AMERICAN APPAREL’S ONLY VICE: American Apparel’s advertising and marketing strategy to appeal to women might need to be reconsidered. In order to help remake its image following the risqué reign of founder and former chief executive officer Dov Charney, the Los Angeles-based retailer placed its first pro-women ad on the back page of Vice magazine, an odd choice to say the least.
This story first appeared in the April 10, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Charney was ousted last year after the ceo and the company battled numerous sexual harassment lawsuits. He was replaced by a female ceo, Paula Schneider. Since she’s taken over, the company’s sexually charged, controversial ads have been more or less sanitized.
The recent ad, which reads “Hello Ladies” in block letters, depicts various smiling female American Apparel employees who are identified in a small block of text by title and first name only, along with their start date at the firm. “Women have always been in charge at American Apparel,” the ad reads. “In fact, women make up 55 percent of our global workforce (sorry, guys) and an even higher percentage of our leadership and executive roles. This structure is incredibly (and unfortunately) rare in the corporate world.”
American Apparel confirmed that it only ran the ad in Vice, which isn’t exactly known as female friendly. “We have had a great relationship with Vice for years and plan on continuing to work closely with them on future campaigns and partnerships,” said senior vice president of marketing Cynthia Erland. It’s likely not a coincidence that the ad ran in Ellis Jones’ first issue as editor in chief of the magazine. Jones, who was appointed in February, recently told New York Magazine that her role entails bringing in a new audience, to make them “realize it’s not a lad’s mag, and that we don’t just do d–k and fart jokes.”
Perhaps they’ll also realize that American Apparel isn’t a lad’s brand either — at least, that’s what the retailer seems to hope.