Remember the days when Michael Jordan was the face of Hanes, the tagless underwear? Hell, remember Michael Jordan? Well, never mind if you remember either him or that ad because those days of “Look who we’ve got our Hanes on now” are gone, baby, gone. Cuba Gooding Jr. isn’t running around trying to hug Michael, nor are Matthew Perry and Kevin Bacon trying to out-cool him (as if). Instead, these are the days of the so-called “Lipstick” campaign, designed by the Bombay branch of advertising behemoth McCann Erickson.
The new tag reads: “Hanes. Because the world gives you enough labels” and the following images appear:
As you can imagine, reactions have been mixed thus far. Those that have liked it, have really liked it but wonder if this is something more suited to an activist campaign than, you know, an underwear company. Those that have hated it, really can’t stand it.
Joe.My.God, where the readers seem to have overwhelmingly liked the ad, says he wonders if the gay press would allow an ad with the word “faggot” (the use of which lost Isaiah Washington his job on Grey’s Anatomy) to appear in America. And let’s not even talk about the word “nigger”. I suppose “Paki” being more a British thing would have been unwelcome but less of a hassle? But his readers brought up a far more interesting angle: if this ad does appear in America (or elsewhere for that matter), should it appear in the mainstream press for the straights to ponder or in the LGBT media for the community to “get it”?
Because, as the readers at Towleroad have pointed out, this is an ad that could possibly hoodwink some poor mentally challenged bigot into thinking that Hanes supports his/her bigotry. I’d like to think that we live in a world where people aren’t yet stupid enough to not put the words in context with the big picture, but I’m being constantly disappointed, so who knows? It’s entirely possible that someone might be so transfixed by all the pretty colors that they missed out on everything but the giant letters.
Meanwhile Trendhunter, one of the people who really loathed it, brings up an interesting point:
The concept of tags might be a smart idea, playing on the social tags to promote tagless undies is very creative. But, in my opinion, this is a stupid delivery! I believe the mere use of such hateful tags to promote underwear is a foolish, immature and cheap way to garner publicity for this controversial campaign, but they go even further with illustrations and slogans that make matters worse…Such a campaign would never be approved in Europe or America, where the use of such hateful references is a big ‘No No’, even when you are trying to use it in a positive light.
Which makes me wonder: really? Would it be considered a “yes-yes” to publish say that third one, an ad that calls Muslims pigs, in India even for a positive purpose? If people think this ad might be misinterpreted as something that endorses bigotry in America or Europe or is an unsubtle attention-grabbing ploy, then they should give India “Land of Hurt Sentiments” a try to fully appreciate its scope.