Just weeks after riling up social conservatives with the irresponsible depiction of a mother having fun with her son, J.Crew is again taking the lead in the erosion of America’s moral fabric.
The brand’s latest culture grenade comes in the form of, prepare for it, a gay couple. As Jezebel reports “J.Crew’s Openly Gay Designer Threatens America’s Moral Fiber.” This affront to America’s families comes in the form of a catalog photo featuring two men who care deeply for one another with the caption ‘Happy together. Our designer Somsack and his boyfriend, Micah.'”
ABC News handles the latest J.Crew with typical reason, calling it (above) an “explicit ad” in a bid to stir up debate. As the site points out, the photo of the gay employee and his partner is part of a back-of-the-book spread buried in the new 135-page catalog.
Headlined as “Family Matters,” it also features “J.Crew’s in-house stylist with his 9-month-old son, bearded brothers, a designer with his dog and also the photographer’s African-American husband and their Asian daughter.”
Maybe J.Crew’s new boldness is a result of not worrying about shareholders to answer to? It was just March 1st that the brand was acquired by TPG Capital for $2.8 billion, representing a group of investors that includes CEO Mickey Drexler and president, creative director and toenail-painting momster Jenna Lyons.
As with the toe-painting tempest in a teacup, J.Crew has declined to comment (“A spokesperson for J. Crew told ABCNews.com that the company did not want to comment on what some saw as a new rainbow campaign”), but ABC’s web commenters have no such compunction.
One said, “Explicit? Not the best word that could have been used to describe everyday life… J Crew is supported rather well by our demographic and for those of us in the advertising world, I appreciate seeing advertising that speaks to me instead of the detached, disassociated, or completely irrelevant imagery which makes up the majority of advertising we see (and in my case, are forced to create) by those afraid to replicate life as it really is.
Another, less susinctly, asks, “Why is this even an issue? Does it really matter? Will we ever get over this crap?”
We couldn’t agree more. Ads featuring gay consumers are far from new, and really shouldn’t be an issue anymore. It’s already been a year since the hubbub over the gay McDonald’s ad. In fact, the only gay advertising that raises eyebrows now is Budweiser’s (maybe) gay military ad.
If J.Crew wants some real controversy, it’s already got it. The problem is that it is not the kind of “scandal” that’s a good brand builder.
As the Daily Mail reports, the estate of designer “Tony Duquette filed a lawsuit against J.Crew for unauthorised use of his ‘signature’ leopard print. (Not to be confused with the Daily Mail‘s other recent Royal Wedding-related feline fur scoop titled “Spotted, three unlucky women in leopard print.”)
Ironically, a far more controversial ad loads on ABC’s video feed after the segment on the page plays out, brought to you by online targeting, for a group called “Affirmation.”
Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons is an organization of men and women who “are no longer members of the LDS Church” but who nonetheless “celebrate being part of the great Mormon tradition.”
Now that’s a gay ad worth some controversy.