STYLE

Is Nine West's Shoe Advert Offensive?

07/08/2014 13:26 | Updated 20 May 2015

Nine West has just joined Snickers and fashion label Desigual on the 'controversial advert' bandwagon.

nine-west-advert

The footwear brand's latest ads, which will launch in the US on Friday, have been up for debate this week thanks to the "brassy" captions.

They read 'anticipatory walk of shame' alongside an image of a woman carrying flip-flops in her handbag and 'starter husband hunting' next to a pair of leopard-print heels on a dartboard.

The idea is clear - wearing the right shoes will get you "Mr.Right" - but this tongue-in-cheek message hasn't gone down well on Nine West's Facebook page.

One critic wrote, "Love your shoes but don't patronize your customers by an outdated ideal. Women are hunting success and goals, dreams and visions. Not husbands."

Another brought up an inevitable problem and asked, "Dear 9 West. How do I explain to my 13 year old daughter what a 'Walk of Shame is?' Thank you."

Many simply branded the ad as "offensive," but other commentators say the campaign has been misunderstood and taken too seriously.

Erika Szychowsk, the Senior vice president of marketing at Nine West, spoke to the New York Times about the campaign.

"We have to change the way we talk about occasions because women are modern now and shop for a different reason," she said. Styles in 'Starter husband hunting' for example, might once have been called night-on-the-town shoes."

One thing's for sure - these ads will get noticed.

"I'm comfortable that it will make noise and it will get attention, and my gut tells me that it's not offensive," Szychowsk added. "And it's not just my gut but the incredibly active, large community of people that we work with both internally and externally - it's actually resonating for them."

In terms of brand awareness, Szychowsk and her marketing team's job has been done. But has Nine West literally put its foot in it?

If these ads are meant to attract women, they haven't done a good job so far.

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