap brands, told Reuters.
"We removed the associated images from our website when we received details of the complaint from the ASA."
ASA said: "We told Boohoo.com UK Ltd to ensure that future ads were prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society and that they did not cause serious or widespread offence or harm by objectifying women."
It was the second time in less than three years that the Manchester-based company came under fire over its ads. In 2019 ASA ruled that a reference to "send nudes" on Boohoo's marketing e-mail was socially irresponsible and breached its code.
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