Monday, April 26, 2010

Lane Bryant lingerie ad vs. prime time TV

So, clothing retailer Lane Bryant has a line of lingerie they would like to promote, and they've made a commercial to do so. Submitted it to some networks, and Fox and ABC said "omg no, that is way too much skin for our prime time audience." You can view the ad at the end of this post, by the way.

Okay, that might not be an exact quote. But it's the general sentiment. You can read about the ad and the controversy at Jezebel (good timeline of what happened), on Lane Bryant's site and from Reuters. (And many other places; I might be the last person who hasn't written about this yet.) There seems to be two big points of contention, from the more business side of this story: 1. Lane Bryant wants to buy time during Dancing with the Stars and American Idol (they were rejected at first, but now it looks like the ads will eventually air on those shows), and 2. Victoria's Secret ads air during both those shows. There is also the other side of this, which is the more abstract "bigger women can't be sexy/are too sexy" side. They go hand-in-hand; if this were a VS ad, no one would be talking about it and it would be on the air. However, the Lane Bryant ad shows the same amount of skin a regular VS ad does: both feature women in bras and underwear. So why the big deal? Cleavage? Except VS ads have plenty of cleavage. The only real difference is the models' body types. VS model = traditional model body. Lane Bryant model = so-called plus size model. Let's be real though, the model in the Lane Bryant ad is hardly "big." Yes, she has bigger boobs than some people, and she isn't a size 2. But that alone can't be the reason for two networks saying no to the ad, can it?

 Well, it can be, and it probably is. I'm at a loss for any other reason for the network to air VS ads during prime time while simultaneously saying no to this Lane Bryant ad. If you have an explanation, now is the time to offer it up!

Meanwhile, let's just take a look at some of the images you might see on the two specific shows mentioned in this story, Dancing with the Stars and American Idol:


So, to be clear, all of the above is fine when it's part of the shows. After all, women's bodies sell, and while that's not always a big part of American Idol, "revealing" costumes have always been a big part of Dancing with the Stars. It's okay for a network to profit off that, but it's not okay for a clothing retailer to feature a "plus-size" model in a bra and underwear, when they are trying to sell bras and underwear.

Here is the Lane Bryant ad:

How dare she be sexy and not extremely thin at the same time! 

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