Luxury brands have been pushing out advertising aimed at the politically left for decades. With how popular they tend to be with celebrities and “new” money who likes to show off how much they have, the left side of the political spectrum tends to pull their attention harder than most. It also becomes a license to advertise their products in unique ways.
In recent years, Balenciaga has emerged as one of the biggest brands in pop culture for luxury branding. Their advertising has largely been traditional, with the items being shown off as the focus. Now, they have pushed very direct messages about child pornography and sexual abuse, and people are rightly upset.
Three specific images are disturbing, with two that feature kids who look to be about five years old and are depicted holding a teddy bear in various bondage outfits. Another image also shows a purse on a desk with a court decision about child pornography featured as part of the background. This not-so-subtle advertising about their stance on child sex abuse is not only not sitting well with consumers, but it’s a sign they have clearly chosen to endorse sexuality with kids.
The first image has a child standing on the couch while cuddling a purple teddy bear clad in a bondage outfit, complete with a leather strap around the neck that is led down and connected to ruffled thigh straps. The only apparent “advertising” seemed to be some Balenciaga throw pillows and the kid’s sweat suit which was very lightly marked for the band and largely hidden by the bear.
A second image featured a different child standing in front of a table of Balenciaga merchandise like they were going to pick out the bear’s accessories for a bondage session. This bear was clad in a mesh shirt, with leather straps tied around its ankles and wrists, and a padlocked choker around its neck. The fur around its eye was dyed to make it look like the bear had suffered some serious abuse.
While these images alone are disturbing as it is, the purse image is what links it all together. The documents shown aren’t just for any case about child porn. They chose to feature the “Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition” Supreme Court case on their paperwork. As the case that argued about the legality of child pornography in the US, it was a huge ruling. Their depiction as if the person using their bag would be the person arguing for it being legal is incredibly bothersome.
Using advertising to “normalize” the sexuality of children, child porn, and sexual abuse is simply disgusting. These luxury brands have been trying to target kids and their wealthy parents for their money for ages, and this is much too far.
The American people and others across the globe know that this isn’t the way to advertise a luxury brand, and a firestorm resulted. Naturally, Balenciaga pulled the images from their social media channels immediately, and so far have been ducking press requests from Daily Caller News and other outlets. Additionally, they have locked down their comments sections and are trying to weather the storm they have created for themselves.
Balenciaga apologized, but the damage is already done. And with all of the grooming being done, it’s only a matter of time to see what luxury brand steps up to the plate next to see what damage they can do.
Brands like Balenciaga have no place in society at this point. To be quite honest, their goods are little more than re-stamped Wal*Mart apparel in terms of quality. Their designs are unoriginal, and they aren’t what “luxury” is supposed to be. They much like many of their consumers are just tourists in the luxury brand marketplace. Now is the time to put them out to pasture.