Is Gilly Hicks' Nude Ad Campaign Too Racy?

A nude ad campaign for a retail store popular with teen girls is raising eyebrows.

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Gilly Hicks’ ad campaign uses naked models, which has some parents questioning how appropriate it is considering its young demographic.

View: The ads and video on Gilly Hicks’ Web site

Terry from Natick is Curious:

“Why this is not considered pornography. Is this really appropriate? I don’t think so.”

The edgy store is fairly new.

In fact, the first Gilly Hicks in the United States opened at the Natick Collection.

It’s a trendy brand run by the same company as Abercrombie and Fitch – another name that has been criticized for sexy ads.

“When you put in nudity, you are going to attract teenagers,” said Boston University advertising professor Bobbi Clarke.

“At some point you have to say this has gone too far. You have to legislate this.”

Clarke says it’s marketing that makes money.

“The real demographic that they’re going after is going to look at anything that’s sexual,” Clarke said.

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What if parents don’t approve?

“When you say to a child don’t smoke, they smoke, don’t drink, they drink, don’t go to Abercrombie, they flocked to Abercrombie, and now they’re going to flock to Gilly Hicks,” Clarke said.

When asked what makes a video with nudity from the Gilly Hicks’ Web site attractive to teens and preteens, Clarke said, “Well, for one thing it is quasi-pornography, and it is suggestive that something else is going to happen.”

Because the ads are shown in such public places, some parents are raising red flags.

So what will it take to set boundaries in stores like Gilly Hicks?

Clarke said it can be done with legislation or a lawsuit.

Right now, Clarke says, nudity in ads is a gray area that needs to be better defined.

WBZ reached out to Gilly Hicks’ corporate headquarters to get its response to the criticism, but no calls were returned Tuesday night.

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