Haute couture designer brand Balenciaga recently launched an advertisement that featured children with teddy bears who were dressed in BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism) clothing combined with images of court documents related to a Supreme Court case regarding child pornography.
The negative response to Balenciaga’s advertisement was overwhelming, and even though the company removed itself from social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, its silence while the anger increased was almost deafening.
The company is apparently back on Instagram and has apologized for its disgusting campaign. First, it apologized for placing children with the BDSM bears and then informed the public that it had deleted all of the images. It also claimed that it was sorry for the “unsettling documents” displayed in the campaign and that it is “taking legal action against the parties responsible” for the design of the advertisement.
“We strongly condemn abuse of children in any form,” it insisted. “We stand for children [sic] safety and well-being.”
The next question is whether the firm can be trusted or if its personnel are truly sorry – or simply sorry that they've suffered an enormous negative reaction. There is no consensus on the theory of the company being completely unaware of what was going on. For instance, a Twitter user who looked over photos with keen attention noticed police tape containing the word “Baalenciaga,” which is in reference to the Canaanite god Baal, to whom children were frequently sacrificed. According to him, this required the approval and endorsement of the company.
If you look closely, you will see many more symbols that refer to child abuse.
In the world of advertising, companies often contract big ad agencies to develop and run ads for them. Every campaign needs to be approved by the business before it can be released. The company must approve the whole thing, or the individuals who sold them the campaign released it secretly, keeping the details confidential.
In this situation, the specifics are numerous, and most people would not know what they were looking at when they first saw the ad. But the internet is adept at analyzing and uncovering things, making it more difficult to miss details – for instance, the book that references an artist, Michael Borremans, known for terrifying paintings, includes one featuring naked children cannibalizing each other.
It's possible that those who approved the campaign for Balenciaga did not understand what they were viewing, but the most obvious aspects should have been cause for concern, which makes it difficult to believe they weren't aware of exactly what was going on when they approved it.
Either the company did not understand its mistake or it is trying to put out the fires that it deliberately set. The lawsuit could provide more details.