News flash: sex sells. From bikini clad models promoting hamburgers to Victoria’s Secret babes working the runway, sexualized imagery can’t be escaped in mainstream advertising.
So why, then, did a commercial for underwear company Nasty Pig get pulled off the air after it had begun showing in the New York area on Time Warner Cable?
Here’s the ad:
Suggestive? Yes. Potentially offensive? Sure, but it raises the question — if it were equally sexual and heterocentric, would it still be on the air?
Gawker reports that an email exchange between TWC’s Media Sales Coverage department and Tara Wolf, whose Wolf Media Inc., handled the ad buy, reveals how the ad got pulled in the first place:
To: Tara Wolf
Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2014 11:26 AM
Subject: Re: Nasty Pig
I’ve been trying to call you to explain the situation. I got feed back yesterday but it’s not good.
This really got blown out of the water because we were running on networks that were not appropriate to run the spot on (Cartoon Network and TBS). It was flagged and now we’re refusing any revision to the original spot and will not run the spot on any networks.
I understand this is a very delicate situation and I apologize for the way it played out. Please call me if you need any clarification.
To: Tara Wolf
Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2014 11:49 AM
It’s the content that is the issue. If we were to use the old spot we used in November we wouldn’t have a problem. But the holiday spot is edgy, and we take customer complaints seriously. I apologize again. I know this puts you in a bad spot.
The ad was scheduled to run on TBS (during Big Bang Theory, Family Guy, and American Dad), Cartoon Network (during Family Guy and American Dad), Lifetime (during Project Runway), and Logo. After appearing four times on Logo, it was yanked due to “customer complaints,” though TWC did not offer any specific notes on how it could be revised to run as scheduled.
Gawker received this message from TWC after running their story:
Proper guidelines were not followed in this instance; we made a mistake. We are sorry and we will work with this client to make it right.
Here’s a straight ad from Dolce and Gabbana that didn’t raise any eyebrows: