Lane Bryant’s once again in the spotlight… this time for claiming size discrimination by TV networks ABC and NBC for not approving their latest ad.
Haven’t we heard this before? Why, yes we have. In 2014, ABC and Fox rejected LB’s Cacique ad featuring Ashley Graham for air before 9pm. Lane Bryant, wanting it to run in the first hour of Dancing with the Stars and American Idol, cried plus-size discrimination and garnered a lot of press.
“Our new commercials represent the sensuality of the curvy woman who has more to show the world than the typical waif-like lingerie model… If Victoria’s Secret and Playtex can run ads at any time during the 9pm to 10pm hour, why is Lane Bryant restricted only to the final 10 minutes?”
That was an exaggeration since the ad was cleared to air after 9pm (as are other lingerie ads, which Lane Bryant admitted) and not restricted to “the final 10 minutes”. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t most people tune in during the last hour when the winner/results are announced? Where’s the disadvantage?
CBS News’ Chris Wragge, in an interview with Ashley Graham, questioned whether “Lane Bryant knew what would transpire and did the ad for the attention” or had an “ulterior motive”. Graham acknowledged the publicity was “great for Lane Bryant”. Indeed.
Fast forward to 2016. In the meantime, Lane Bryant did run commercials on network television for their #ImNoAngel and #PlusIsEqual campaigns. Lots of gorgeous models (including Ashley Graham, who now has a problem with the “plus-size” label but that’s another story) strutting in lingerie and proudly owning their bodies. No controversy, no cries of discrimination. Nothing but Lane Bryant’s assertion that they represent ALL plus-size women when they only employ models who range in size from 14 to 18. But I already covered that in a previous post.
Until… #ThisBody with its nude models, including one who’s breast feeding with nothing but her baby covering her body. Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s a beautifully made, empowering statement. However, I also understand why ABC and NBC won’t air it as is. It has nothing to do with size discrimination as Lane Bryant is, yet again, claiming and getting tons of publicity over (no pun intended).
LB was well aware that the commercial wouldn’t be cleared to air. When they submitted a rough cut, the networks didn’t ban it as Lane Bryant alleged. According to NBC, “as part of the normal advertising standards process, we… asked for minor edits to comply with broadcast indecency guidelines. The ad was not rejected and we welcome the updated creative.”
Lane Bryant chose to ignore the suggestions and decided, instead, to run the final cut online.
“(W)e will not edit it as we believe it’s a beautiful and appropriate expression of women’s bodies. We do plan to air this through our own media and through digital channels where they find it as acceptable.”
Now they’re crying foul and claiming that the networks use a double standard. As a result, millions of women are angry… and clicking on their ad.
Let’s examine that claim:
According to an article on Jezebel.com, the nudity in LB’s commercial is “more or less on par with a Dove commercial“. In the link that Jezebel provided, there is no nudity. There is one Dove commercial for their Pro-Age product line, which shows about as much skin as the #MyBody spot, but it wasn’t cleared to air on the networks.
As for breast feeding, the only other US television commercial I found that depicts it is this one, from 2012, for Luvs diapers. Humorous as it was, there was lots of controversy when it aired.
But how can networks censor commercials when they show programs with sexual content and nudity? This article helps explain the commercial clearance process and why some aren’t approved for air.
The bottom line is that ABC and NBC didn’t reject plus bodies while OK’ing slender ones in the same scenarios. There is no double standard, there is no discrimination. However, once again, Lane Bryant is questionably claiming a situation that happens all too often to plus-size people in real life to create publicity for themselves.