Match.com has issued an apology over adverts that appeared to suggest physical quirks such as freckles were an "imperfection".
The matchmaking website, which boasts three million members in the UK, ran into a PR nightmare when commuters on the London Underground caught sight of its latest campaign.
Using the slogan: "Love Your Imperfections", the adverts featured a close-up of a woman's freckled face, fringed by red hair.
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Another showed a man with different coloured eyes.
The posters were quickly accused of "body shaming" and attempting to capitalise on self-consciousness arising from unusual physical features.
The Advertising Standards Authority told The Guardian it had received about "half a dozen" complaints about the ads, but there was a far greater outcry on social media.
The dating site has now been forced to backtrack on its campaign and has issued an apology.
"Our adverts reveal common perceived imperfections and quirks of Brits – these include freckles which some people who have them may see as an imperfection. We think freckles are beautiful and our posters are designed to encourage everyone who has them to be proud," a spokesman for the company said.
"We're sorry if anyone has been offended by our latest ad – that was not our intention – but we're really encouraged to see so many people standing up for what makes them unique."
The company now plans to remove the billboards.
The Love Your Imperfections campaign had been well received until it switched its focus to physical appearance. Previous posters featured London-themed foibles featuring "Charlotte", who couldn't pronounce Marylebone, and "Mark", who never had his travel pass ready, the latter provoking good-natured ire from the capital's impatient commuters.
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