spank fashion ad withdrawn after complaints.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.

Comments (13)

  • HowieSPM's picture
    HowieSPM

    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
    Dabitch

    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
    HowieSPM

    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
    Dabitch

    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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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.