If you've been an AdLand visitor for a while you might remember Dab's post about WE Sweden's spank fashion ad that was withdrawn after complaints. Well, when I read about this distrubing bit of news regarding a game for the Young Designers Emporium today I thought I was having a flashback to 2003.
Here is the woman version of the ad which Greger Hagelin, CEO for WE, defended with "we're a skater brand, the idea was that the girl might have fallen off a skateboard." Yeah right. And there's the devil skating to work.
And of course the WE Men's advert was much less brutal. Greger Hagelin said the reason why the ads were so different was because "we wanted to do something different that caught peoples eye, we wanted to do something similar with the girls, but unfortunately no rounder models were interested." Uh, yeah. That's it.
So what's with this new spank ad? Well, it's not an ad so much as it's an online "game". And that might just make it worse.
Young Designers Emporium's new advertising campaign, which features an Internet game where points are scored by the number of times a woman is spanked and bruised, has caused outrage among women's right groups. The campaign promotes YDE's "brand spanking new" clothing range and shows the buttocks of a woman in panties being paddled.
Each shot results in a bruise and players must beat her as many times as possible within 20 seconds to achieve a winning score.
Cindy Celliers, of the National Institute for Crime Prevention and Reintegration of Offenders (Nicro), said she was "shocked" by the campaign.
"My first thought was that we live in a country where one woman dies at the hands of a partner every six hours. For a shop that young women and men look up to, to be sending a message that it's okay to beat a woman and to make it glamorous, is wrong."
She said the campaign might be presented as a joke but the game resulted in bruising a woman, which is "not funny. It contributes to the notion that domestic violence against women is acceptable."
How the hell anyone would find this amusing or funny is beyond me. Hopefully South Africa's ASA will take the appropriate measures, but they are saying they cannot speak about the campaign until offical complaints were made and investigated.
Abuse of women is not an uncommon thing around the world. As Africa Media Group's "Sportsman" ad from Tanzania shows, the issues brought up are the same no matter if you're in Africa or in New York City.
To make light of something so serious is to have your head up your ass. I have to wonder when the line at the start of the "game" was added which reads "YDE is completely opposed to any form of abuse or violence against women or men." Was it added after or before the story went to press? And as "Illitha Labantu's advocacy manager, Mary Magdalene Tal, said having the advertisement on the Internet was particularly bad as it degraded women internationally."
Which begs the question, if the WE Sweden spank ads were pulled because the ERK ,the ethical advising group against sexist advertising in Sweden, 'convicted' the ad with the motivation: The ad passes the line of what is acceptable and is insulting to women in general. This goes against the ICC - International code of advertising practice. So if this is the case with a print ad using the same subject as this game which has the potential to be seen by a world wide audience, one would have to assume that if complaints are filed (which we can't imagine that they wouldn't be), that it would have to follow suit along the same lines.