How To Create A Controversial Ad?


American Apparel has had a long history of enduring controversy and contempt. It starts at the top. Chief Executive, Onanist Dov Charney openly promotes teen bombshells based solely on their looks and he’s replaced long-time veterans with the girls. His past incidents include a masturbation episode while being interviewed and openly bragging about sleeping with young, beautiful girls that work for his company. He’s even racked up a few sexual harassment lawsuits from former employees over the years.

You certainly cannot accuse the CEO of not being accessible.

In defense of Charney, most of the people who work for him love him (save for those being replaced). They describe his as a loving, caring guy who does things a little differently and gets a lot of bad press.

Charney is doing something a little different yet again. The latest American Apparel advertisement features an employee of the company standing topless with the words “Made in Bangladesh” emblazoned across her naked chest.

At the bottom of the ad, the young girl known simply as “Maks” is described as having Muslim heritage and relocating from Dhaka, Bangladesh to California at four years of age. In high school, Maks felt the need to “forge her own identity”, trading her Islamic faith for a chance to shine in her own semi-naked photo-shoot at American Apparel. (That last sentence was our own interpretation of the ad’s text.)

Maks is pictured in a pair of high-waist, unbuttoned jeans – crafted “by 23 skilled workers in Downtown Los Angeles, all of whom are paid a fair wage and have access to basic benefits such as healthcare,” the advertisement states rather forthrightly.

View the full text at the bottom of the new American Apparel ad

“She is a merchandiser who has been with American Apparel since 2010. Born in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, Maks vividly remembers attending mosque as a child alongside her conservative Muslim parents. At age four, her family made a life-changing move to Marina Del Rey, California. Although she suddenly found herself a world away from Dhaka, she continued following her parents’ religious traditions and sustained her Islamic faith throughout her childhood. Upon entering high school, Maks began to feel the need to forge her own identity and ultimately distanced herself from Islamic traditions. A woman continuously in search of new creative outlets, Maks unreservedly embraced this photo shoot.

“She has found some elements of Southern California culture to be immediately appealing, but is striving to explore what lies beyond the city’s superficial pleasures. She doesn’t feel the need to identify herself as an American or a Bengali and is not content to fit her life into anyone else’s conventional narrative. That’s what makes her essential to the mosaic that is Los Angeles and, unequivocally, a distinct figure in the ever-expanding American Apparel family. Maks was photographed in the High Waist Jean, a garment manufactured by 23 skilled American workers in downtown Los Angeles, all of whom are paid a fair wage and have access to basic benefits such as healthcare.”

In a world where bad press is becoming a thing of the past, this advertisement is working as intended, creating a new wave of controversy on the web before it’s even been released.

American Apparel maintains that the new ad is “celebrating women”, pointing out that they never use Photoshop and their models don’t wear makeup.

Maks really is this gorgeous.

While the ad is sexually charged, the company regards it as one sure-fire way to get people talking about their products.

Shareholders are hoping it works, as well. American Apparel has taken on increasing debt over the last few years and seen it’s stock price drop down from a 52-week high of $2.17 to an all-time low of .46 (it’s at .50 at the time of this editorial). There’s been rumors of bankruptcy and borrowing still more to achieve a future profit.

Maks is doing her part to get people noticing the American Apparel brand again. Does it make you want to buy?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here