Russia’s creeping military invasion (let’s call it what it is) of eastern Ukraine turned deadly in the past week, which makes the latest marketing campaign from the German lingerie company Blush Berlin both more timely and a lot less funny.
Blush and its ad agency Glow Berlin have earned a disproportionate amount of global media attention over the past few years with ads that put a sexy spin on political flashpoints. Recent headline-grabbing campaigns have used Rupert Murdoch, Edward Snowden and Pussy Riot to make wry leftist commentary and sell a lot of bras.
Its latest sees Blush “on a diplomatic mission” to confront Russian president Vladimir Putin with “the hottest weapons from NATO” (their words, not ours).
“For the first time (Blush) tries to defuse a situation — the crisis in Ukraine,” the company says in a press release. “Instead of AK100s and AK47s, Blush presents the weapon of women: its latest bra models with soft padding and slight push-up effect for maximum comfort. … Get the collection before it is sanctioned!”
We love it that a lingerie company is able to see beyond the looking-glass world of fashion, even if their slightly goofy slogans don’t always hit the mark (Switzerland gets dragged into the latest campaign, but only because Blush has a new Swiss dot range to promote).
But wouldn’t this kind of thing have much broader impact if lingerie brands — or the $30-billion global industry as a whole — actually stood up for important geo-political causes, using their significant marketing prowess to command the attention and harness the collective voices of women around the world?
Imagine if companies like Blush went to bat for Malala and the terrorized girls of northern Pakistan, or the widows and orphans of Aleppo, or the stolen schoolgirls of Nigeria, or the child workers of Rana Plaza?
These are not sexy issues and they don’t lend themselves to amusing slogans, but they are probably more meaningful (and more appropriate) targets for brand activism than simply making fun of humorless goons.
[Ed. Note: Blush Berlin is not related to the Canadian luxury brand Blush Lingerie. For an excellent example of fashion brand activisim, check out the new Fashion Revolution campaign that addresses ethical sourcing of clothes.]