View Full Version : The Lane Bryant commercials

M. Lopez
21st April 2010, 17:16
So as everyone has heard by now, Lane Bryant has released a series of new Cacique commercials which were "censored" by the networks.

I'm of two minds about this. On the one hand, I really could do with less raciness on TV. On the other hand, Lane Bryant has a point when it says that it seemed to be unfairly targeted, when there is so much disgustingly X-rated material on mainstream television anyway.

Here's a write-up about the controversy. I suppose it's good PR by Lane Byrant to talk about it.


Here are the ads. I'm glad that the models are at least not faux-plus, but I'll never be able to be very enthusiastic about anything that Ashley Graham does, because she so prominently promoted diet drugs in the past. That's the worst kind of selling out.

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They're nicely filmed, but I really wish that they'd have featured some Judgment of Paris favourites, like Kelsey Olson or Kailee O'Sullivan or Charlotte Coyle or Christina Schmidt, etc.

Take the same camera work with some of this site's favourite goddesses and you'd really have something spectacular.

22nd April 2010, 07:31
I'm usually pretty cynical about the media, and about PR stunts in general, but I have a feeling that this story could be legit. The idea that the networks would be disinclined to show full-figured women looking attractive and sexy is easily believable. Just look at their typical programming.

On the up side, the chattering class has unanimously sided with Lane Bryant in this fiasco and against the networks. If this story prompts people who would otherwise keep silent to come out and express pro-curvy sentiments, that's a good thing. And if it gets them to identify and decry media suppression of plus-size beauty, that's even better.

Usually, the plus-suppression is kept invisible and behind the scenes, so it's only perceived. Well, this time the suppression is out in the open for all to see - and it turns out that the public doesn't like it one bit.

Also, at least these commercials show full-figured women as sensual, seductive beings. They're not shown to be self-loathing (as most programs present them - e.g., More to Love) or caricatured. They're filmed like Victoria's Secret seductresses.

Hopefully these commercials will help change public (and media) concepts of full-figured women, and set the pattern for their depiction in future commercials and in other kinds of TV presentations. Maybe we will see Kelsey Olson or Marritt Pike in a commercial like this someday.

I am definitely against the pornification of culture, but these commercials are sensual, not raunchy. And LB is right - there are thousands of things on TV that are outright disgusting, and should be pulled long before these comparably mild commercials should be.

Patrick D
22nd April 2010, 13:03
It has been confirmed that the ad was pulled because of a copyright/trademark issue involving Blackberry. It has apparently now been accepted. But almost all of the comments I have seen at the site where I saw this have been very favorable to plus-size women in general and the ad in particular.

22nd April 2010, 21:20
Both of the ads are very nice. I love the Cacique ad: a voluptuous, confident woman daringly wrapping only a coat over her lingerie-clad figure, the better to thrill the lucky man she's meeting for lunch. It is tasteful, sexy but not vulgar. It is exactly what I have wanted to see.

25th April 2010, 06:11
(The only thing I don't like in the commercials is the narrator's voice. I'd have preferred a more delicate tone.)

A new press release from Lane Bryant supports the company's side of the story. Did they capitalize on this for P.R.? Yes, of course, and there's nothing wrong with that, because their basic point - that they were treated differently than other companies with underweight models, like Victoria's Secret - is true.


As the release states:

Lane Bryant today released a memorandum from ABC, Inc. today rejecting its Cacique ad from a number of programs including Dancing With the Stars.

The memo dated April 9, 2010 said, "UPON APPROVAL, THIS COMMERCIAL IS RESTRICTED FROM THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMMING/TIME PERIODS (ET): Post 9 PM: Extreme Makeover, Home Edition and Wipeout, Animated Wonderful World of Disney, Wonderful World of Disney, Dancing With the Stars, America's Funniest Videos, Game Shows."

"ABC's statement that 'Lane Bryant was treated absolutely no differently than any advertiser for the same product' is simply not true. It was only after we got the rejection and raised the fact that they were operating under a double standard that they reluctantly agreed to put us in the last pod of the program. The Victoria's Secret ads, which had aired on Dancing With the Stars prior to the date our ad was rejected were not subject to the same restrictions. We have records of their ads airing in earlier time slots," a Lane Bryant spokesman said...." The only difference is the size of our models."
The double standard is the key point. I'm fine with the idea that the commercial should be shown in the 9 PM hour not the 8 PM hour, as it carries a mature implication. But that standard must be applied to all companies. To single out an ad with fuller-figured models while permitting racy ads with skin-and-bones models is blatantly wrong from every perspective.

The reason, I think, why this story has had so much traction is because it confirms a general sense among the public that plus-size beauty is being suppressed - not just in this specific case, but in general. The public knows that it is not getting to see plus-size models in the media, and it knows that this is wrong. The case of these commercials simply makes explicit a prejudicial policy on the media's part that is otherwise implicit, but kept under wraps.

This controversy is making size-advocates of the general public, and even of many people in the media. Suddenly, almost everyone is expressing the kinds of pro-curvy, down-with-plus-suppression attitudes that used to only find voice here at this forum. It's about time.

Ideally, this will bring about two results. This one is likely:

1. There will be more television commercials showing gorgeous and genuinely full-figured plus-size models (size 16s, not size 10/12s) filmed with the kind of stylish aesthetic that these commercials demonstrate.

This one is less likely, but would be welcome:

2. Just as this commercial will air in the 9 PM hour not the 8 PM hour, so will Victoria's Secret and any other types of racy commercials be moved to the 9 PM hour, not the 8 PM hour. The modesty standard is valid, but it must be across the board. Such commercials are not for kids, but for grown-ups. Let the "family hour" of television indeed be a safe, G-rated time. And that, incidentally, should apply not just to commercials, but to the content of the TV programs themselves (much of which is outright graphic and vulgar, far raunchier than these commercials).

26th April 2010, 22:04
This one of the better TV reports that has been done about the controversy, as it includes an interview with the male ad executive who helped design the spot. He says that as a father of two daughters, he finds it offensive that the networks are implying that girls are okay if they look as emaciated as Victoria's Secret models, but not okay if they look healthy, like plus-size models.

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He also notes that the changes that he was told to make were to remove the lingerie scenes, so apparently, the mature/adult theme of the ad was not the issue. If the latter had been the problem, I would have understood the networks' point. But since it was the former, it clearly was a case of curve-o-phobic discrimination.

29th April 2010, 10:20
<br>Everyone who has enjoyed the commercials will want to tune in to the <i>Tonight Show</i> tomorrow evening (Friday, April 30) to see Ashley Graham with Jay Leno.

<center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/ag/heart02.jpg"></center><br>The <i>Tonight Show</i> episode guide confirms this, even though a picture of Ashley is, at the moment, absent, in favour of a city backdrop. The show presumably lacked a photo on file:

<center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/ag/ag-jay-leno.jpg"></center><br>This is excellent exposure, and a first for plus-size models.

- <a href="http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/episode-guide/"><i>Tonight Show</i> Episode Guide</a>

30th April 2010, 07:47
Ashley Graham was interviewed on CBS's Early Show a couple of days ago. I still think that Whitney Thompson handles herself better in TV interviews than any other plus-size model apart from Christina Schmidt (a professional actress), and Whitney is also the most vocally size-positive. On the other hand, Miss Graham is fuller figured than Whitney, so that made Ashley a better choice to model in these ads. All plus-size models should be size 14 or better.

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The interviewer questions if the ad was pulled because of the flesh or the content, but as Lane Bryant's press release established, it clearly was the flesh, not the content, as the networks wanted Lane Bryant to pull all of the clips showing the model's figure, not the texting clips giving the context of the liaison. The fact that the networks' action was size discrimination has been proven. I wish the model had made this point.

Ashley expresses surprise that this story has gotten more attention than, for example, nude editorials with plus-size models, but those nude editorials have been various - some have been attractive (e.g. Tara Lynn's), but at least one has been vulgar and indecent. The public has preferred these commercials because the visuals are sensual but in good taste, not crass.

How insulting, though, that the interviewer asks the model if she thinks that LB used her for publicity. Does anyone ask Victoria's Secret models if they've been "used"? What nonsense. The model should have squelched that.

1st May 2010, 02:27
Here are the videos of Ashley Graham on tonight's episode. She was dressed fairly demurely, just a bit of cleavage showing, but I like the fact that she went sleeveless. She has beautiful arms.

The segment contrasts the LB commercial with a Victoria's Secret commercial, and it's funny to see how inadequate the VS girls look by comparison.

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What's especially encouraging about this is the fact that Ashley is a size 16. For so long, all the press went to faux-plus size-12 models. But between the work of Judgment of Paris favourites like Kelsey Olson, and Tara Lynn's Vogue Paris editorial, and now Ashley's commercials, the standard size of the plus-size model is (hopefully) being redefined back to a true plus size, a size 16. No hosts are going "Huh?" when Ashley walks out, incredulous as the deception of such a model being called plus. No, people are seeing 16 as what "plus size" means.

3rd May 2010, 21:13
Ashely just appeared on tonight's episode of Access Hollywood. Here's the video:

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A bit short but it gets the idea across. The best part is hearing her referred to as a "proud size 16." That should be the baseline size of all plus-size models, with variety ranging upwards from there.

Interestingly, though, the show states that the problem was with the intimate context of the ad, not with the amount of skin exposed. If that really were the case I could sooner see the networks' point. But the Lane Bryant press release stated that what the networks wanted removed were the shots of the model's figure - clearly size-discrimination. And I wouldn't be surprised if the networks didn't retroactively change their rationale precisely because of the bad press. I'm still inclined to take Lane Bryant, and the ad's creator, at their word.

10th May 2010, 15:03
Lane Bryant has now released a behind-the-scenes video showing the shooting of their famous commercials (featured here (http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=1844)) Many of the shots are actually more size-positive than those which appeared in the ad itself, and better showcase Ashley Graham's figure.

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I am just so glad that these videos mostly focus on a size-16 model, not a size 10 or 12 girl pretending to be plus. It makes all the difference in the world. A 16 should be the minimum size of all plussize models.