H&M pulls school advert after complaints that it sexualises children 

H&M has been forced to pull a school advert with the slogan “make those heads turn” after claims that it sexualises children.

The fashion giant’s social media advert, aimed at the Australian market, featured two primary school-age girls wearing pinafore dressers and looking over their should towards the camera. 

The caption “make those heads turn” soon drew ire, and people were quick to slam the brand for what they dubbed the “shameful exploitation” of young children.

H&M has confirmed the advert, which was only published on Australian sites, has been removed and an apology issued.

In response to the Facebook advert, Metro.co.uk reported that Australian activist Melinda Tankard Reist wrote: “@hm @hmaustralia what is your intention with this sponsored Facebook ad?

“Little schoolgirls generally don’t want to ‘turn heads’. The large numbers I engage with in schools want to be left alone to learn and have fun.” 

On X/Twitter, comments under news of the advert being pulled are mixed, with one user writing that they “don’t see the ‘sexualised’” in the image. 

However, other users have slammed the ad as “totally unnecessary for kids clothing” and dubbed it “awful”.

One outraged user wrote: “Your vile ad panders to paedophiles that it’s OK lusting after girls. Boycott H&M. A shameful exploitation of girls.” 

H&M have now apologised and removed this advert, but haven’t yet addressed how anyone within the company came to show such appalling judgement in commissioning and signing off on it. The concept of “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” keeps glorifying paedophilia. @hm https://t.co/Mz3SsUMldA

— Polly James (@Mid_WifeCrisis) January 19, 2024

An apology and acknowledgment from H&M regarding the awful, sexualised advert of your primary school girls. https://t.co/3vG4bu7YjG

— Rebecca (@RumouredRebecca) January 19, 2024

A H&M spokesperson told PinkNews: “This ad has now been removed. We are deeply sorry for the offence this has caused and will look into how we present campaigns going forward.”

Australia’s advertising watchdog, Ad Standards, said a TV advert for Extra chewing gum featuring two women kissing was one of the most complained about of 2023. 

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