Lane Bryant: Networks Apply Double Standard

Apr 23, 2010
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Television networks, it seems, have no problem airing sexually-suggestive
commercials with scantily-clad models unless those models happen to be on the
plus-size. That’s the position of Lane Bryant, the clothing chain for plus-size
women, after ABC and Fox limited the times the retailer’s new spot could be
shown on air.

According to the retailer’s Inside Curve blog, “ABC refused to
show the commercial during ‘Dancing with the Stars’ without restricting our
airtime to the final moments of the show. Fox demanded excessive re-edits and
rebuffed it three times before relenting to air it during the final 10 minutes
of ‘American Idol,’ but only after we threatened to pull the ad buy.”

The blog agrees the commercial was sexy but that it did not go beyond what
these same networks show with their own programming or other commercial spots
they run. The problem it seems comes down to the size of the model in the commerical.

“Our new commercials represent the sensuality of the curvy woman who
has more to show the world than the typical waif-like lingerie model. What
we didn’t know was that the networks, which regularly run Victoria’s Secret
and Playtex advertising on the very shows from which we’re restricted, would
object to a different view of beauty. If Victoria’s Secret and Playtex can
run ads at any time during the 9 pm to 10 pm hour, why is Lane Bryant restricted
only to the final 10 minutes?”

It goes on to say, “Victoria’s Secret ‘The Nakeds’ ads are prancing
around on major networks leaving little to the imagination, steaming up t.v.
screens and baring nearly everything but their souls, our sultry siren who
shows sophisticated sass is somehow deemed inappropriate. The network exclaimed,
she has ‘too much cleavage’ Gasp!”

(Links to both commercials appear below. Let us know what you think.)

Discussion Questions: Do you believe that ABC
and Fox applied a double standard in restricting the Lane Bryant commercial?
Will advertisers be able to use ‘political correctness’ to expand their standards
for taste and propriety?

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13 Comments on "Lane Bryant: Networks Apply Double Standard"

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Ryan Mathews
11 years 24 days ago

This one is simple–Of course they did! And…they deserve all the criticism they get.

Dr. Stephen Needel
11 years 24 days ago

They are definitely applying a double standard. I watched each commercial 7 times and couldn’t detect any difference in my arousal level.

Marge Laney
11 years 24 days ago

I’m sure I’m not the only one that will opine that this brouhaha is probably the best thing that could ever have happened to Lane Bryant. When I clicked on the YouTube link it had already been viewed by over a million people and the ads haven’t even begun running on TV. This is manna from heaven for Charming Shoppes, hopefully their stores and website are prepared for the onslaught of traffic!

David Livingston
11 years 24 days ago

Well of course they used a double standard. They also made a wise business decision. Sex sells and it’s all about the dollars. Political correctness is fine for PBS, but not a major network. It’s important to bring in the dollars for investors and to keep viewers happy.

Mark Burr
11 years 24 days ago

A double standard? No. A standard? Yes. A surprising standard for ABC? Yes. For FOX? It depends. FOX the network? Likely. FOX News? No.

Interestingly, Mr. O’Reilly spent a segment on it in his show last evening. So while it wasn’t aired periodically as an advertisement, it was aired.

I have had and understand the realization that I am in the minority on this one in the discussion. That’s okay. I am sure an argument can be made to a double standard on most anything. However, there is nothing wrong with the setting of a standard at anytime.

As for Lane Bryant gaining from controversy? It’s yesterday’s news. We’re talking about it today. It will be gone by tomorrow. No gain.

Paula Rosenblum
11 years 24 days ago

I’ve said this a lot, and will continue to say it. Prejudice against large people, especially large women, is the last acceptable (and oddly encouraged) form of discrimination.

Look at the “sensation” Dove made by showing “real” women in bras.

I’d love to see a “Biggest Gainer” show for anorexic models, but that won’t happen any time soon.

Robert Straub
Robert Straub
11 years 24 days ago

This is silly. And to state the obvious–a plus size model has about as much in common with a normal plus size woman as a 250 lb linebacker does with a 250 lb male couch potato. In other words, there is certainly sex appeal.

Tina Lahti
Tina Lahti
11 years 24 days ago

I think that the issue was context not content. The new Victoria’s Secret ad for Nakeds shows models in their underwear looking sexy. The Lane Bryant ad shows a model in her underwear meeting someone for a nooner. Note the text message about meeting for lunch and the model leaving the house in nothing but her underwear and a trench coat. Lane Bryant definitely took it to the next level, from looking sexy to preparing to have sex. Right or wrong there is a difference and a disconnect between looking sexy and having sex in our culture.

Linda Daichendt
Linda Daichendt
11 years 24 days ago

ABSOLUTELY they are employing a double-standard! The model is a very beautiful woman, the ad is extremely tasteful, and she is certainly a lot more covered up than other ads (and programs) I see on both of those networks.

How dare they try to decide what the standards of beauty should be! The model is a perfect representative for the average woman in America–who is DEFINITELY NOT a size 2 like most of the models you see on television.

As one of those ‘average women’ I applaud Lane Bryant’s efforts to put forth an appropriately representative image of today’s American woman, and shame on ABC and FOX for their prejudice! However, the joke’s on them because I’m certain by the time the Internet and Lane Bryant get through with them that commercial will likely be seen more times than any other in recent history–and all they will have done is make their respective networks look bad in the eyes of the American consumer.

Shame on you ABC and Fox!

Craig Sundstrom
11 years 24 days ago

Maybe I haven’t been spending enough time around waif-like models–hey I’m willing!–but this women didn’t correspond with my mental image of “large” (though some elements of her did); though with the frequent cuts and body movements, it’s difficult to see exactly what she looks like.

Anyway, as some have pointed out, the ad also involves suggestive language–and mentions Mom!–so to the question “did ABC apply a XX…er, double standard?” I think we should hear their side of the issue before rendering any judgments.

Cathy Hotka
11 years 24 days ago

Maybe the network suits who denied the ad haven’t seen their own smarmy, suggestive programming.

Ed Rosenbaum
11 years 23 days ago

Of course they applied the double standard to this. I find it difficult to understand; and certainly do not agree.

Have you seen the Victoria Secret ads or watched Two and a Half Men lately? Point made.

John Crossman
John Crossman
11 years 22 days ago

I don’t get it. When I consider things that have offended me or made me feel uncomfortable on ABC, the Lane Bryant ad would not make my list. Have you seen the commercial for A Nightmare on Elm Street?


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