- The Amsterdam-based suit startup Suitsupply debuted its new “Find your perfect fit,” ad campaign, which prominently features gay imagery.
- Some followers of Suitsupply on social media have voiced opposition to the gay-centric images. The brand said it lost 12,000 followers on Instagram overnight.
- The company said it had anticipated the reaction, but that a campaign featuring gay imagery was “overdue.”
Most companies try to avoid controversy. With its newest ad campaign, however, Suitsupply dove right into it.
Founded in 2000 in Amsterdam, the European suit-maker has quietly made a name for itself as the place where convenience, quality, and price all meet.
The ad campaign it’s running for spring/summer 2018, called “Find your perfect fit,” prominently features gay imagery, including two men kissing and touching. The ads were posted on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, in addition to appearing in Suitsupply stores across the globe.
The social-media backlash was swift, fierce, and expected. The campaign launched on Wednesday, February 21, and by Thursday the suit-maker’s Instagram account had lost 12,000 subscribers, the company said.
Others voiced their displeasure through Facebook commenting. Some outright said they would boycott Suitsupply, while others expressed disgust at the images. One particular image, of two men kissing, has gained over 600 comments, many of them negative.
The response has not caught the Dutch company off-guard, however - CEO Fokke de Jong said he expected it. He also pointed to some of the more positive reactions the ads have received.
"We do not aim to and cannot control the reactions, however, the new followers and positive messages that have been prominent in our social media is a good indicator that this campaign has been well received and has impacted many people positively. It's amazing what one kiss can do," de Jong said in a statement to Business Insider.
De Jong says the campaign was motivated by inclusivity and celebrating all kinds of relationships. He said an ad campaign featuring gay imagery was "long overdue."
De Jong also dismissed the criticism that Suitsupply is targeting the gay community.
"The message of this campaign is love, attraction and passion. We are a fashion company and we sell clothes but it was not targeted to commercialize the gay community. It was to show the message of love and attraction stylized by Suitsupply," he said.
Some in Suitsupply's social-media comments praised the company for its courage in going forward with the campaign while knowing it would provoke backlash.
Suitsupply has gained attention before for its provocative ad campaigns, most recently in 2016 when it ran a campaign showing miniature men posed on larger-than-life women.