The most divisive ads — and why fashion can’t resist courting controversy

Rexa Vella

The most divisive ads — and why fashion can’t resist courting controversy

But of course, Calvin Klein and its roster of photographers didn’t invent the provocative ad. Innuendo, eroticism and brazen nudity has been used to sell luxury fashion and beauty products for decades. As Alice Farmiloe a strategist for luxury brands reminds us, “P.T Barnum once said, ‘There’s no such thing as bad publicity’. Bold advertising is designed to spark debate. It should always try to push against the bounds of what is deemed ‘safe’ and ‘acceptable’.” Though, adds that, crucially, only: “if it feels true to the brand’s agenda. Brands who want to have a place in culture should be sharing their POV on the world.”

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