wow, just wow. Lovable sent a response to my email of earlier today. It contains what is obviously a recut of stock answers. Frankly, I don't mind getting a stock email – except when it bears little relation to what you actually wrote…
Dear David and Jacqui,
Thank you for contacting us at Lovable.
In regards to your specific points, 1 and 2:
We take a serious view of the way women are portrayed in the media and in particular in our campaigns. We are very aware of the impact the type of images and messages can have on people. We strive to represent happy, healthy and realistic body images that capture the essence of Lovable’s brand values of being confident and comfortable. We do not deny that the image has been slightly retouched for colour correction purposes, as is done by most advertisers.
We believe that a healthy body on the inside is the most important priority for all women. That includes your wife and daughter’s happiness, their comfort and the pride they take in who they are. We have put this into practice by ensuring that our Lovable range is available in a size range from 8 – 18 and it remains affordable for all Australian women. We have also purposefully chosen a range of women of different sizes to reflect this on our website, including our maternity models (size 14) and DD cup model (size 12). We will take on board your comments to reflect more body shapes in forthcoming online store activities.
The creative was not developed to offend or to “objectify women’s bodies”, but use Lovable’s cheeky tone of voice to demonstrate the new Colour names for our advertised product via fun Props that remind the viewer of Summer, Lemon sorbet, Blueberry milkshake etc.
This was the intention of the creative agency , the Lovable team and our brand ambassador. Lovable sells products to Women only and hence the advertisement has been placed in shows and Magazines targeting women.
The Campaign has been received well in general by our consumers, but we understand that lingerie advertising does indeed cause issues, whether viewed on Billboards or Television. The Rating that Lovable was given by Commercials Advice Pty Ltd (CAD) commonly used for rating Television commercials was a G Rating.
Lovable are proud of The Butterfly Foundation‘s fantastic work in eating disorder research, awareness and prevention programs.
During September, 25% of profits from our online store will be donated directly to The Butterfly Foundation.
Would you be happy with a letter like that? No, me neither.
many thanks for taking the time to respond. I wonder if I might point out to you, however, the worrying nature of what you wrote.
You write that you “ strive to represent happy, healthy and realistic body images“. Can I ask you, do you honestly think that Jennifer's body is a realistic image for most women?
You write that “[t]he creative was not developed to offend or to “objectify women’s bodies”, but use Lovable’s cheeky tone of voice to demonstrate the new Colour names for our advertised product via fun Props…”. Can I ask you a serious question – do you actually think I'm stupid? I don't mean this in a confrontational way but I had to ask. I ask because the images, (here they are again),
are so blatantly sexualised (particularly the first 2, although Jennifer's “come hither” eyes in the 3rd panel leave little to the imagination either) that only a few possible conclusions are open to me:
- You honestly don't think they are. Now, I seriously doubt this. You work in the field of marketing and public relations. You know very well what these images communicate. Do you need me, for example, to explain the blatant fellatial imagery of the first panel? Surely neither of us is going to continue that pretense? I don't think you can be that bad at your job that you don't get it. On the contrary, we both know that the images were chosen exactly for this reason.
- You think I'm stupid, or at least terribly naïve. I look at the images. I see that they're highly sexualised. I communicate that to you. But, nevertheless you write your stock answer which only serves to tell me that either you didn't take what I wrote seriously or you ignored it anyway. Either way, your response is communicating to me that you think I'm stupid. Surely you would not treat someone this way?
- (and I truly hope this is the case) You actually agree with what I'm writing but you're in a terribly difficult position because you realise the obvious fact: there is a gross discongruity between the images and the stated aim of Lovable to “[change] the culture surrounding eating disorders and body image” and the donations made to the Butterfly Foundation Again, in coming to this preferred conclusion I'm assuming that you're intelligent and, furthermore, you have integrity – both intellectual and moral. If that is the case then can I make a suggestion to you? Resign. A principled resignation by someone responsible for communication at Lovable would be a noble thing to do. After all, they're asking you to massively compromise your integrity by writing these sorts of emails to people like me. You don't want to pretend that you can't see these images for what they are. You surely don't want to treat me as though I'm stupid. So, Justine, I'm left urging you to resign.
Since Lovable clearly doesn't want to listen to those from the outside, perhaps they'll listen to those on the inside? Seriously, Justine and Dianne – do you look at those images and think “realistic” and “not objectifying“? These people aren't just insulting their customers. They're insulting and demeaning you by making you write this nonsense to me.
Please, for the sake of my wife, my daughter, me, your customers and, not least, yourselves, will you please stop the nonsense and actually do something about this? And please, please, please, don't send me another stock answer. Actually engage with the issues that I and so many others are raising with you.
Yours in all genuine sincerity,