NEW YORK — Although fashion has been slower than some sectors to embrace gay-specific marketing, Kenneth Cole copped the Outstanding Advertising Professional award at Images in Advertising, gay marketing watchdog Commercial Closet’s first celebration of “ads that break the test pattern.”
Cole — who was absent from the awards ceremony Monday night, as he was shooting an AmFar campaign in Europe — was cited for ads in 2004 that were among the few to address (and support) same-sex marriage, as well as for those that earlier spoke to issues such as AIDS and HIV.
“The people at the company said no one accepts an award for Kenneth Cole except him,” Michael Wilke, Commercial Closet’s executive director, told the crowd gathered here at the World Financial Center headquarters of Merrill Lynch, the evening’s presenting sponsor.
Cole was one of three fashion-world nominees for that honor in a field of five, along with Oliviero Toscani and Ron Chereskin. The others were Mitchell Gold, for his brand of furniture, and Michel Roux, for seminal gay marketer Absolut.
Another take from fashion circles, Levi Strauss & Co.’s “Different Fits For You” print ad, created for the Australian market by Arnold Communications and portraying two women kissing while a third looks on in annoyance, lost out to Pink TV’s “More Than Just Sex” French campaign, for Outstanding Mainstream Print Ad/Outdoor effort.
Meanwhile, a Clean Up Your Act notice went to Unilever’s Suave for Men body wash, whose sample-insert packaging told consumers: “Meet the body wash that’s not for sissies.” Sharing in the blame game award were M&M’s “Shrek 2, Kiss” TV commercial and General Motors’ “My Man” TV spot for the Chevrolet Colorado.