One out of every six women in the US has been the victim of a sexual assault. Elsewhere in the world, the statistics are even more appalling.
Yet advertisers often make light of sexual violence towards women. They disguise it as innuendo, humor, or artistic expression, and hope the shock factor will work promotional magic for their product.
Back in the Mad Men era it was unsurprising to see women treated poorly in ads.
But we’ve found some modern day promotions that glorify sexual violence. Some of the brands are repeat offenders; some are merely one-time gaffes.
Often, clients and agencies defend them as “edgy” fantasy scenarios.
Fair enough. But there sure are a lot of them. And so few involving violence against men …
The context: This is a famously bad old ad from the 1960s. Surely, nothing like this would be approved for paid media today?
Wrong! Dolce & Gabbana consistently tries to market itself as an “edgy” brand. This ad ran in Esquire. The company retracted it after people complained that it glamorized gang rape.
Calvin Klein is another brand that strives to be “daring” and is often chastised for its suggestive ads. This ad ran in Australia.