This season’s crop of denim ads from the likes of Old Navy and Levi’s talk about butts a lot. There’s the new campaign for Levi’s Curve ID jeans, which states that “All Asses Were Not Created Equal.” Meanwhile, the “Booty Reader” ad for Old Navy features two mannequins talking about, well, their booties. And why shouldn’t they? Women want jeans that fit, and it makes sense to target the area, so to speak. But The Wall Street Journal says that all this talk about bottoms is a bit crass. For example, Levi’s ads don’t bleep out a single letter in “the a-word” (whereas the Journal does), which might offend old people and young children, according to one shopper. But even more worrisome to the paper are kids getting weird ideas about their “tushies”:
Melissa Mullins of Herndon, Va., was watching TV in the early evening with her 4-year-old son, Ben, when Old Navy’s commercial came on. Soon afterward, “he would stick out his little tushie and say, ‘I want a booty reader, mommy,’ Ms. Mullins said. She now feels she must be vigilant about 30-second TV ads, in which there’s little time to switch the channel before something offensive pops up.
Old Navy’s chief marketing officer, Amy Curtis McIntyre, says the word “booty” is “lighthearted and happy … more fun and irreverent than edgy.” And You Nguyen of Levi’s thinks they’re just using the same words that their customers do. “No woman turns around in the mirror, looks at herself and says, ‘My derrière is not as perky as it should be,’” he said. Both brands say they’ve gotten very few complaints, and when the Journal chased down the Parents Television Council for a quote, even they seemed not to care that much, which is saying a lot.