Hailee Steinfeld Miu Miu Ad Banned by ASA

There is always plenty of talk about how advertisements in the fashion industry influence their viewers, and it usually revolves around the same things: the ads are too sexual, the models are too skinny, or the ad is just all around too offensive. So I was a little surprised, and albeit slightly amused when I first saw this over Thanksgiving break about young Hailee Steifeld’s Miu Miu ad being banned in the UK by their Advertising Standards Authority, who claimed that the photograph is “irresponsible” because she is a (14 year-old) ‘child’ sitting on some railroad tracks dressed in a very expensive, high-fashion wardrobe.

Some ads elicit an immediate shock or awe for various reasons. As stated in a few previous posts, some are just guilty of terrible Photoshoping or using disturbingly skinny models. Others push the envelope when it comes to promiscuity and sexuality, ala American Apparel or Tom Ford. When I saw the headline for the article and then saw the photo it wasn’t immediately clear to me exactly what the problem was with the ad. I mean, I guess I get it: she’s sitting on the tracks (though unrestrained) and she may or may not be wiping away a single tear. Does she want a train to come and run over her because her life is in shambles? Because for a fourteen year-old who’s pondering suicide, a fashion magazine running this ad would probably be their last source for information on how to do so.

Fashionista.com had a funny response to the ban, showing different campaigns that could also be deemed “unsafe” on the same grounds as Miu Miu:

Karlie Kloss for Oscar de la Renta: I mean, a car could come out of that garage at any moment.

Marion Cotillard for Dior: While impressive, climbing the Eiffel Tower in heels while carrying a handbag is probably not a great idea.

Daphne Groeneveld and Anaïs Pouiliot for Louis Vuitton: Ever heard of a seatbelt?

Sisley: Doesn’t this make you want to do drugs?

The funny thing is that while some brands go out of their way to walk the fine line between edgy and offensive for the sake of stirring up some controversy, I think Miu Miu was merely just aiming for a campaign with beautiful photos portraying a mundane story. At the end of the day, however, there’s no such thing as bad press. How many people would have taken the time to observe and scrutinize this fairly plain ad? Because of all the press this has been getting, thousands of people across the globe who would have never even picked up a fashion magazine in the first place suddenly are acquainted with this image, but more importantly with Miu Miu.

Photos & captions from fashionista.com


2 responses to “Hailee Steinfeld Miu Miu Ad Banned by ASA

  1. I like the ads that push the limit and really make you think, even if they are funny. I do not understand why people can be so critical over some ads because it is a work of art that the photographer and designer have created. If everything was conservative and in your face, it would be uninteresting. The first two examples that you show are amazing shots. It surprises me that people have a problem with them. Anyone who has been taught wrong from right will know not to sit on a railway and stand in front of a garage.
    This topic is similar to what I was saying about the model Andrej Pejic who did a shoot for Jez Smith which was controversial because Pejic is a man who is posing as a woman with her shirt off. Although Pejic is flat chested people didn’t like it because it was suggestive.

  2. stephaniedjesus

    I think it is pretty hilarious how this image was called ‘irresponsible’ and how Fashionista.com brilliantly responded to the ban. There are multiple Fashion Ads that present very extreme ideas, but to categorize this Miu Miu one as one of them is in my opinion, going too far. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t have known this picture was irresponsible either hadn’t I read that it sparked controversy among viewers. I agree with what you think about Miu Miu simply aiming for a story or a beautiful background setting that would expose the clothes properly. There are worse ads out there, exposing a bad case of photoshop, tiny models who don’t eat, people doing drugs and then this one falls into that category…? Either way, just as you mentioned, either good or bad receptions of it, it creates a buzz around the world, thus giving Miu Miu more exposure.

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