H&M’s polemical campaign: reactions

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Here is another scandal around the well-known Swedish company H&M ! This time, it is about its new summer campaign, representing by the sublime Isabeli Fontana, the brezilian model for Victoria’s Secret. Indeed, the pictures above, placarded all over the world at the begining of May, have checked the public opinion because of the model’s tan !  Please have a look to the promotional video below to see the cause of this controversy:

Opposite reactions have arisen on social media: Few fans on H&M Facebook Page have declared that these swimmwear pictures were gorgeous. They are literally captivated by the beauty and do not have second-thought about consequences on a fragile audience:

But the majority is scandalized by H&M’s approach, seen as clearly dangerous for human health. Many doctors and cancer groups have claimed that the campaign’s message is alarming: “”Many people, especially young, will try to emulate this and will try to be justas brown, even though their skin type is not possible.” After all, H&M is one of the motor  for new fashion trends! Even indivuals  have protest against this advertising, accusing them of vulgarity, photoshop players or even of soft porn:

About the photoshop’s accusation, a specialized magazine has published a Fontana’s picture for another AD. As you can see, she is still astonishing but not as dark and caramel as in the H&M’s beach sensation!

But we all know that pictures are always retouched. So, why is there such strong negative reactions on social media? What we can say is that H&M ‘s campaign has a really bad timing: Thus, everyone links this AD with the sensitive recent item that  made noise in USA few weeks ago: Tan Mom, an over-tanned mother, accused of bringing her 5-years old daughter to the solarium. Have a quick look to this video to catch up the story:

By consequence, even if initially H&M had defended its promotional work, the entreprise, facing powerful opponents, has has to present official apologies to its customers to save its reputation:

H’&M’s excuses were spread all over the Web and many Tweets were talking about it:

But what happen next? I naively thought that all posters would have been removed from streets. I was sure that all traces of this polemical campaign will be erase on the official webiste for example. But I was so wrong! Look at the new cover picture on the company Facebook page, updated yesterday :

What does H&M want to prove? That Isabeli Fontana is really dark without any manipulations? Or is this picture retouched as well? Does they want to show that they do not care about public opinion? It seems that the company’s reputation won’t suffer from this scandal. After all, the Swedish firm is used to it and it is a good way to promote the brand: The most important is to talk about it.

Jade Albasini

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