The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that a MAC cosmetics advertisement featuring singer Miley Cyrus should not be banned, despite complaints that it was ‘overtly sexual’. The billboards were to promote Cyrus’ Viva Glam range, which raised money for MAC’s AIDS fund.

Miley CyrusMiley Cyrus’ MAC ad was not overtly sexual, the ASA has ruled. 

In the campaign Cyrus is pictured wearing a low-cut bodysuit with her legs apart against a mirrored wall. Another poster showed a similar picture with the reflection of the singer’s crotch partially visible in the mirror.

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The ASA had received three complaints over the images, from members of the public who thought the adverts were overtly sexual and offensive. Two of the complaints added that the posters were unsuitable as they were likely to be seen by children.

But according to MAC, Cyrus was in a “confident pose” which was designed to draw the viewer to her confident and “defiant stare”. The cosmetics company also addressed concerns over the reflection of Cyrus’ crotch being visaile in the mirror, saying that the advert did not draw attention to that part of the singer’s body.

Ruling that the overall message of the posters was not ‘overtly sexual’ the ASA said, “While we considered that the images in all three posters were sexually suggestive, we concluded however, that they were not overtly sexual and unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.”

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The ASA also added that the images were of a type that should not be displayed within 100metres of a school, under its rules to combat the sexualisation of children. However MAC had complied with these rules and none of the posters were placed near schools, so therefore there was no need to reprimand the company.