Stonemen “striptease” afternoon delight underwear ad

Some controversy is bubbling up in marketing circles.

Recently there has been much discussion at how safe (vs shocking) advertising has become. If shock tactics work, how far can you go (ref the latest Amnesty International work)? Are shock tactics (sex, violence or otherwise) the lowest common denominator and lacking any true creativity?

This is where the advertising standards bureau plays a role. The problem is that the rise of the viral marketing campaign and the lack of a traditional TV ad leaves them in limbo and potentially powerless to act.

One thing is for certain, this campaign is creating brand fame for an otherwise unknown underwear brand called Stonemen.

As reported in B&T magazine, the ad asks the user to take a webcam headshot of themselves which is then overlayed on the face of a Stonemen underwear model in the featured magazine, with the user thereby becoming the object of the woman’s sexual fantasy.

Media personality and founder of women’s advocacy group Collective Shout, Melinda Tankard Reist, today told B&T she thought the campaign was backward and delusional.

Offensive or not, it is getting the attention and notoriety it intended.

This teaser when watched on Youtube leads you to the website where you can personalize the picture. The only distribution is via your own social media choices. View it here: http://afternoondelight.stonemen.com/

Some see this as the “diffusing and amusing” humorous element to the campaign. The problem as we all know is that the average high volume user of social media is under 18 and there is no barrier to them accessing, personalizing (in what ever fashion they chose) and distributing this?

The brand director has said:
“The high production values of the film reflect Stonemen’s own obsession with quality. To print a seamless 360 degrees image on a pair of undies has been a labour of love for us and we wanted to bring the same level of craft to the film. It’s rare that virals have this aesthetic and adding an interactive element is a genuine marriage between beauty and the kind of fun you like to have with your mates.”

The debate rages on and of real interest is how we moderate the ever increasing digital distribution of advertising messages, as well as what we deem acceptable in personal social media distribution, particularly when the age of the average user is most likely to be under 18 and it is facilitated by brands with campaigns like this.

A stark contrast to the ad posted here earlier this month. Conflicting strategic thinking, creative execution and impact:

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