Dating website Match.com has been forced to apologise after launching a poster campaign which suggested red hair and freckles were "imperfections".
The advert, which has sprung up at stations across the London Underground, was condemned online for trying to "shame" people about their image.
It features a freckly girl with red hair and the caption: "If you don't like your imperfections, someone else will."
Following a wave of complaints from offended commuters on Twitter, the company confirmed it was taking steps to remove the poster.
One user, Katharine Longworth, tweeted: "Freckles? Imperfections? Really?! Another way to shame appearance!"
Another person, posting under the name Pammiegee, said: "Disgraceful! Freckles are a sign of beauty! How to alienate half the UK!"
Before long, pictures began to materialise of amendments passers-by had made to the poster, including the addition of a note which read: "This isn't an imperfection, it's a skin tone."
Match.com issued a statement apologising for any offence caused and insisting it felt freckles were "beautiful".
It said: "We have taken note of the response about our advert concerning freckles. Following this feedback, we are in discussions with our relevant partners about removing these posters as soon as possible.
"We believe freckles are beautiful. The intention of our 'Love Your Imperfections' campaign is to focus on the quirks and idiosyncrasies that people wrongly perceive to be imperfections – this can include freckles, a feature that is sometimes seen as an imperfection by people who have them.
"We're sorry if this ad has been interpreted in a different way and we apologise for any offence caused, this was not our intention."
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) said it had received around a dozen complaints about the advert.
A spokesman said: "We're currently carefully assessing the complaints to establish if there appear to be any grounds for action. We haven't, as yet, launched an investigation."