Mad over Ad
By Sara Marett
An advertisement for a London clothing store placed in the University Students' Council Westernizer is sparking much attention around campus but perhaps not the kind the retailer wanted.
A full page colour ad for Diesel jeans was used by Casualteez to promote the line of clothing sold in the store. The ad depicts a young woman posing as a teacher in a classroom of young boys revealing exposed cleavage and brassiere from her denim outfit.
The ad reads, "Diesel Historical Moments: The Swedish School Reform, 1969." Some students on campus feel the ad is in bad taste and have voiced their opinion.
Equity service director Bill Wilkinson said his department has not received a formal complaint regarding the ad but has been made aware of some students' concerns about its content.
Natalie Clarke, coordinator for the Safety of International Women at Western said the ad crosses many lines as far as harassment towards women and international issues.
"The ad depicts the woman as an object in an academic setting what kind of message is that sending to students?" Clarke said, adding by placing the ad in the Westernizer it is reaching a large population of students.
Biology graduate Derek Hill said the ad is too provocative and not appropriate because of the children in the room. "If she didn't have her shirt open I probably wouldn't have noticed. She really doesn't look like a teacher," he said.
Jarrid Adler, marketing director for Diesel of Canada, said the ad was not made to offend. He said it was part of a Diesel campaign which involved altering historical photos to make them humorous and eye-catching advertisements.
He said this particular ad involves the reforming of the Swedish school system in 1969 when the country attempted to change from the metric to imperial system. "We altered the photograph by using a female model and made it tongue in cheek in order to help people laugh at themselves. It was not made to offend."
He added sometimes people analyze things too much and try to find a meaning in something that does not exist. "We will apologize if someone was offended, but will not apologize for the advertisement."
Casualteez store owner Antreas Arevian said he chose to run this specific ad because the majority of the clothes in his store are Diesel and thought the classroom setting was appropriate for the Westernizer's audience. He said he considers Diesel advertisements to be amusing and eye-catching and does not find the ad to be offensive.
University Students' Council advertising manager Alex McKay said they have set policies regarding ads placed in any USC-owned operation. If the content of an advertisement falls into a grey area of their policies, it is taken to the USC, which was the case with the Casualteez ad, he said.
USC VP-communications James Deans said the ad was brought to the attention of some board members by the ad office. He said that according to USC policies the ad was acceptable in content.
"I'm surprised people are complaining about the content and not the placement of the ad," he said.