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    Balenciaga needs to do more than apologize for its children holding bondage bears ad- HindiNewsWala


    The headlines this week read like Mad Libs from QAnon.

    I don’t understand the creative juices that power ads in luxury fashion. Half the time I don’t even know what they’re trying to sell me: There’s a shirtless stud with a Samurai sword straddling a bar stool with backwards numbers tattooed on his forehead and, oh, behind that bottle of bourbon, is that a wingtip brogue?

    The only rule in the marketing of luxury fashion is there are no rules.

    After this week, it’s time for a change.

    Balenciaga is under fire for a creepy campaign that, in the words of one Mad Libs headline, featured “children holding bondage bears.” I sighed. And sighed again.

    On Thursday, TMZ published side-by-side images of the two controversial ads. Young girls are standing on sofas and holding plush toys that appear to have just left a BDSM club on Sesame Street run by dominatrix Mrs. Crustworthy.

    As TMZ noted of this Balenciaga brouhaha: “The luxury fashion brand rolled out the shocking ads for its spring 2023 collection. The photos depicted children gripping teddy bears clad in S&M gear, and quickly started going viral.”

    It’s hard to do a proper visual analysis because Balenciaga has taken a digital blowtorch to the ads. They have vanished from the ether. In fact, as of Thursday, I couldn’t find any images on the company’s Instagram account.

    Talk about scrubbing a crime scene.

    But beyond mixing kiddies and bondage bears, there was another detail that was deeply unnerving. As NBC reported, there was a prop in one ad, a sheaf of court documents that “appeared to show an excerpt from a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court case that upheld federal statutes on pornography that includes minors.”

    Again, I don’t understand the creative juices that power luxury ads. But playing artistically coy with child porn seems like a time bomb when you’re ultimately trying to sell stuff like a $3,150 Hourglass Handbag. There’s a reason McDonald’s doesn’t advertise Happy Meals with subtle hints of bestiality.

    So here’s the first rule for luxury fashion: Do not sexualize children.

    As the outrage amplified around the globe, Balenciaga execs retreated to their bedazzled war room to sip triple espressos and hash out damage control. In a statement, the company acknowledged the obvious: “Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign.”

    Yes. And Baby Gap should not advertise handcuffs. Balenciaga apologized for “displaying unsettling documents.” It also said it was taking “legal action against the parties responsible for creating the set and including unapproved items.”

    Huh? What parties? Is Balenciaga suggesting it is not the gatekeeper of its own advertising? I’m afraid that’s not how client-agency relationships work.

    You will never see an in-house Toronto Star ad depicting a billionaire behind the wheel of a Maserati flipping the bird at the homeless because that would be shockingly off-brand for us. Marketing campaigns require corporate sign-off.

    So who are the responsible parties in this Balenciaga mess?

    The photographer, Gabriele Galimberti, is claiming innocence.

    “I am not in a position to comment (on) Balenciaga’s choices, but I must stress that I was not entitled in whatsoever manner to neither chose (sic) the products, nor the models, nor the combination of the same,” he told CNN.

    “As a photographer, I was only and solely requested to lit (sic) the given scene and take the shots according to my signature style. As usual, the direction of the campaign and of the shooting are not on the hands of the photographer.”

    That is generally true. But the statements by both the company and the shooter still don’t illuminate this darkness. How did a luxury brand, founded in 1919, get into a cauldron of cultural soup this week by greenlighting ads featuring children with bondage bears you’d expect to see on a shelf inside a sex dungeon?

    No wonder a global boycott is underway.

    Luxury fashion is one of the greatest scams ever perpetrated. I have a theory that if you can’t pronounce a brand, you probably can’t afford it. I didn’t say it was a good theory. But if you search my home with the bloodhounds of a fancy tailor, you will not find any Bottega Veneta or Fjallraven.

    A child holding a teddy bear is a sweet tradition in advertising.

    A child holding an S&M teddy bear is beyond disturbing.

    The QAnon kooks must be pumping their fists in their fleece hoodies this week. This Balenciaga story will only amplify the conspiracy theory that a blood-guzzling cabal of pedophile elites are secretly running the world. If QAnon warriors will not hesitate to shoot up a pizza joint wrongly accused of human trafficking, imagine what they might do to a designer boutique not wrongly accused of sexually exploiting children in a bizarre ad campaign.

    That’s why Balenciaga needs to do more than apologize.

    It needs a new ad campaign to explain how this happened.

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