This Ad Campaign Is Grossing People Out. The Brand Says It's Just About 'Getting Close' Again
Suitsupply has always represented an impressive value proposition when it comes to buying tailored clothing. These folks make good suits! This much is not in question. But the brand's history when it comes to advertising? It's questionable—at least on occasion. Some prior campaigns are all about fine art or getting back to nature or, on more than one occasion, the enduring appeal of the fisheye lens. Others, generally older, lean into intentional provocation and titillation in way that feels, frankly, kind of gross (especially in retrospect). There's more to unpack, surely, but that's the short version of the necessary backstory here.
Because today, Suitsupply unveiled a new ad campaign. It features people crawling over one another and enthusiastically licking faces. It's supposedly all about "The New Normal" now that the end of the pandemic is in sight. But it's jarring. It's a lot. And it has done exactly what it was most likely designed to do, in that a whole bunch of folks are talking about it online. Everyone's intrigued, and more than a few of those folks are pretty grossed out, too.
Some of them liken the new campaign to Suitsupply's problematic past, recalling photos of a miniaturized dude in a snug suit standing square in the middle of a gold bikini-clad woman's chest. Others point out that for fashion advertising, which has a rich history of imagery that seems to venerate misogyny or non-consensual contact (among many other things), Suitsupply's new campaign feels kind of decent, in that the face-licking looks consensual, there are queer couples depicted, and there's a lot of near-nudity across gender lines.
Suitsupply, for its part, is taking a sort of hilariously "who, me?" stance, telling Esquire in a statement attributed to founder and CEO Fokke de Jong, "The campaign is simply a positive outlook on our future where people can get back to gathering and getting close." Getting close! Well, of course. How could anyone have missed that?
Honestly, there a lot of ways to read the images. Some are pretty positive, like de Jong says. Others delve into darker territory. But it wouldn't be the internet if folks didn't take this opportunity Tweet and meme the fuck out of it. And thank god for that. Here are a few of our favorite reactions.
We're going to start seeing ad campaigns for a post-vaccine world. Suit Supply just sent this out under the heading, "The New Normal is Coming."— Andrew Ross Sorkin (@andrewrsorkin) March 4, 2021
Too soon? Not soon enough? Thoughts? (And let's keep it clean, folks.) pic.twitter.com/rHuA9iZ42x
I did not know about the Suitsupply company this morning and I wish I still didn’t know about the Suitsupply company this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/eDZvx5IZRx— CaroLent Sc????field (@NewsCarolyn) March 4, 2021
I thought the fucking suitsupply ad would be the worst thing I'd see today. https://t.co/jFnarlLsgS— Gal Dagon #EndSARS (@gal_dagon) March 4, 2021
ppl are mad at this ad, but this looks like one of the healthier ways to show sexual imagery in fashion, an industry that often uses sex to sell clothes (e.g. tom ford, ck, susu). previous uses look non-consensual, but this looks consensual and even has gay couples in the corner? https://t.co/2z9HTWvacS— derek guy (@dieworkwear) March 4, 2021
This doesn't seem like a way to sell business attire. So this image suggests to me that Suitsupply thinks the initial surge in sales of dressy attire will be for the return of social functions, not business meetings. https://t.co/gHCfCfkgXm— Josh Barro (@jbarro) March 4, 2021
Welp looks like a buncha folks are about to learn about Suitsupply's history of horny problematic ad campaigns https://t.co/DDFKV6pToO— cbr™? (@cbenjaminrucker) March 4, 2021
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.