The suburban youth denim brand, a division of Andrew International that saw sales of more than $100 million last year, asked its agency, M Media, New York, for an image that would "stop traffic, literally," said M Media's President Margot Lewis.
The ad was stopped even before traffic had a chance to see it after the building's landlord, Boston Properties, deemed it "too suggestive" and asked for major changes. Executives at Hachette Filipacchi's Elle Girl and Time Inc.'s Teen People agreed, while Hearst Magazines' Cosmo Girl accepted the ad in its original form with only minor touch-ups and Fairchild Publications' Jane accepted it as is.
"We wanted something exciting, something provocative, it doesn't make sense otherwise to spend the money to be in Times Square," said Andrew International's President Andrew Kirpalani, who noted he was surprised at the rejection in light of Paris Hilton's turn for Carl's Jr. The billboard costs roughly $50,000 a month.
But, according to Tommy Turner, senior VP-partner at Van Wagner Outdoor, the media company that represents Boston Properties, "what one person thinks is edgy or hip and perfectly acceptable, others may view as suggestive to a fault or even offensive."
M Media's creative director, Michael Cooper, is now working to appease those who rejected the ad.
But changing it too much could undermine what is meant to attract suburban 15- to 22-year-olds aspiring for city grit. The new tagline, after all, is: "Get used to it." Apparently, some people can't.
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