I’m not particularly fond of the new SuitSupply campaign. But for different reasons than you probably think.
The Spring/Summer 2018 SuitSupply campaign titled Find Your Perfect Fit looks nice, aesthetically. Vibrant colours, a backdrop of a classy mediterranean villa with a swimming pool. Elegant clothes don’t seem to fit the occasion at the first glance, but somehow work – maybe this man is there for an afternoon party, and decided to sneak out and spend some time by the water, which incidentally is only a shade lighter than his dark blue tuxedo?
It’s not nearly as good as the Rocket Man campaign with fantastic geometry in every image, or the one shot in front of Rembrandt’s and Vermeer’s paintings in Amsterdam Rijksmuseum, with rich colours of the Dutch masters’ works beautifully paired with the textures and tones of the clothes.
And it wouldn’t be a subject of so much online discussion if not for one detail: it has dudes kissing each other. And this has provoked extreme reactions: from complete enthusiasm and support, to basically outrage.
While I find the outrage rather funny, I can’t bring myself to be particularly enthusiastic either. See, apart from really good campaigns, SuitSupply has had some really bad ones. Shameless from 2010 is a prime example – it is quite uncomfortable to look at, with downright rapey overtones. But there were others, with naked women surrounding suave guys in suits – hardly tasteful, and obviously trying to get some publicity using one of the oldest tricks in the book: showing some boobs. (Which, incidentally, didn’t seem to bother people who keep yelling that they don’t want to be bombarded with sexuality in the ads in reaction to the most recent campaign).
And people praising SuitSupply for being progressive and bold now, seem to forget that the company’s marketing modus operandi appears to be, and to always have been, do something controversial and see how the brand awareness spreads.
I mean, it’s an ad campaign. It’s supposed to get people talking, I understand that. But using themes like this can be genuine and sincere, or it can be cynical and calculated. And I’m afraid I don’t believe in sincerity of the brand’s intentions.
But hey, maybe the case is that the intentions don’t matter – and representation is more important for the LGBTQ community than that. Maybe a major brand being unapologetic about showing gay men in their ads will do some good. It’s just that if next year they do a complete 180 I will not be surprised in the slightest.
And if you’re one of the outraged ones – I don’t think there is anything I can say to you that would make you change your mind, so I don’t want to waste your time. Just remember if you want to leave a comment – a cultural discussion is welcome here. Being an arsehole isn’t.