A sexually suggestive billboard for T.I.'s Akoo clothing company has drawn controversy nationwide.
The billboard is located in the heart of Newark. T.I.'s clothing line has posted a billboard in the heart of Newark that is definitely risque. The billboard ad shows a man standing with his pants unzipped and open, her head just under his crotch. Her right hand between his legs reaching upward and grabbing on the back of his pants exposing part of his underwear. Her other hand pulling on his front pocket. His hand is holding the back of her head.
"What's the message here? 'If I wear these clothes more women will want to have sex with me,' " said James Sawhill, a Rutgers-Newark marketing professor. Maybe, maybe not. The larger question, however, is: Why Newark? Would it be anywhere else? Millburn, Livingston, Bernardsville? City Council President Mildred Crump is fed up with her city being a doormat for degradation. "I'm so sick of people seeing Newark as a place where they can do whatever they want," she said. "They think they can put it in a black community and nobody is going to say or do anything." (The Star-Ledger)
However, CBS Outdoor billboard company executive Jodi Senese felt differently about the advertisement.
"It was a sexy, racy fashion ad, as they so often are," said Jodi Senese, executive vice president of marketing. There are more-explicit ads CBS will not post, she said, but this one didn't rise to that level. AKOO, whose clothing is distributed by Rp55 in Virginia Beach, Va., has not responded to requests for comment. The billboard raises another important question: Does demeaning women also sell? Sawhill says advertising is designed to impart information and conjure up emotion. It can be laughter, fear, concern. In this case, it's something primal. Or you could come up with a good caption contest. However, the billboard contains no informational content. It's strictly emotional, and Sawhill says ads like this are far too common in minority communities. (The Star-Ledger) The company has also issued a statement regarding the matter.
"The AKOO brand has always aimed to inspire individualism and creativity. Our advertising campaign was not created to offend or insult anyone but to simply provoke dialogue and thought regarding male/female sexuality within urban culture. We hope that as more of the campaign is debuted, people will see the multifaceted personality of AKOO." (Rap Radar)
Anyone can guess what this image is suggesting, and it is NOT that these jeans are cool. This imagery is seen frequently in movies and especially in music videos today, however we have the option of turning those off. When this is stuck in a place such as a billboard where families pass every day, that is not acceptable.
Word we received today was that the billboard will be taken down! Thank God!