• Sweden's news in English
 
H&M burnt over super tan bikini campaign

H&M burnt over super tan bikini campaign

Published: 20 Sep 2012 09:16 GMT+02:00

“We regret if we have upset some of our customers; we only wanted to show our latest swimwear,” said Håcan Andersson, spokesman for H&M, to Aftonbladet.

The ads, part of an outdoor campaign displayed in Sweden and 43 other countries, showed a very tanned woman modelling H&M bikinis.

“The model in the swimwear campaign is called Isabeli Fontana and she is Brazilian, which means that she has a darker skin tone than most Europeans,” an H&M representative told The Local in May.

But since the campaign was launched, the Swedish Advertising Ombudsman (Reklamombudsmannen – RO) received seven complaints against the campaign, saying that it was sexist and discriminatory, that the model was too thin and that she was sporting an unhealthy tan.

The watchdog ultimately ruled that the campaign was neither sexist nor did it promote an unhealthy and skinny ideal body image.

However, the body did rap H&M for using a model that was too tan.

“It is widely known that an exaggerated exposure of the skin to radiation to the sun is bad and can lead to skin cancer. The advertisement shows an ideal through the model’s extremely tanned skin, which would be harmful to try to achieve,” the watchdog wrote in a statement.

The Swedish Cancer Society (Cancerfonden) in May blasted the advertisements.

"The clothing giant is creating, not least among young people, a beauty ideal that is deadly," the cancer society wrote in an opinion piece in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper at the time.

"Every year, more people die in Sweden of (skin cancer) than in traffic accidents, and the main cause is too much sunning," the group said.

Having been forced to make a formal apology at the time, H&M say they never intended to promote an unhealthy ideal.

However, according to Andersson, the company hasn't had any reactions in any of the other 43 countries where the campaign was launched.

“We will simply try to take this in ahead of the next campaign and next summer,” Andersson told Aftonbladet.

The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

09:45 September 20, 2012 by Abe L
Man, these companies must get tired of getting "slammed" or "burnt" over every ad they put out. These watchdogs have to much time and apparently to much money to make a big deal out of things that are not a big deal.

If an ad that doesn't live up to Sweden's utopian politically correct ideals then you get slammed. This isn't that far away from what countries such as China are doing.

The international beauty ideal doesn't only get promoted by H&M and if they want to stay in business then they fly with whatever the international fashion companies come up with.
11:07 September 20, 2012 by rramirez
This whole concept of "advertising police" is moronic and the people behind it are morons. I do not mean that euphamistically, they are literally morons.
11:10 September 20, 2012 by RobinHood
Marketing a product that encourages your customers to give themselves cancer has always been a challenge. Ask the tobacco industry.

I suspect, when it comes to tanning products (including bikinis), we are at the same stage the tobacco industry was back in the fifties. People are just now waking up to the idea that blasting yourself with UV is actually quite a dangerous thing to do, and that encouraging people to make themselves sick is immoral.
11:31 September 20, 2012 by Rishonim
The model is not too thin. Maybe the women complaining are too fat. Not because she is Brazilian should imply that her skin tone is darker than most European. Brazil has 200M people and many has extremely white boring skin just like here in Scandinavia.
11:31 September 20, 2012 by peecee_uk
The image would probably be better suited to advertising Creosote.
11:38 September 20, 2012 by hpunlimited
Ok so models have to have whiter skin. That pretty much rules out using olive skinned or african models in the future then. How you got darker skin is irrelevant, wether it is from tanning, birth or from photoshop. Because a picture is just a picture. It is not surprising considering the childrens movie with a dark skinned figure just got banned too for being racist. I guess anytthing showing dark skin is bad. Wether is is cancerous or racist :-)
12:31 September 20, 2012 by rise
*sigh* What's wrong with a super hot Brazilian? Does everyone has to have the look of a pale corpse like us Scandinavians?

You NEED the sun - regardless of whether your skin from birth happen to be green, black or white! How else are you going to get enough of the vitamin D? Sure you get vitmin D from eating fish, for example, but not nearly enough of the amount you need.

The dangers of lacking enough of vitamin D is not to be underestimated. One of the worst dangers is infertility. Many are the couples in Sweden whom are not able to get children together with each other - almost as many as 15%. And I think it's pretty safe to assume one of the reasons as of why is the lack of sun light - vitamin D - in so great a part of each year.

Oh, and nowadays, what do you NOT get cancer of? :P
14:30 September 20, 2012 by Uncle
Yepp. Models should not be skinny, not brown, not driving cars, not eating hamburgers, not smoking, not holding non ecological food, not using makeup, no skin or hair creams, not talking on cellohones, not drinkning coffee, not be too young, not use botox.

Models shall be saggy, middle aged mustached women, white as a printer page, preferably with pimples and puffed small watery eyes. They should have a messy hair, yellow teeth. Some eczema and a wart would not be too harmful to the selling image.

Then and ONLY then females in Sweden's advertising watchdog will not feel insulted and worried about the public health.
15:36 September 20, 2012 by josiahjohnson
What is crazy is the existance of this advertising ombudsman. Who is this person or group who is wasting their own time and other people's money? It sounds like someone who just likes throwing their own moral superiority around and telling other people what to do.

First, they monitor advertising?! Advertising?! With all the messaging that exists today through allmanner of print communications, electronic communications, movies, etc do these people really feel they will have any impact upon society via their monitoring of advertising? And in this case they responded to 7 complaints? Its just not serious. This watchdog is a silly, frivolous undertaking.

Is the ad sexist? Even if it is, who cares? You can watch American Pie movies on regular TV here. There's massive sexism on TV every day here, but that's free speech. Focusing on this one ad with all the greater sexism that exists is pointless and nothing more than self-indulgance by this watchdog.

Does this ad promote skin cancer? That's a huge stretch but read the Metro in its travel ads or go to any travel agency - with all the sun soaked vacations being promoted let's be serious about who's really culpable about encouraging sun exposure, if anyone's really culpable other than consumers.

This watchdog is not about achieving a better society, its about giving some unexceptional person a platform so they can indulge their own ego.
15:43 September 20, 2012 by Svensksmith
Stop it, Uncle. You're turning me on.
17:41 September 20, 2012 by Migga
@ Rishonim

Why is white skin boring?
18:00 September 20, 2012 by pcgomes
A Brazilian perspective over this:

Isabeli Fontana is indeed a very famous white Brazilian model. I am also a white Brazilian, and my skin color is naturally slightly darker than hers. But I have NEVER got tanned even closer to her tone on H&M's ad, despite being severely exposed to sunlight without sunblock.

The H&M excuse, that she is Brazilian (and supposedly all have such tan), doesn't hold AT ALL. People: just google her name, and check her pictures. She's very white, and could never get such tan naturally. If she's not covered with make-up, or the photo hasn't been photoshoped, then she indeed was exposed to unhealthy cancer-prune tanning sessions.
18:39 September 20, 2012 by Bushyblondehead
Tan looks blotchy.
19:19 September 20, 2012 by Hisingen
Why b****y well advertise at all, then the watchdogs will be out of a job.

They poke their noses in where it isn't wanted more often than not. It makes you think that they are from the advent of Lutheranism in Sweden, when skirts reached the ground, and you could hardly do or think anything. They make Mrs. Whitehouse seem VERY broadminded.
19:56 September 22, 2012 by Gjeebes
Since when do Swedes tan? Its usually a pick between bright white or bright red. And since when is there enough sun in Sweden to get a tan. Wake up you idiots!
15:34 September 24, 2012 by pcgomes
@Gjeebes: why calling other idiots? Not only it's rude, but your comment is flawed. Haven't you ever head of "solariums"? They're all over Sweden...
14:01 September 28, 2012 by SkipEU
It is just a picture and as everyone know most of them are manipulated. I can't believe people complain about everything.
Today's headlines
More Swedes take to the skies for Christmas 2014
Christmas elk lights in Stockholm. Photo: TT

More Swedes take to the skies for Christmas 2014

Swedes have shown a massively increased interest in travel this year, with up to 300,000 more people taking a flight over the Christmas period compared to last year. READ  

US-Swedish newspaper archive nears completion
Photo: The American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis (ASIM)

US-Swedish newspaper archive nears completion

The Swedish-language press flourished in the US in the late 19th century as Swedes moved in, and a new project to archive and digitize the wealth of historical material is set to go live in 2015. READ  

South-East Asian tsunami: Ten years on
The wave Sweden will never forget
Tsunami "Wall of Remembrance" in Mai Khao in northern Phuket. Photo: TT

The wave Sweden will never forget

The Local looks at how Swedes are remembering the tidal wave that shook South-East Asia exactly ten years ago, leaving 543 Swedes dead. READ  

Sweden's wild carnivore population on the rise
A family of lynx. Photo: Shutterstock.

Sweden's wild carnivore population on the rise

An extensive European study has found that the numbers of carnivorous animals are on the rise across the continent, with Sweden seeing a hike in the populations of bears, lynxes, wolves, and wolverines. READ  

Swedish parties in secret election talks: report
Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson. Photo: TT

Swedish parties in secret election talks: report

The government and opposition parties are reported to be conducting negotiations in a bid to avoid government chaos, putting the new March election in doubt, according to a media report. READ  

Swedish police warn of migrating elk herds
An elk, known as a moose in northern America, crosses the road. Photo: TT

Swedish police warn of migrating elk herds

Police in northern Sweden have urged holiday motorists to be careful after reports of unusually large herds of migrating elk. READ  

My Swedish Career
Meet the Italian sketching a new Swedish future
Filippo Vanzo. Photo: Private

Meet the Italian sketching a new Swedish future

For this week's My Swedish Career, The Local chats to Filippo Vanzo, a freelance illustrator who started to picture life in Stockholm after meeting his Swedish girlfriend online. READ  

Icy roads as Swedes head home for Christmas
Photo: TT

Icy roads as Swedes head home for Christmas

The Swedish weather agency has issued a warning for icy roads across the country as many city-dwellers head out to the countryside for Christmas. READ  

Bomb blasts rock Malmö's Rosengård
Photo: TT

Bomb blasts rock Malmö's Rosengård

Police suspect that a rental dispute is behind a twin explosion which rocked the area around Ramels Väg in the Rosengård area of Malmö over the weekend. READ  

Romanian beggar lands bumper lottery win
Photo: TT

Romanian beggar lands bumper lottery win

A Romanian man who slept under a bridge in a Swedish city and lived by begging recently landed a 210,000 kronor ($27,000) lottery win after buying a ticket on impulse, saying he now wants to build himself a house. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Video: The best & worst of Swedish Christmas
National
Second baby on the way for Princess Madeleine
Gallery
People-watching: December 20th - 21st
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: December 18th to 25th
National
'Unprecedented' Russian activity: Armed Forces
Blog updates

22 December

A Tale of Three Cities (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Today I am pleased to welcome a guest blogger on my blog, Sir David King, The..." READ »

 

19 December

-t or no -t? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! There are many things in the Swedish language that can give you a grey hair or two,..." READ »

 
 
 
Society
Interview: The Local chats with Melinda Gates
Society
VIDEO: Stockholmers try out some Swedish tongue twisters
Society
Eight things to do when it gets dark in Umeå
National
Inside Sweden's first 'light therapy' school
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: December 17th
Estelle through the years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Society
Why are there so many 100-year-olds in one Swedish town?
Society
Is it time to better celebrate Sweden's diverse identity?
Gallery
Property of the week: Huddinge
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
National
CATCH UP: Russian plane in Baltic near-miss drama
Lifestyle
How my compass drew me to Sweden
National
The man whose memory you need to remember
Gallery
People-watching: December 13th - 14th
Sponsored Article
How to get your own office anywhere in the world
Politics
'Our party will stand alone': Stefan Löfven
Society
The Local chats to Ruben Östlund, director of Golden Globe nominated Force Majeure
Lifestyle
Ten things to know before a Swedish party
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: December 12th to 19th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The 2014 Nobel Banquet
National
The Local's guide to the Nobel Prizes 2014
Education
Introducing... Education in Stockholm
Society
The Swedish Christmas market with a twist
Lifestyle
Why do so many Swedes have tattoos?
Society
Get 20% off Swedish Christmas decorations
National
Dewani family: We only heard half the story
Business & Money
Business in Stockholm: 'efficiency is money'
Gallery
Property of the week: Östermalm
National
Meet the Swedes hosting festive feasts for 'lonely' guests
Gallery
TIMELINE: Swedish honeymoon killing murder trial
Gallery
People-watching: December 7th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: What's it like to fly planes in Sweden?
National
Submarine hunters 'robbed' of reward cash
National
The Local's Countdown to Christmas
National
'Dangerous' USB charger recalled in Sweden
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's King and Queen wrap up France tour
National
Analysis: Should Snowden get asylum in Sweden?
National
Swedish schoolboy in female saint role row
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's political crisis unfolds
Sponsored Article
SIS: the thinking behind globalised learning
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Family life in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

837
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Counselling and Psychotherapy in English
Sometimes living in another culture can cause stress, confusion and feelings of sadness and loneliness. Talking to a professional psychotherapist/counsellor might help you. I am a UKCP Reg. psychotherapist. My practice is in Södermalm, Stockholm.
Contact me to discuss your options