Saturday, March 19, 2011

American Apparel increases sleaze, decreases sales

I've had a problem with American Apparel's advertising for a LONG time. I always hold out hope that it will get better, because American Apparel does some pretty cool things, like not photoshopping the models in their ads, supporting the legalization of same-sex marriage, and not using sweatshops to produce their clothing. That's all very nice... but I can never understand why AA is so ethical in those areas, yet they spew out such exploitative, porn-like advertisements that over-sexualize young women.

Look at the selection of their most recent ads below. You’ll see more tits, ass and pubes than the clothing they actually sell. So what are the ads actually selling? The women have become the products, not the clothing. AA caters to a hipster clientele, and they’re selling the idea that half-naked women in passive, child-like positions are hip. If you want to be hip and trendy, strip down and become a docile object to be stared at.

It’s also interesting to note the inclusion of pubic hair in a couple of these ads. This is something I haven’t seen before in AA’s advertising, and I’ve been following it for years. Maybe AA felt they’d fully exploited tits and ass to their maximum potential, so they had to up their game by adding pubes.

Another departure from their traditional sleaze is the hand-drawn images. The black and white ads for cotton panties are particularly disturbing because the girls look about 16. We already know that the company's CEO, Dov Charney, loves barely-legal ladies, and is currently dealing with a lawsuit filed by a former employee who says that when she was 18 he forced her into sex and essentially held her prisoner for hours after she visited his Manhattan apartment in 2008. The lawsuit is the latest in a string accusing Charney of inappropriate sexual conduct with female employees.

AA seems to be ever-striving to create the most controversial and sleazy ads possible. Whenever I get riled up about AA, I question whether or not I should even post their offensive ads. By posting them and paying attention to them, I am ultimately giving them more exposure and hype, which may be exactly what the company wants. However, I feel that I have to post them because a lot of anti-American Apparel sentiment is brewing and more people are boycotting them due to their advertising, so I definitely want to add fuel to that fire.

The good news is that American Apparel might not be around much longer, as they are on the verge of bankruptcy and have now been slammed with yet another sex scandal.

Most of these images were brought to my attention by Copyranter,
an excellent blog about advertising and marketing.

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