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Hanes Issues Apology for Ads Using Gay, Racial Slurs

Hanesfaggotad

Last week I posted a set of ads for Hanes tagless underwear created by the Bombay division of McCann Erickson, features a man dragging a stereotype- and slur-laden caricature.

After GLAAD sent a letter to Hanes calling their use of slurs to sell underwear "reprehensible" the company released a statement distancing themselves from the ads and apologizing for them.

Wrote Hanes: "[T]hese ads were not developed at the request of Hanesbrands...the ads were developed by advertising agency McCann Erickson for their own purposes and did not receive authorized approval from Hanesbrands. We regret this episode and are taking steps to assure that such an event never occurs again. We apologize to all those offended by the ads. We, too, were offended."

The two other ads I've included again, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. I'm an ad guy. I'm a gay guy. I see where the creators thinking was and it wasn't a bad palce. They though they could express that "Labels" of any form are bad things. Burdens that we have to carry around. They would have been great ads for an anti-defamation cause. The problem was... it was selling labeless underwear. That's not the answer to the problem set up. Still I think their heart was in the right place but it came across really insulting.

    Posted by: Pugzz | Apr 18, 2008 10:04:50 AM


  2. Thank you for your explanation, Pugzz. I was completely at a loss trying to figure out what the hell they had been thinking. Yeah, it's simultaneously too subtle and too overpowering for underwear. I'm glad Hanes acted quickly.

    Posted by: Gianpiero | Apr 18, 2008 10:26:40 AM


  3. The ads were making a good point about not being attached to labels. They weren't promoting those slurs instead sending a message about not having labels. Yeah it is a reach to sell underwear, but they were provactive and memorable.

    Once again GLAAD gets it wrong. They go after a group that was trying to put out a message about getting rid of labels, albiet to sell underwear. Meanwhile they fawn all over actors to try to get them just to attend there stupid awards ceromonies, because that is what is important to them.

    Posted by: kujhawker | Apr 18, 2008 10:36:51 AM


  4. I didn't know what to make of the ads either, but I showed my Pakistani coworker the ads, she wasn't too amused! Interestingly enough, as a black gay guy,I wasn't offended. So I guess it's offensive even though I think Hanes was trying to raise some kind of awaress?!

    Posted by: Shabaka | Apr 18, 2008 10:56:47 AM


  5. The take PUGZZ offers is right on. I'm in the business too and think they are probably too powerful for product. I was initially distressed by the blog chatter that showed so much outrage and so little willingness to let the idea steep and reach a potency inside each viewer. As a few days chatter developed I was relieved and heartened to see how many people were getting it and how much dialog went on. Love it, hate it, frame it, spit on it... When we talk about it we understand each other better. Too bad the Hanes PR went into damage control mode rather than putting the creative team front and center and letting them explain it. That's the YouTube video I want to see.

    Posted by: Rikard | Apr 18, 2008 11:12:10 AM


  6. GLAAD is worthless.

    These ads didn't appear in any magazine in the U.S. Hanes shouldn't have to be apologize for something they didn't do.

    Posted by: crispy | Apr 18, 2008 11:21:02 AM


  7. these are absolutely beautiful statements. a shame people are too stupid to appreciate them.

    Posted by: brad | Apr 18, 2008 11:23:54 AM


  8. KUJHAWKER: What you fail to recognize is this: while the intentions were not hurtful, there is an inherent bias in these ads which is, in fact, reprehensible. Whoever designed these came up with their own visual labels for each demographic. Illustrating a bloody needle and printing the term HIV on an ad representing stereotypes for African Americans is 100% biased. This is one graphic designer's interpretation of stereotypes about an entire group of people. You need to recognize that while the intention may not have been to offend, this type of media can influence a child's self worth and taint their understanding of their place in society. Images and words like this have power that stretches beyond underwear advertising.

    Something else to consider is that there were no ads designed for majority groups, only minorities. Some would say that if they made an ad about white men, it would even the playing field. The history of slavery, racism, inequality and homophobia in the country, however, make this an unfair comparison. If you notice, also, the N-word and Pakistani posters are FAR MORE offensive than the Gay poster. They get needles, guns, violence, disease, while gays get pegged with "oh, they like to play dress-up"

    Posted by: JDGNYC | Apr 18, 2008 11:44:51 AM


  9. There is nothing offensive about the ads in my opinion. It seems obvious to me that they are commentaries on the burden of labels. I suppose there's a risk involved when referencing stereotypes because it may reinforce them. Anyway, this topic is moot because the ads aren't even real.

    Posted by: Dave Shortt | Apr 18, 2008 11:52:41 AM


  10. These ads were fucking awesome, they were art. People are stupid.

    Posted by: JLS | Apr 18, 2008 11:53:04 AM


  11. These ads were marvelous, provocative, and poignant. GLAAD, once again, proves they left the good artistic sense God gave to all gays at the door to PC Land.

    Posted by: taodon | Apr 18, 2008 1:33:10 PM


  12. GLAAD is the most useless offensive organization that has ever CLAIMED to represent the gay community. Where's the letter to Absolut Vodka from GLAAD about their 8inch ruler ad aimed at the gay community - not THAT'S offensive.

    I sent Hanes PR an email just now "distancing" myself from GLAAD and encouraging them to advertise to communities such as the gay community in this way. Their ads were beautiful, very clever (no labels), and they speak to the common stereotypes we all live with - such as our mind-controlling preoccupation with 8inch penises!

    I also let them know that GLAAD in NO WAY represent me or my sensibilities or spending decisions as a gay man.

    GLAAD sucks!

    Posted by: David B. | Apr 18, 2008 2:01:24 PM


  13. Hmmmm... brilliant idea; poor implementation. It might have been more effective if the people were pulling giant words carved in stone like "GAY" or "BLACK" or "SINGLE MOM." More politically correct and would have made a fantastic commercial.

    GLAAD should pick and choose their battles, esp. when the ads aren't even in print.

    Posted by: AJM | Apr 18, 2008 3:22:06 PM


  14. These are great illustrations,really clever .And I got called all these names growing up.
    I'm not sure they are great advertising I'd still rather see some hottie in tighty whiteys.
    GLAAD needs to pick their battles more carefully they're coming off like thought nazis, I'll make my own decisions thanks.

    Posted by: James A | Apr 18, 2008 4:03:23 PM


  15. You are missing the point, JDGNYC. White men HAVE NO labels they need to drag around. These ads do not work for majorities.

    I've said before - they are brilliant. Only not for an underwear company. Should have been an anti-defamation non-profit.

    Posted by: Tony Rizzuto | Apr 18, 2008 5:22:46 PM


  16. I don't understand people calling these ads "brilliant." They're using derogatory slurs in an attempt to make more money. How is that brilliant? I just don't get that at all.

    Posted by: Reese | Apr 18, 2008 9:46:41 PM


  17. I don't see any of the other minorities depicted in these ads hurrying to defend them. Why are so many gays so eager to get those empty seats in the back of the bus?

    Posted by: dezboy | Apr 18, 2008 11:25:15 PM


  18. I don't see any of the other minorities depicted in these ads hurrying to defend them. Why are so many gays so eager to get those empty seats in the back of the bus?

    Posted by: dezboy | Apr 18, 2008 11:26:52 PM


  19. Well, for what it's worth I think those ads are brilliant as well. I don't find them offensive in the least. They are thought provoking and beautifully designed, in fact, I would probably buy prints if they were available.

    Posted by: oilgun | Apr 18, 2008 11:42:49 PM


  20. As I said on the original post regarding this campaign, this is the kind of "message-art" that high schoolers find inspiring. The whole tact is a bit broad, a bit obvious, don't you think?

    Not to mention I hardly feel as irritated by the label on my underwear as I do by being called a faggot.

    Posted by: Jaimie | Apr 19, 2008 2:01:08 PM


  21. IPG apologizes for fake Hanes ads created by rogue employees without knowledge of client or agency. For details, see our statement at http://apology4fakehanesads.wordpress.com/.

    Posted by: philippekrakowsky | Apr 19, 2008 4:17:31 PM


  22. I also find the images powerful and well executed but, as said before, not to sell undies. The concept could be tweaked to include labels we all carry that are not offensive yet sometimes burdensome or limiting (man, woman, mom, dad, jock, nerd, liberal, conservative, yadda, yadda, yadda).

    Posted by: Timothy Wright | Apr 20, 2008 7:38:54 AM


  23. I'm kind of on the fence about this one. Like Shabaka who posted earlier, I'm also a gay + black man. Oddly, I wasn't really offended by the ads depicting gay or black stereotypes, but I thought the "Paki" ad was pushing it (because of its obvious references to 9/11).

    The concept of using stereotypes to grab the reader's interest + make them think of such labels in a negative way is great. However, I have to agree w/ some of the others that feel the ads were inappropriate for this particular product/brand.

    Posted by: Fredo | May 19, 2008 8:48:41 AM


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