The Internet was at it again last week when a fake “Playboy” magazine article by the group FORCE went viral.
The group put out an article claiming to be from “Playboy,” which said the magazine giant would now be judging its yearly list of “party schools” by taking into account the school’s attitude about consent, body positivity, and additional sexuality issues. FORCE even published fake articles about the list that claimed to be from the “Huffington Post,” “UpWorthy,” “BroBible,” and more.
Those who follow closely may remember FORCE from their viral fake Victoria’s Secret marketing campaign that featured models of different sizes and ethnicities sporting undies that read sex-positive sayings, including “consent is sexy.”
If you’re anything like me, these campaigns have led you to feel a mix of amusement, pride, and disappointment. I’m amused because there is nothing funnier than watching people on your Facebook newsfeed share something they believe to be true without looking into it at all. I mean, check the URL, people.
I’m proud because of the response that this has received. Before people realized both those things were fake, the response to “Playboy” and to Victoria’s Secret was overwhelmingly positive. The world is craving diversity and positive views towards sex, especially from mainstream sources, despite what Internet trolls would have you believe. We’re all looking for respect and representation in normal situations, not just when it’s part of a marketing campaign or part of a “special issue.”
I’m disappointed, however, that these companies have not realized people feel that way. Of course they’re going to clarify that the post was not authorized by their respective brands—that’s to be expected—but any smart marketer will tell you that this is the easiest form of market research. I say to “Playboy” and Victoria’s Secret, as well as other brands of their kind, that America and the world have spoken and given you a stream of ideas for a variety of topics and articles. I know plenty of people who would gladly share a list about the schools that are most inclined toward consent education or buy from a company that enthusiastically includes models of all shapes, sizes and colors, without making it known that they went out of their way to do so as a gimmick.
The more we put these things in the mainstream, the more accepted they will be and the better the world will become. These types of ideas can no longer be limited to niche companies and “special programs.” We’re calling out for diversity—here’s looking at you, “Playboy,” Victoria’s Secret, and every other mainstream company.
The only question is whether or not you’ll listen.[divider] [/divider]
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