Move over conflict in the Middle East, there’s a new above-the-fold headline and it belongs to:
A boy with pink toenails.
That’s right, cute little Beckett Lyons, son of J. Crew president and creative director, Jenna Lyons – wipe that smile off your face, because your mom has obviously confused your sexual identity and banished you to a LGBT lifestyle, which is obviously a reason to resign yourself to a life of solitude and shame.
I hope everyone is catching the foaming amounts of sarcasm here.
Besides the fact that Fox News is evidently making a far-reaching and, frankly, an unproductive and discriminatory point here, I think this “controversy” brings to mind a solid takeaway for communications and advertising professionals:
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
If I were to take a guess, I would wager that J. Crew was not intending to create a massive moral uproar with this ad. If you take it as is, without taking the extra 15 minutes to extract a dark subtext, this is a cheery, light-hearted ad that celebrates family, spring, style and color. What J. Crew missed in the creative stages was how a quick-to-criticize public would jump on what they consider a touchy issue.
If I was to subjectively consume this ad as if I were seeing it for the first time without any outside commentary, I think I am the customer J. Crew was originally aiming to reach. I think it’s adorable. I almost immediately created positive familial associations with the brand…and I’m not even a fan of the clothes.
In a perfect world, people would interpret as you intend, but in the world that we live in, advertisers need to be on their toes and poised to intercept possible misinterpretations before they make the ad about the pink toenails and not the sweater.
What do you think about the ad? Was the controversial press worth it in the end, or should J. Crew have scrapped this creative and gone a completely different route?