A railway track is no place for a child, at least according to the U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority.
The watchdog has banned a Prada ad featuring 14 year-old True Grit actress Hailee Steinfeld on the grounds that it shows a young child in a potentially unsafe situation.
The ad shows Ms. Steinfeld, wearing pieces from the retailer's Miu Miu line, sitting on a railway track all alone, ostensibly upset and wiping a tear from her eye.
The ad appeared in Tatler magazine. The ASA received a complaint on the grounds that the ad was suggestive of youth or teen suicide and might be seen by "impressionable" young people.
The ASA agreed with the retailer's response that Ms. Steinfeld's expression is meant to evoke wistfulness, not suicidal angst (you can't blame Prada for bad acting), and dismissed the initial complaint.
However, despite the fact that the ad shows Ms. Steinfeld in designer 1940s-inspired pieces sitting on a track with no train in sight, the ASA banned the ad because the child appears in a potentially life-threatening situation.
The retailer had responded that the shots, taken by photographer Bruce Weber, are meant to capture the actress in between the filming of takes for a movie. The ad is part of a serious and high-fashion campaign aimed at adult women, it added. Tatler and Prada both did not receive any complaints about the print.
Earlier this month, the ASA banned an ad featuring 17 year-old Dakota Fanning for a Marc Jacobs fragrance on the grounds that it sexualized a child.
What do you think? Is the ASA on target -- after all, a train could come at any moment? Was the initial complaint suggesting suicide more believable? Or does the ASA just need to lighten up? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.