So we all know that some advertisements can cause huge dramas and end up getting pretty much FREE exposure because of the scandal? Think of that one TIME issue with the woman breastfeeding her kid.
Now, the advertisement that I want to talk about hasn’t really ‘blown up’ apart from in its own niche market. Rosea Posey, a Tumblr user, recently uploaded an image that got really popular. It features a young woman holding up her skirt and little markers running down her legs which indicate the lengths which her skirt can be, and depending on the length, the markers say “matronly”, “flirty”, “proper”, etc. It’s appropriately titled ‘Judgements’ because it shows that a woman’s clothing leaves her open to assumptions about her character.
Now, the advertisement then done by a lingerie brand called Curvy Kate posted the following image on their Facebook page without acknowledging the ‘inspiration’ behind it as well as trivialising quite a serious photograph and message. The image was taken down shortly after and CK posted an apology, but of course such a mistake is not easily forgiven. Many felt – myself included – that CK was completely in the wrong and immediately started posting abuse on their Facebook wall. Personally, I’m a big fan of Curvy Kate and so will admit that whilst what they did was wrong and a really bad move from their marketing team, we are all human and make mistakes.
I’m going to talk about the denotation and connotation of the Curvy Kate ad because that’s what we’re currently learning in my BCM110 class.
denotation – a literal meaning of the word (or image)
connotation – an association (emotional or otherwise) which the word (or image) evokes
The denotation of this advertisement is clear: it’s a cheeky ad that the lingerie company came out with to – firstly promote themselves, obviously – brighten their customer’s day (their Facebook page is really lovely and very body positive and they always post lovely things there as well as on their Twitter). When I saw it, I thought it was quite cute and it made me smile.
The connotation is a bit trickier. CK makes me think of rainbows and sunshine (yes really, I just LOVE them) so it obviously made me smile and laugh, but the resulting consequences were a bit darker than my first reaction. They wanted us to probably think about our skirt lengths and say “Oh, I’m flirty, woo!” and then go on about our day. Many people didn’t do that, so their marketing was a bit of a fail on that one.Whoops. It’s clear that they erased the more nasty titles, such as “slut” and “asking for it”.
In the end, CK did apologise for this ad and people DID calm their farms and moved on. This event was like a 2 on the Richter scale of Advertising Scandals, but it did affect me because I did lose some respect for CK and it made me think deeper about advertising, audiences and the reactions the ads can cause.