Thursday, October 3, 2013

Censorship is futile (Bjorn Borg proves it)

As anyone who has followed international news as of late, the anti-gay laws in Russia (or more specifically the laws relating to the ban on propaganda on homosexual material) are making the international rounds one way or the other. Leave it to advertising to make a confrontational statement. Bjorn Borg (the brand not the man) celebrated the launch of their Russian website with this ad placed in the Moscow Times.
The underwears (and yes, that's basically the brand's bread and butter, and whereas super expensive Beirut/NTSC can testify that they are the most comfortable pair of anything one could wear in that region) are arranged in colors which cumulatively make up the rainbow flag - the LGBT community's symbol par excellence.
The smartness of the ad of course lies around defying the so-called censorship without pushing the envelope too far as to be explicit as such. It's subversive, smart, under the radar, and yet in its own passive aggressive way confrontational and in your face while telling the censors of how futile their work is.
And just because I focus mostly on local ads I cannot but go back to that masterstroke (since not often repeated) by Leo Burnett Beirut for their Aizone campaign which I have previously dissected. Another exceptional example of how advertising can deliver a massage and still fool the uneducated censors (in Lebanon one has to obtain permits to put billboard ads - and this campaign did run on the streets of Beirut) who are looking for obvious clues and yet are oblivious of the implicit messages that go behind the scenes.
And here it is - for the glory of it!

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