Rape jokes don’t sell
Philip Ellison 03 December, 2015
I have some shocking news for you; making a rape joke in your ad campaign is a bad idea. Who knew? Not Singaporean fashion brand SuperGurl, that’s for sure.
On a landing page which advertised its Black Friday sale, SuperGurl included a call to action button which invited shoppers to take advantage of their reduced prices using the slogan; “Rape Us Now.” Naturally, the brand’s female customer base was furious. But how did a company that markets products to women make such a grave error in judgement in the first place?
In a Facebook apology, SuperGurl’s creative director Jordus Kim blames the incident on a lower-level employee. “As the director of the company, I have failed to review my graphic designer’s work before approving the image to be displayed on our site,” he says. “I hereby acknowledge that we have made a mistake, and that our caption does not advocate the right values to the young women community today.”
This isn’t merely an isolated blunder by a small brand. When Bloomingdale’s unveiled its Christmas campaign, it was met with universal outrage. The full page ad depicts a man glancing at his female companion, with the caption; “Spike your best friend’s eggnog when they’re not looking.”
Again, what the hell? Bloomingdale’s promptly apologised, but was unable to immediately pull the ad as it was in print. “In reflection of recent feedback, the copy we used in our recent catalogue was inappropriate and in poor taste,” stated a spokeswoman.
Which begs the question; why do brands require our “feedback” in order to realise these kinds of messages just aren’t appropriate in 2015?