Big Ideas from a Small World

Why you need an advertising agency. American Apparel & The New Nude

Posted in Global Outlook, Method to the Madness by Ryan Thomas on March 10, 2009

The Following is a kind of NSFW Post:

I hate having to write that – this post contains no graphic violence or no use of strong language like “right wing”. It does on the other hand contain semi-clothed people.

I’m a firm believer that everyone needs to lighten up about sexuality. It’s an honest and playful part of the human experience – and frankly the world would be a lot less of a messed up place if more people we’re comfortable with it.

Sexuality in advertising on the other hand is a gray area. Strategically used in a way that honestly represents your brand it can almost seem wholesome.

Click to view Video. Contains Nudity.

Click to view Video. Contains Nudity.

This is a smart use of nudity to prove a point, to generate talk value and yes, titillate consumers – but it also somehow feels right. Not creepy or aggressive, and by no means is it trying to sell you an unhealthy body image.

Above all Elave’s advertising agency drove home a message – Nothing to Hide. When Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand created this spot with that single selling message in mind, they added value to the brand. That’s why you hire an agency.

Which brings us to today.

American Apparel has launched a new series of web banners:

Reverse Cowgirl has the ads in all their glory.

Reverse Cowgirl has the ads in all their glory.

What bothers me is not the use of nudity. Heck, writing this post was an excuse to thumb though images of naked ladies.

What bothers me is that it lacks SELL, it lacks ZING, it forgets that consumers are more then just their sexuality. If nudity is part of your pitch, fine – but sell me on your product, and sell hard because you don’t want to get upstaged by a perfect pair of b-cups.

If this “the only logical next step in the evermore controversial ads that make up American Apparel’s marketing strategy” as the blog MashKulture put it. I worry about the next step, when Dov Charney comes to your house and has crawls into bed naked with you and whispers “buy my hipster crap”.

Here is an old SNL clip when he was sued for sexual harrasment. (Click)

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One Response

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  1. […] truly entered a wondrous age. Thanks in part to brands like American Apparel, Axe, and many others hypersexualized television spots are drawing far less criticism then spots about […]


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