Her shirt says “love” not “hate.”
Apparently, this seemingly benign ad for GapKids elicited a shit storm on social media, critics from hither and yon claiming it racist on account of a white girl leaning on a black child’s head.
That scores of people expressed their displeasure over the image shouldn’t surprise any of us. The world is very, very sensitive right now. Putin. Trump. Obama. Black Lives Matter. The Occupy Movement. The Big Short. Domestic Abuse. Radical Islam. Terrorism. Right Wing. Left Wing. Police brutality. Syria. Refugees. I could free associate reasons on why we’ve become so mercurial and still be just scratching the surface.
But this uproar? Come on, people. That ad is about as racist as your average 11-year-old girl, which is to say, not at all. The kids were posing for a photograph. You put my daughters on a stage with a big time photographer they’ll do the same thing.
And to overblow the matter even more, Gap issued an apology. So unwarranted. If ever a client was respectful to multiculturalism, it’s this one. Gap and Gap Kids have long been vanguards when it comes to diversity in their casting. At least that’s been my observation.
Why isn’t the interpretation that the white child is leaning on a friend? As opposed to something foul like demeaning a black girl? Methinks latent racism exists in the eyes of the beholder. They see evil because they want to see evil.
Why stop at racism? The two other girl’s poses are –gasp- sexual. Are they not? Legs spread wide like that – for shame! And what about the exploitation of children in general? Shouldn’t these kids be in school? And where were those inappropriately tight-fitting clothes made – a sweat shop in China?
Enough is enough.Does racism exist in the world. Absolutely. In this ad? Absolutely not. Moralizing the crap out of a silly photograph like this goes too far.
Update: On top of everything else the two children in question are adopted sisters! http://www.fastcocreate.com/3058611/gap-apologizes-for-kids-ad-controversy-swaps-image
April 1, 2016
Time for a new campaign…
The headline in AdAge: “Miller Coors Distributors nix planned Leinenkugel’s campaign.”
It’s a story as old as the advertising business, though less common now than it was in the 80’s, when distributors, wholesalers and franchisees held significant power over even CMO’s. And no categories felt it more than QSR (fast food) and spirits, especially beer. (Car dealers had their own version but that’s another story.)
Silverbacks and students of Adland might remember the burger and beer wars. Rivals like Burger King and McDonald’s duked it out for market share, often quite publicly. Ad Agencies battled for their client’s supremacy like the loyal henchmen they were. And with Mafioso bravado, if a brand teetered from it’s position, the agency’s campaign and its creators were the first to get whacked. In this way, agencies became heated rivals as much as the companies they represented.
Fighting over AOR status for one of these clients was equally vitriolic. Back in the day, DDB and Leo Burnett fought ceaselessly over the McDonald’s account. Anheuser Busch pitted its agencies against one another for sport. In both cases, ketchup and beer spilled like blood.
Here we have a remnant of that skullduggery. My guess is the distributors wanted a more predictable, macho approach to “their commercials” than what San Francisco shop, Venables & Partners came up with, which features a quirky group of Wisconsinites playing an impromptu version of Boston’s “More than a Feeling” on a lakeshore up north in the Dairy State. The tag: “Welcome to the Leinie Side.” (You can watch the commercial in the AdAge Article here. )
Is it the best commercial ever? No. But it has an understated, shaggy charm that I think fits the brand to a “T.” I like the spot. Moreover, I think young adults would have to. If Leinie’s mission, under the glaring watch of Miller Coors, was and is to expand the brand’s popularity nationwide this funky take on Wisconsin hipsters (such as they are) probably makes a lot of sense. The spot has a light touch. And, who, if only secretly, doesn’t love Boston?
I’m guessing the Goombah wholesalers demanded hotter chicks, more jocks, and club music. That or a blue collar Wisconsin, more about hunting, fishing and campfires – a linear evolution of the family heritage campaigns Leinenkugal’s did for years before selling (out) to Miller Coors.
Rightly or wrongly, the dealers won. We can only morbidly wait to see their “fix.” It’ll probably look a lot like this:
An older spot, ripe with obvious…