Wednesday, February 08, 2006

We love boobs! Don't you?

Image hosting by PhotobucketExiting the subway yesterday, I looked up and saw a very large Lindex ad with the words "We love boobs" sprawled across their poster. I had to take a double take to make sure I had actually read what I thought I had. Sure enough, Lindex loves boobs.

It's a follow-up to their "We love bottoms" Summer 2005 underwear campaign, just in time for Valentine's Day. In the last two days, most of the adverts, at least those with the "We love boobs" slogan, have been removed from the Stockholm Subway, because according to SL (Stockholms Local Traffic) press secretary Maria Adolfson, as quoted in Dagens Media, "We have made the assessment that the text may cause upset among certain social groups" ("Vi har gjort bedömningen att vi tror att texten kommer att uppröra en del grupper i samhället"). There was also mention of "sexual discrimination."

They are worried that certain "social groups" in Swedish society are going to be upset by the word "boob" in a campaign slogan in a country where it is okay to show bare breasts in the media and co-ed naked sauna is seen as the norm? Maybe this is just my experience, but being uncomfortable with the naked human body is one hang-up that most Swedes do not seem to have.

Image hosting by PhotobucketAs silly as I think the campaign is, I find it even more ridiculous that "we love boobs" could be construed as offensive, especially in the capital city of a a country like Sweden. (This kind of debate would seem less out of place in, say, small town USA.) It's an odd use of an English phrase in a Swedish advertising campaign, to be sure (and as Cold Feet said, I would have loved to have sat in on that marketing meeting), and I'm not exactly sure to what demographic they are trying to sell their lingerie, because it that it would mainly be men (as opposed to women, who one would surmise to be the main consumers of bras) that would happily nod their head up and down and concur that they too love boobs.

Silly? Yes! Offensive? Absolutely not.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do we have to assume that it is silly? Is it so obvious to you that you do not have to explain to the reader?
Cute would come to mind before silly.

1:52 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

I like "we love boobs", as I liked "we love bottoms". The texts make the advert funny. If anything is offensive it is having to see these boobs all over the place.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since I have some inside information I can tell you that the campaign is directed towards all swedish women. Lindex is the market leader in Sweden when it comes to lingerie and the mission of the campaign is to say that Lindex loves all boobs, no matter what size, and that Lindex will make bras that fit all types. Having been quite involved in the campaign, I must say that it is interesting to see that so many are discussing it.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

I think silly is an excellent term for it. I'm not offended by it, but think that it appeals visually much more to a man than a woman.

I'd like to ask Anonymous who apparently has some inside information, why they print the slogan in English. Surely your demographic, which you proudly tell us is all swedish women actually understand SWEDISH rather than English. Where I live, very few people understand a word of English, and I'm pretty sure they'd have no idea what the word "boobs" mean. Why not "Vi älskar tuttar" instead?

I also question the idea that Lindex makes bras for all types and sizes. There are many of us who would struggle to find a single item that fits in a Lindex shop.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Ms.Take said...

I love boobs too, especially mine. I have made a point to love my enire body, both as a whole and in bits and pieces. I struggled for a while before I learned to love the cellulite, but now I love them too. So much that I pamper them with chocolate.

So go Lindex!

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it a little funny that the term "boobs", as I understand it, was invented and is used almost exclusively by women as a somewhat cuter and less vulgar alternative to whatever men have managed to come up with in this area - and now it is labelled [sic?] as offensive! SL really are clueless, in this as in everything else.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

the one thing I would like to comment on the fact that anonymous-lindex says that lindex loves _all_ boobs, when in fact the pretty ones (as in the normative ones) are the ones we get to see on the ads. but, I have noticed lindex is actually quite good at having different kinds of bodies in their advertisingcampaigns.

12:51 PM  
Anonymous abe said...

What I find amusing is that apparently the only difference made to the censured adds is to remove the text while keeping the images. So it is the word "boobs" that is offensive by itself I guess, I wonder who came up with that idea.

And today what was an amusing mediablunder has become hilarious. This mornings edition of the free newspaper Metro has three of the adds WITH text on the front back and first page! Full Page! Now that is simply genious.

SL will not allow the adds to run on their billboards in the subway, so how do you get the adds down there anyway?

You put them in the paper that everyone and their mother picks up on the way down!

Sure made me laugh out loud this morning atleast.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh come on! Why would any sane commercial operation selling bras etc choose to display unattractive body parts in their ads? To betray their shareholders and commit commercial suicide so as to appear sufficiently PC to SL and (whiny)parts of the public? Seriously! Most men and women prefer to look at attractive men and women in ads, magazines, on TV etc. And why not? We are surrounded by enough boredom and ugliness as it is, aren't we? And, how in the world could the "boobs" (not "ALL boobs", by the way) ads be offensive simply for displaying breasts in bras? How else would you market bras, for COL? Besides, the ones in the ads are IMO very diligently covered and the pictures distinctly unerotic. My first impression of the ads, with the word "boobs" and the rather dull pictures, was that "wow, these must really be intended just for women".
Get real, people.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Marie, I am sorry if I have offended you in any way. I will try to answer your questions as well as I possibly can.

I don’t know the whole story to why Lindex decided to print the slogan in English but I can make a qualified guess. First of all, most Swedes do speak English today. I don’t know where you live but I think you might be underestimating your neighbours. Personally, I think that "we love boobs" sounds cuter than "vi älskar tuttar", but that is just my opinion. Moreover, Lindex has stores in Finland, Norway, Germany and Estonia as well. I can imagine that having the same slogan everywhere makes everything a bit easier.

When it comes to Lindex lingerie sizes I think you are being a bit negative. Lindex is the only one of all the big chains that makes bras ranging from 65AA to 105DD. Although this might exclude some, you must agree that most Swedish women are included in this group.

Since the campaign includes the mission to get women to know their breasts better (please look at the homepage for more information) I recommend that you go to your nearest shop and see if they can help you further I finding the right size for you.

And d haraway, could it perhaps be that all breasts are beautiful, and that a good bra can make any breast look like “normative ones”, if that is what you want to achieve?

2:09 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

the question itself "what's beautiful a priori" is the problem. there is no such thing as a clear definition for beautiful boobs. a wonder bra might be able to transform any pair of breasts into what is modern for the moment, but that opinion of fashion is only a result of what we have decided it should be. we really do think a thin person _is_ more beautiful than a fat one, because that's what we've been told since the day we were born. I'm no exception, I think so too. but at least I can step outside of myself for a while and analyse the correctness of it. if I had been fed with glamorous pictures of fat people in the pink magazines, what would I then consider to be beautiful?

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All very interesting for the "gender and you in the 21st century" workshop, or possibly the philosophy seminar, but lindex have to operate in the real world, so why not at least permit them to do that? And regardless of what you or I might have considered beautiful in some fictional parallel universe, where Rosie O'Donnell is the flavour du jour, every day, it is hardly reasonable to blame lindex (or any other company) for the fact that we don't and that people in our universe have very different tastes (compared to those prevalent in the RO'D one).
(And btw, yes, beauty is only skin deep, pretty much as it should be, beauty is not in the eye of the beholder and firm breasts do look better than saggy ones. OK?)

5:04 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

to anonymous: why shouldn't we be able to hold someone at lindex responsible for their ads? one can not blame lindex alone for the strange climat created in the western world, but they, as well as you and I, are people with brains, and they should use them. a company isn't run by itself, it doesn't have a will of it's own. if everyone, all the time, said "hey, there's nothing I can do about it 'cause this is the way it is" nothing would ever get better. it's called to think. one should pick ones fihgts though, and I don't think lindex is the most evil guy in this drama. is is, however, important to think. the debate that immediately follows ours, is to whom lindex has the bigger responsibility; the human race or the shareholders.

curiosa, sorry for turning your eminent blog into a debate forum. love.

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this discussion is getting out of proportion. All of us who have worked on this campaign (95% of us are women by the way) are really proud of it. Proud since it shows breasts of all sizes and since it doesn´t focus on anything else than purely breasts and bras. So if you want to hold us resonsible for that, be my guest, I would be honoured.

If you want to do something for humanity, I recommend you to go to your closest Lindex store and buy the book "sköna bröst"; a book about everything you can imagine that has to do with breasts. The profit goes directly to Bröstcancerfonden.

Curiosa: sorry about all the Lindex propaganda... I promise, this will be my last comment on the topic. Love your blog however..

5:37 PM  
Blogger Curiosa said...

wow, didn't realize this little entry of mine would spark such a debate. my point was that i found it strange that it created any controversy at all, especially in a country like Sweden, which is quite liberal when it comes to anything to do with the naked human body.

whether or not swedish advertising slogans should be in english or swedish is i guess a larger debate that goes on within swedish marketing.

when I said it was "silly" rather than "cute" may have something to do with the fact that i would expect a slogan like "we love boobs" to have a more "cheeky" kind of campaign, rather than just juxtaposed over an otherwise very traditional lingerie ad. i know that swedes have a special relationship to english, i was just wondering whether or not it would go over so well in an English speaking country.

6:06 PM  
Blogger eff said...

Interesting discussion. My first reaction was "whoever chose English for the slogan is a boob". Boob as in nincompoop, that is.

I don't know for sure, but I bet the repeated use of English in Swedish advertising campaigns is due to some deeply rooted inferiority complex. If we assume the copywriters aren't talented enough to work in English speaking countries, they therefore have to compensate for their incompetence by writing slogans and ads and whatever in English here Sweden instead. "If I close my eyes really hard I can pretend I'm in London."

If it's not that, then it's probably a case of "if it's in English, people will find it more international, cooler". Which is something that usually works in Sweden, as we've imported as much as possible from across the pond (Halloween being the most flagrant example of mental lethargy). It's stupid and silly, but it's true. (We would be better off importing good things, for example more nice people like the full-lipped ms. Curiosa.)

When it comes to SL/Clear Channel who actually banned the use of the slogan. Well, it's a hilarious example of cluelessness. It's like banning ads for diapers because you may associate them with horrible smells or possibly whiny toddlers with sticky hands. Those who are offended by the use of a slogan such as "we love boobs" belong to the same category of people who would be offended by any reference to breasts, regardless of setting or wording.

All in all, it's interesting how the slogan's language and the moral panic both seem to be directly imported from the US of A. I'm not sure if I should laugh or cry, though. Or jump in the Baltic sea with heavy lead weights attached to my body as to never break the surface again...

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Josephine said...

Hunkemöllers "for anybody" is not only boring, but also incorrect. Their nice trendy little bras are never made in size 90A. Is Hunkemöller to be found in Stockholm? (German shop)

8:22 PM  
Anonymous ely said...

hang on... anonymous: please let me pick a lindex store, then you can show me all the bras they have there in 105DD. one? hanging all ugly and alone in a dark corner, a bit dusty? I do not believe you, neither do I believe that Lindex is the largest ligerie-selling company in Sweden. even though I do not mind the campaign, neither the pictures nor the text (silly SL), your comments are rediculous. you cannot deny the fact that the campaign only features women of a certain size. neither can you deny that lindex's bras will indeed not make all womens breasts look good/better or fabulous. you have no evidence of that at all, neither does lindex.

note: of course they want to show beautiful people (I agree with you here anonymous). I would not have it any other way, who the hell wants to stand in front of a 5m high ugly girl in a bra every morning going to work on the subway- not me.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are at least two different "anonymous" here. One purports to work for lindex and for some reason claims that "they love all boobs", whereas I merely urge dharaway et al to return to erath and admit that there is such a thing as beauty and that most of us prefer to look at that rather than ugliness (or even homeliness). Sorry for any confusion.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Zap said...

Sweden and perhaps Stockholm especially is comprised of people from more than one culture, my guess is that SL thought of those with another cultural heritage than Swedish.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yes, the "empathy with the poor souls who get furious when they se women in public who are not on a leash" department again. Do please go elsewhere with your political extremism...

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Helena said...

But many of us ARE uncomfortable with the naked body and having to see it everywhere. There's just nothing we can do about it at this point (except maybe break down and cry every once in a while when we feel we can't take it anymore). The pictures in the Lindex campaign aren't worse than anything else. The reason I do find the slogan offensive is what it DOESN'T say, but implies. It can't be unconditional love for boobs, because I can never find a bra that fits and I know I'm not alone. I happen to have a very small chest and to be able to shop at Lindex I would also need to be thin as a stick and prefer to invite Winnie the Pooh to see my private parts. So I guess they don't love my... well, my what? Since they love boobs obviously they don't consider mine boobs at all. That offends me. It's not like I didn't know that the clothing industry feels that way about my body, but puh-leese don't pretend! In that way, other ads/movies/etc are more honest. At least their message is clear: "this is what attractive people look like" (and you're very welcome to feel bad about yourself if you don't match the ideal).

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who breaks down and cries from seeing half-naked bodies in ads? It would seem fair to say that the problem in that case does not lie primarily with the clothing/fashion industry...

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Helena said...

Anonymous - I didn't say I do, but sometimes I find it very depressing how our bodies and the way they look are so damn important. I realize that I can't demand that the world changes, the only thing I can change is myself and my self esteem. But it's not easy to feel good about myself when, for example, it's impossible to find clothes that fit. That makes it hard for me to even look my best. And ads/movies/etc constantly remind me of what I SHOULD look like. I don't want to ban the Lindex campaign or anything - like I said they're not worse than anything else and I know I can't change the world even if I definitely dislike some things about it.

10:52 PM  
Anonymous ely said...

helena- as much as I understand your problem, I know many who have similar ones. when are you people going to realize that looks really do not matter? I mean seriously! people will definitely love you even though you do not have some special look. trust me, I have experience in this matter. but, I also believe that it will be very difficult to receive that love if you do not accept and love yourself. are people who do not accept you for who you are really worth wasting your time on?

this is something that you have to accept as much as any other thing in your life. it will always be easier for the beautiful people in life, but they might not always be so fortunate on other accounts. love yourself, there is only one of you and you only have one life to be with you so why waste it not liking you?

anonymous & anonymous: for god's sake, be a little innovative will you! has it ever occured to you that you can make up a name and still be anonymous. I would like to know who the fuck I am talking to. anonymous (not the lindex ally): thanks for pointing that out to me. I do not wish to offend you.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous Zap said...

Hm how can my GUESS as to what motivation SL has for not allowing certain ads in their subway be political extremism?

I'm curious though, what has made you adopt the "if I can't hear it, it doesn't exit"-approach to things in life?
Why have you made this place your home of flaming?

2:05 PM  
Blogger John Eje Thelin said...

Please stop perpeutating the myth that all Swedes know English. Only a minority even speaks the language, and a small percentage (less than 25%) of those have any fluency above and beyond the most basic.

Yes, we speak better English than the French or Hungarians, but that's not really saying much.

As for US-style censorship bleeding over itno Swedish media, check out,2789,774534,00.html

Why is "fittan" censored there? It's a quote, after all. Pathetic.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Curiosa said...

John Eje Thelin,

I am not sure to whom your comment is addressed. I don't think anyone ever claimed that all Swedes are fluent in English, but it is commonplace here to see advertising slogan in English, probably much more so than one would see in other countries other than perhaps the rest of Norden and the Netherlands. People do have a higher level of at least passive understanding of English precisely because the TV programs are subtitled rather than dubbed over. I think because Swedish is a rather small language that Swedes (and other Scandinavians) have been quite pragmatic that being conversant in English is a necessary part of being in at the forefront of the world economy. English is today what French was during the 17th century.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"sexual discrimination"? Not too sure how that could be called sexual discrimination when men have boobs too. Although I can't say I have ever seen a man wearing a bra but some definitely should hahaha. Free Huge Tits

3:54 PM  
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9:51 AM  

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