PLEIN TOO: Just as Dolce & Gabbana’s fallout continues to unfurl, another fashion group is being accused of being tone-deaf with its communication.
Over the weekend Philipp Plein came under fire for its latest campaign promoting Black Friday sales. For the occasion, a series of images portraying a model with cuts and blood stains on her body caused by a masked, axe-armed man appeared both on the designer’s and company’s social media, as well as on the windows of Philipp Plein’s flagship in central Milan on Friday. Slogans on the campaign included “Price Killer” and “Time to kill some prices,” written in fire red.
The backlash came quickly as passersby and social media accused the company of releasing a violent and tasteless campaign, especially on the eve of the international day for the elimination of violence against women on Sunday, and asked for the immediate removal of the images.
“This is outrageous for all women! Take off this hideous advertising!” reads one of the comments on Facebook. “A company profiting from violence on women to make money has to shut down. I hope someone intervenes because all this is really shameful,” echoed another comment, while another user wrote: “I hope you end up as D&G in China: you suck. Remove this advertising immediately and APOLOGIZE PUBLICLY.”
Milan’s mayor Giuseppe Sala also shared on Instagram an article condemning the images, with the caption, “Here’s an example not to follow.”
In the wake of the indignation, on Saturday the campaign was removed from the windows of Plein’s flagship by Milan’s municipality, but it is still available online on Instagram and Facebook, where comments continued to pour in.
The controversy reached into Switzerland, where Plein is headquartered. Local politician Fiorenzo Dadó was among the ones condemning the ad on Facebook, with a post reading “Philipp Plein, aren’t you ashamed?” and inviting his audience to say “stop to this man and his rags! The Canton of Ticino [where the headquarters is located] needs serious entrepreneurs, people putting love in their work, real artists and not misfits who pass over everything and everyone just to get attention and sell their bric-a-brac.”
On Sunday, the designer addressed the criticism with a long post on Instagram, in which Plein misspelled the politician’s name and stated: “Why would a politician like Fiorenzo Dadu attack the PLEIN GROUP? It is sad and embarrassing to see politicians trying to gain popularity with cheap and stupid propaganda! I was expecting a bit more intellectual content from Dadu …….. instead of focusing on the real problems in the country and his job he is attacking a highly successful fashion group which is doing nothing else than paying taxes and creating jobs!”
“The company Philipp Plein adds more value and importance to the Kanton Ticino than Dadu ever will!” he continued. “I am really disappointed about so much incompetence……… Dadu should attract entrepreneurs and business owners to move to Ticino instead of attacking them ………especially not companies which are creating jobs and paying taxes (((( by the way Dadu what do you understand from the fashion business 😂😂 !????”
Plein added that the campaign proved to be the most successful in the history of the group and claimed it attracted more women than any other ad before. “We increased our BLACK FRIDAY sales compared to last year more than 300 percent and this is a FACT! Especially with an increase of 50% more women buying than before 😂😂 ! That means more taxes to be paid at the end of the year to the Kanton Ticino ……….the Kanton which you represent and which pays your bills!”
Reached on Monday, the company said it did not have any official comment about the controversy.