Fox clothing ad under fire

Channels 2 and 10 aired the ad encouraging reckless driving before it was reviewed.

By TALYA HALKIN
October 11, 2005 05:02
4 minute read.
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The Israeli fashion company Fox is under public criticism after the company’s latest TV commercial appeared to feature reckless driving. The first part of the Fox campaign featured a commercial that opens with a nighttime shot of models Yael Bar-Zohar and Yehuda Levi in a car. In the ad, while Levi steers, Bar-Zohar seductively bites into an apple and stretches out her legs on the dashboard. Shaped by a dark, disturbing aesthetic inspired by film directors David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino, the commercial continues with a flash of white light. The car comes to a halt, the window breaks, and Bar-Zohar disappears. Viewers could then choose one of three endings “bitter,” “sweet,” or “uncensored” which they could then watch via cellular phone. Families who have lost loved ones in car accidents protested earlier this week against the Fox commercial. They expressed their anger and dismay at what they described as the company’s cynical portrayal of accidents and reckless driving. The commercial, its opponents argued, portrayed accidents as the casual and almost harmless result of sexual foreplay and carelessness, making careless driving appear as a trivial and inconsequential form of behavior. Some parents who have lost their children in car accidents have called for a consumer boycott of Fox clothing. The provocative nature of another advertising campaign by Fox, which unapologetically presented children as sexual objects, led another group of parents to call for a boycott of the company earlier this year. Fox makes no attempt to dissimulate its marketing and advertising strategies. On the contrary, it prides itself on its Web site for creating fashions that “express and even shape the positions and choices of young cosmopolitan people,” and for offering them “an entire system of values and figures” that celebrate “limitless fun and sexuality and total freedom and gives clothing a new role seduction.” The company has dedicated a special link to its advertising philosophy, which emphasizes the “youthful, insolent, daring, innovative and sometimes provocative” nature of its campaigns. A spokeswoman for Fox told The Jerusalem Post that the campaign was designed to run in two parts. The spokeswoman said that the first part of the campaign, which featured the scene in the car, ran for the last time this past Saturday. The second part of the campaign, she said, featured only the three “endings” to the story. The spokeswoman also said that viewers had been mistaken to interpret the scene as an accident, and that the car comes to a screeching halt because Bar-Zohar is kidnapped by aliens. It is the presence of aliens, she said, which explains the “uncensored” ending to the commercial, in which Levi is surrounded by clones of Bar-Zohar. "We regret if anyone was offended by the commercial, and hope that its viewers will be able to smile and realize we didn’t mean to hurt anyone,” the Fox spokeswoman said. The Second Broadcasting Authority, which requires commercials with potentially provocative sexual or other violent content to be approved by the Authority’s advertising department, did not receive the commercial for approval prior to its being aired by Channel 10 and by Channel 2 franchisee Telad. According to the Authority’s spokeswoman, the Fox commercial was broadcast even though the Authority had instructed the company in advance not to air the commercial before it was reviewed. On Sunday, the Authority’s director-general, Motti Shaklar, requested that Fox excise the controversial scene from its campaign. The second half of Fox’s campaign, consisting of the “uncensored” ending, which Fox’s spokeswoman said was voted as viewers’ favorite, will only run after 10 p.m. after a compromise struck between the company and the Authority. In addition, the Authority has initiated a process that could end with the taking of disciplinary action against Telad and Channel 10, and which could, according to the Authority’s spokeswoman, result in a warning or in a penalty in the form of restricted commercial air time.


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