Swedish retail giant H&M has apologized for using a deeply tanned model to show off its latest swimwear collection.
The advertisements featuring Brazilian model Isabeli Fontana wearing brightly colored swimsuits have appeared on billboards in Europe and on the company’s website, angering skin cancer experts who say the ads are sending the wrong message to young women, the Daily Mail reported today.
"We are sorry if we have upset anyone with our latest swimwear campaign. It was not our intention to show off a specific ideal or to encourage dangerous behavior, but was instead to show off our latest summer collection," the company said in an email sent to Agence France-Presse.
"We have taken note of the views and will continue to discuss this internally ahead of future campaigns," it added.
The Daily Mail quoted Ralph Braun, a doctor at the Early Skin Cancer Centre at Zurich University Hospital, as saying: 'I find this advertisement very alarming and borderline."
The advertisements featuring Fontana were still on the company’s website at the time of publishing this story.
Celebrity and gossip website Jezebel pointed out that Fontana is not naturally that tanned.
Jezebel published a photo of a bronzed Fontana wearing a bright pink bikini for the latest H&M campaign, and another photo of a significantly lighter colored Fontana posing in underwear for an earlier H&M ad.
“Note to H&M: if you like the way your swimsuit colors 'pop' against darker skin tones, these days they have models who naturally have those skin tones. At nearly all of the major agencies! Maybe hire them?” Jezebel wrote.
More from GlobalPost: Mom says 5-year-old child tanning incident 'a misunderstanding' (VIDEO)