As some of you might know - in addition to being the debonair, man-about-town, that I am - I'm also an Associate Editor for the adult entertainment site YNOT (who are wonderful folks, btw) - and here's a brand new one: a brief about a big boo-boo by the Senate Credit Union:
There are times when even the adult industry has to shake its collective head and wonder “What the hell were they thinking?”
This week was one of those times: a credit union decided to test the boundaries of the old adage “sex sells” by employing suggestive imagery in an advertisement.
And not just any credit union — the U.S. Senate Federal Credit Union.
History abounds with examples of how bad an idea using human body parts to shill certain products can be. Witness a 15-year-old Brooke Shields cooing “Want to know what gets between me and my Calvins? Nothing.” Or pick from a lengthy list of brouhahas that erupted over Abercrombie & Fitch’s ... well, everything.
None of that stopped the Senate FCU from employing a female model’s notable assets as a come-on for loans.
Kimberley Johnson at Addicting Info described the gaffe well: “The credit union recently sent out a mailer with a photo [PDF] of a woman’s torso with a special sparkle graphic directing your eyes to her buxom chest in case you were focusing on her white tank top or long, flowing blonde hair. On one side of the photo, it reads GOT BIG PLANS? Let us worry about the money … you’ve got a lot of living to do.”
The flipside of the flyer urges members to “please borrow responsibly.”
Now don’t get us wrong: The flyer is attractive in a disembodied-boobs, impersonal sort of way. If it had been marketing Mel's Used Cars, a few eyebrows might have risen, but most folks would have given the mailer the attention it deserved (or didn’t). If the flyer had been distributed by a major national brand, millions of robotically created letters and phone calls of outrage no doubt would have followed.