Dutch suit company Suitsupply has never shied away from controversy in its advertising, typically using lingerie-clad models to show-off its latest men’s fashions (check out B&T’s previous reporting here.)
However, when the company dabbled with same-sex imagery in its latest TVC unveiled last week, it probably wasn’t bargaining on the backlash it got from customers.
The latest social media campaign features male models kissing and holding hands as they model Suitsupply’s spring/summer 2018 threads around a stunning seaside mansion.
However, it appears fans of the fashion label were no fans of the ad, with 12,000 on Instagram “unfollowing” the brand following the launch of the campaign in late February. “Not everyone needs to be gay,” “this is disgusting” and the simple message “unfollowing” were some of the comments left on Suitsupply’s account.
Check out the offending ad below:
Images from the campaign on Suitsupply’s Facebook have also amassed over 600 comments, evenly split in their opinion of the daring campaign.
“Haha, loving all the people upset at two men kissing. Bet they wouldn’t be upset with two hot women kissing,” wrote one. While a contrary view added: “I was buying your suits for a local pastor I know. Not sure that I can continue to do that. Especially if you have this hanging up in your store. Congratulations on your beliefs but are you selling homosexuality or clothing?”
Others criticised the brand for commercialising the LGBTI community.
The brand’s suits typically cost $400 to $1,000, and there are over 100 branches around the world.
In October last year, the brand also launched a controversial campaign advertising its women’s range using naked men. Check it out here.
Not that Suitsupply’s CEO Fokke de Jong appears to be buying into the latest controversy, telling Business Insider: “We do not aim to and cannot control the reactions, however, the new followers and positive messages that have been prominent in our social media is a good indicator that this campaign has been well received and has impacted many people positively. It’s amazing what one kiss can do.” He also added that the campaign would not be shown in countries which are less tolerant of homosexuality, including Russia and the middle east.
The CEO adding: “The message of this campaign is love, attraction and passion. We are a fashion company and we sell clothes but it was not targeted to commercialise the gay community. It was to show the message of love and attraction stylised by Suitsupply.”