spank fashion ad withdrawn after complaints.


WE sweden are in trouble for the way they advertise their underwear. While the men's packaging shows a overweight hairy man, the woman's packaging shows a girl's bottom still red after being freshly spanked.
So far six eloquent complaints have been filed with ERK (ethical advisory board in advertising) prompting the company to remove the spanked image. Greger Hagelin, CEO for WE, defends the image with "we're a skater brand, the idea was that the girl might have fallen off a skateboard."

wanna see images? well then, read more.

The ad and image for packaging of womens underwear. Note the red part is shaped very much like a hand. Or am I dreaming?

The ad and image for packaging of mens underwear.

Aftonbladet in Sweden asked Greger Hagelin why the images for mens and womens underwear are so different, to which he responded:
"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."

He also says: "We have decided not to use these ads any more, and next week we'll recall the packaging that carries this image".

WE also has another packaging image for girls underwear depicting a girl with her hand inside her panties - polishing the pearl - WE has no plans on pulling that packaging yet.

WE also has "activists" that represent their brand. One of their big names is Jason Lee of Chasing Amy/Dogma/Vanilla Sky Hollywood and skater fame. We've not been able to call Jason and ask what he thinks of the ads. ;)

ps - We International (Sweden that is) should not be confused with We Europe (origin Holland) - formely known as "Hij" (him) and "Zij" (her) - despite both clothing companies being named WE in 1999.

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Comments (13)

  • mochazina's picture

    lame. lame. lame. lame.

    I liked the mens poster. I doubt sk8terboys would though. Is it a tradition in Swedish advertising to just burp up ideas and not consider the target? How about making inconsistent campaigns? these two "ideas" are completly unrelated.

    Oct 28, 2003
  • blabla's picture

    To add insult to injury (ha!) the butt looks like a
    1973 jesus jeans ad-ass, shot by oliviero toscani.

    (Toscani shot a similar ass for fiorucci in the 70's too)

    So the whole butt thing is, like so done guys.

    Oct 28, 2003
  • caffeinegoddess's picture

    Maybe it's just me but I don't like either one of these ads. I don't need to see a guy sticking his fingers through the "pee" hole of his undergarments. And the spanking...erm...I mean "skat8boarder incident" ad, *cough*, really doesn't make me want to buy their product either. Seems like a PR plot ad to me *donning tinfoil hat*. ;)

    Oct 29, 2003
  • Dabitch's picture

    is that whats he's doing? I thought he was just scratching his balls. ;)

    Oct 29, 2003
  • StormBear's picture

    I am sooo not buying the skateboard abrasion thing. Looking at the ad, you can clearly see the image of tha right hand in the reddened skin.


    Oct 29, 2003
  • blad's picture

    maybe her hand was between the concrete and her backside, still very bad taste and not that clever.

    Mar 01, 2004
  • HowieSPM's picture

    Anytime the moral police get involved I cringe. The female is no different than American Apparel Ads in the US.

    I think WE made the mistake if they are a 'Skater' brand and that is their claim, it shows a woman Skateboarder who fell, then they are out of their minds. Because neither Ad will resonate with the Skater community. In fact I give them a big fat Zero if their target audience is Skateboarders.

    Whenever someone says 'I meant it this way, and had no clue others would look at it differently' is usually 100% lying.

    Sep 07, 2010
  • Dabitch's picture

    This ad was banned in 2003, was American Apparel ads making their porny stuff already back then? When did that company form anyway? I am blissfully ignorant.

    And yeah, the "she fell" thing is a running joke.

    Sep 07, 2010
  • HowieSPM's picture

    American Apparel goes back to before 2003. They are possibly going under as we speak. They were very successful selling high quality, made in los angeles, underwear and t-shirts. The CEO slept with his staff and claimed as long as they do so voluntarily it was legal. And the ads always caused a stir. Often the female models looked teenage and often they were! They would put them on billboards and always draw complaints.

    But they ran into 2 problems in the last 2 years. 1] They expanded way to fast for revenues to support. 2] the ICE did a raid and he lost half his workers for being illegal workers.

    The irony of my last point is instead of running a sweatshop, he paid above market wages and full healthcare in his factory. The workers who got deported all averaged many years working there. Typical example.

    Sep 07, 2010
  • Dabitch's picture

    Yes, I'm well aware of what the AA ads looks like (we've only posted a few examples here that were actually banned by advertising watchdogs, rather than every single iffy one because man, that's every image isn't it?). I thought they were going under because of the retail shops, AA shops have mushroomed all around recently (we have them too, but I never go in out of principal). It's a bit of a shame that the one sweatshop with legal wages and a decent standard of quality goods might be going under due to stupid expansion, but then again, maybe we'll not have to see these ads anymore.

    Sep 07, 2010

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