Thursday, March 08, 2007

Dolce & Gabbana Reluctantly Pulls Controversial Ad from Spain

Dolce & Gabbana are probably one of the best fashion design teams of our day, but why did they make such a poor and irresponsible business and advertising decison to produce and distribute an ad that looks to portray gang violence against a women? How insensitive were the decision makers who produced the ad? Dolce & Gabbana, the fashion designers and owners, the art director, photographer, stylists, hair and makeup artists--all--were a part of the shoot and no one had the nerve to say this was out of line? I've art directed fashion shoots myself. I know everyone looked at the images on the computer screen and thought they were sensational and congratulated each other on another work of art.

According to Brandweek, Stefano Gabbana, a partner in Dolce & Gabbana, indicated that the image represented an erotic dream or sexual game. Apparently the ad ran in Spain, but was withdrawn from the magazines when Spain's Women's Institute advocated for it's removal. Spain's Women's Institute, a branch of the labor ministry, said the ad "not only reduces women to a sexual object but the image sends the message that the use of force as a means to achieve subjugation is admissible."

More disturbing is that Gabbana said he would only pull the ad in Spain, because "they have shown themselves to be a bit backward," he was quoted as saying in the La Vanguardia newspaper.
According to the newspaper, Dolce & Gabbana defended the campaign as art "What has an artistic photo got to do with a real act? You would have to burn museums like the Louvre or the paintings of Caravaggio." Isn't he getting that a bit backward himself? These ads are not hanging in a museum. They may set out to create art, I surely can relate to that. But, they are still selling products and an image. Neither gang violence against women, nor an erotic sex dream should have a place in the global marketing of products, even though it often does. If a company has consumer groups and activists stating an ad looks to be promoting violence against women, perhaps it might be wise to remove the ad, minus the prima-dona attitude and discriminating commentary. A "we're sorry" might be better a business management tactic.

Spain's not the only country that wants the ad pulled. 13 Italian Senators demanded that the offensive ad be pulled as well. Sad thing though is that this ad is still getting plenty of free publicity and mileage, and Dolce & Gabbana are running other violent images in Britain. As long as violence sells movies, the nightly news, and products it will keep coming at us. Don't like it? Complain and don't buy it!