How FCUK Fashioned Advertising History

Advertisements can certainly trigger strong emotions. And when it comes to the world of fashion, its all about standing out from the crowd. Big fashion brands like FCUK tap into the idea of being more than just clothes, but an expression of lifestyle, an attitude. And as the acronym for French Connection blatantly states - you can't get more attitude then FCUK.

But can fashion ads go too far? Wearing brands like FCUK is all about tapping into certain aspirations. Recently the NME was criticised by the advertising watchdog after running an ad depicting a man holding a gun to another man's head. The ad ran across a double page spread in the music magazine, depicting the man holding his victim by the throat with a gun to his head. After receiving a complaint saying the image was irresponsible and offensive, the Advertising Standards Authority banned the ad for glamorising gun crime. The fashion brand behind the advert defended it saying it was not realistic, but that the pictures were cartoon-like. It said that it was aimed at an intelligent youth market that would realise it was a fictitious idea inspired by the idea of people confessing their "fashion crimes".

Certain brands are expected to be provocative and carry an edge - it's what makes them desirable in the first place. When FCUK launched its first campaign with the logo, it caused shockwaves amongst many who found the in-your-face acronym offensive and crude. Some felt the FCUK brand had a verbal aggression that was intimidating when worn by young people. The gun crime ad went a step further into physical violence and was ruled as "aggressive and threatening" as well as glamorising and condoning real violence.

Controversy however tends to be good news for fashion brands. When FCUK screened a TV ad featuring women kung-fu fighting and kissing, the ad promptly received 50 complaints. The protests in turn generated a wealth of debate and publicity in the press. Sex and violence it seems always sells. And the brand previously enjoyed huge success with the suggestive logo FCUK. French Connection prides itself on delivering 'fashion-forward' clothing through 'unique design and a true sense of style'.


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