Shocking & Scandalous Fashion Adverts

Fashion Advertising campaigns are becoming more innovative and taking even bigger risks, to reach an even stronger ‘buzz’. Many brands are taking controversial risks while others are successfully pulling out all of their creative brains to create an everlasting impact on the consumer’s mind.


Taboo connotations

Reebook's controversial_advertSeasonal advertising campaigns are certainly here to stay and are a clear depiction of the brand’s image for that specific season, as well as following seasons. The seasonal advertising campaign is a clear and fluid image of the brand across a vast range of communication channels. But what are sweeping the advertising landscape are controversial adverts used to spark attention, negative or positive the brand’s name is seen and never forgotten. Controversy is often stimulated by taboo type activities, indulging into the forbidden, almost always creates chatter. Reebok recently unleashed the taboo in them, according to Business Insider. “The general public was less than thrilled when the athletic shoe/apparel company released a poster with the motivational message: Cheat on your girlfriend, not on your workout.” Offensive and certainly not so clever, looks like that was a game over strategy on Reebok.



Caution: Sense of Humor needed

Harvey_Nichols controversial advertNot only do seasonal campaigns exist but also sales campaigns are gaining a strong reputation and visibility to promote, create buzz and awareness on upcoming sales. Most recently, Harvey Nichols sparked attention with their “Try to contain your excitement” campaign. An article in the Huffington Post by Sara Nelson stated, “The upmarket UK-based store appears to be implying its reductions are so drastic, we’re likely to lose control of our bladders.” The campaign has received mixed reviews with many consumers, becoming completely turned off from the department store, while others see it as a bit of tongue-in-cheek spirit. It certainly changes consumer’s thoughts on the brand image and well the idea was quite cheeky.

american_apparel_controversial Sandy_adRetail outlets typically host sales in order to rotate seasonal merchandise, however, sales may also be triggered, when media is buzzing. American Apparel bound themselves to just that strategy during Hurricane Sandy in the U.S. “Franken Storm, Franken Sale” was the tagline and the message read, “In case you’re bored during the storm, just enter sandysale at checkout.” The sale was limited to those in the areas affected and once it hit media outlets, the blogosphere was certainly conversing. According to Business Week, CEO of Dov Charney stated, “Each blogger or Twitterer eggs on the other, and it becomes a big deal. That doesn’t represent the majority of the people.” It looks like the blogosphere had nothing better to do but to talk smack, secretly wishing they could shop on that sale. According to Mr. Charney, “People shopped on it. We generated tens of thousands of dollars from the sale.” 


As we have seen advertising campaigns are pushing their limits with cheeky connotations or perhaps some are just too taboo for mass communication channels. Overall consumers are quick to argue and rebel against the controversial messages. Secretly consumers all love a taboo message or correlation, but perhaps many of the adverts have just gotten to scandalous to be viewed in public.