Balenciaga, a high-end fashion brand, released an ad campaign featuring children holding teddy bears in BDSM gear and photos of court documents referring back to a Supreme Court case concerning child pornography.
Balenciaga’s backlash was massive. The company pulled out of social media platforms Instagram and Twitter, and the silence that followed as the outrage grew from the company was deafening.
The company appears to have now returned to Instagram and apologized for the offensive campaign. It apologized to the public for putting children alongside BDSM bears, and stated that all photos have been removed. It also apologized for using “unsettling documents” in the campaign and stated that they were “taking legal action against those responsible”.
Now the question is whether or not it’s reasonable to believe that they are actually sorry for the campaign’s massive backlash. Some people don’t buy the notion that the company knew everything. One Twitter user noticed, for instance, that the police tape contained the word “Baalenciaga”, which was in reference to the Canaanite god to whom children were often sacrificed. He said that this would have to have been approved and made by the company.
If you look closely, you will see more symbolism that refers to child sacrifice.
Companies often hire major agencies to design and execute their ads in the advertising world. Before an ad campaign can be released, it must go through approval by the company. Either the company approves the whole thing, or the people selling the campaign did so while keeping the details secret.
As you can see, there are many details and most people wouldn’t be able to tell what they were looking at. The internet makes it easier to find details and analyze them. Details like a book that refers to Michael Borremans (known for his disturbing paintings and one featuring children who cannibalize others), are important.
While it is possible that Balenciaga’s people approved the campaign, it is also possible that they didn’t know what it was they were looking at. However, even the obvious things should have caused them to pause. It would be difficult to believe they didn’t know what it was they were doing when they did it.
Either the company didn’t realize the error they made or they did and now they are trying to extinguish the flames that they started because of a serious miscalculation.