Swedish brand apologizes after advertisement campaign in Australia prompts online backlash.

H&M, the Swedish fashion giant, has withdrawn an advertisement for school clothing after complaints it sexualized underage girls.

The advertising campaign launched in Australia featured two young girls in school uniforms with the caption, “Make those heads turn in H&M’s Back to School fashion”.

“We have removed this ad,” an H&M spokesperson said on Monday. “We are deeply sorry for the offense this has caused and we are looking into how we present campaigns going forward.”

The move comes after social media users accused the clothing brand of sexualizing young girls.

“The little girls’ parents generally prefer heads don’t ‘turn’ when others see their daughters walking to school, on a bus or in class,” Melinda Tankard Reist, an Australian writer known for campaigning against pornography, said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“Why would you want to fuel the idea that little girls should draw attention to their looks, bodies and ‘style’? Maybe have a word to your marketing team and come up with something that doesn’t draw attention to pre-pubescent girls already struggling to thrive in a culture that values ​​’lookism’ as an aspirational goal?”

The backlash is the latest in a series of controversies involving fashion brands’ advertising campaigns.

Last month, Zara dropped a campaign featuring a model standing among rubble and mannequins wrapped in shrouds after social media users claimed it was insensitive to victims of the war in Gaza.

Paris-based luxury fashion brand Balenciaga last year apologized for running advertisements that featured children holding teddy bears wearing bondage-style attire and a printout of a Supreme Court decision that upheld laws against child pornography.