The ad on the Zazzle website advertised a children’s t-shirt featuring the label “Nothing Tastes As Good As Skinny Feels”, a motto that has been championed by supermodel Kate Moss.
Complainants said that the ad could cause harm to children because it implied being underweight was desirable and it might encourage children to develop an unhealthy body image.
The issue of marketing to children and what products are age-appropriate has come under the spotlight with the recent Bailey Review on commercialisation and sexualisation of Childhood.
Zazzle said that its platform was developed as an open marketplace for products designed by users. It does not pre-screen content before it is uploaded but has tools for users to report anything they find offensive.
It added that it restricted the designs so they did not appear on children’s clothing when contacted by the Advertisign Standards Authority (ASA).
The ASA said that at the time the ad appeared it featured children and that the slogan implied being underweight was desirable, so it could encourage unsafe diets or result in “physical, mental or moral” harm to children.