By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @ NYCA
Seems there’s a double standard for the ladies with double Ds. Victoria’s Secret shows skinny girls in nothing much, and the world gawks. I do, too. I admit it. But when larger sized models do the same, they are told they are too sexy. I think that might be a triple standard. I went to the Lane Bryant web site to take a professional gander. But they’re being a tease and won’t let you see behind the scenes yet – they want you to come back for more. I won’t bother. They should have been quicker to pick up on their buzz like all the articles in the trades. There’s plenty of controversy and skin to look at other places. Timing has much to do with sex and selling.
The story reminds me of back in the day when I did a spot for Jean Naté. At the time it was a musty brand, a once-vibrant body splash. Revlon owned it and would only give us a tiny budget with a juicy goal of rejuvenating the pea-colored grandma-smelling liquid and make it sexy again so young girls would use it après bath. Suré. We took their footage, which was famous for years and years of women putting on the stuff, with their signature slap of refreshment. And then we did the naughty part of cutting to black between cuts, between splashes – making it feel like censor tape. We took the music tracks from the past and did a remix. It was just a demo really with some back art cards cut in. But two of the then-three networks wouldn’t run it. “Too suggestive,” they said. We showed them the original spots which they’d been running forever without the blacked-out parts and those were approvable. But when they couldn’t see something that they wanted to see, they would not let their viewers see it. You see.
It made news in the industry trades and was in the Enquirer, TV news. Showing less than what they had shown for 20 years made it hot and sexy. For a only moment. Grandma’ s smell just didn’t catch on with those young’uns (lesson: products have to live up to the hype).
The point is it’s all about the imagination. It was all in the network censors’ dirty minds. Good creative work plays with reality and perception; engages, sometimes enrages, challenges in order to sell. Now, brands do need to be careful that they are remaining true to themselves as they reach out and test boundaries. But they should always be testing. That’s how you grow. From their web site LB looks to be a respectable and respectful brand, as I have long known them to be. I just can’t imagine what the issue is with the spots. Likely they’ll have a poll to vote – is big sexier than waifs? Wonder what those network boys really want to see?
I say, come on, let the big girls play.