Bonds’ latest is no digital PR campaign fail

This is not a digital PR campaign failure

Another week in marketing, PR and advertising, another case of lines drawn in the sand. This time thanks to Bonds Australia, with the clothing brand taking a step some deem to bold and others necessary, while more than a few have labelled it a digital PR campaign fail.

We couldn’t agree with the latter opinion less. Here’s the content in question.


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It’s the little moments that make the Christmas season so special. ??#BondsMakeTheSeason #BondedBy #BehindTheBonds #BondsXmas

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Why are some calling this a digital PR campaign fail?

Sadly, it should be obvious. The image of two men wearing very little, holding one another in passionate embrace remains controversial in the eyes of many. This is despite enormous steps taken to fight for equality and LGBTQ+ rights across the world. Here are a few comments we found on Instagram that show there’s more work to be done:

“Is this really necessary to advertise underwear, I mean each to this [sic] own but C’mon.”

“A kiss I’m not too bothered about, but this looks a little how can I say… sexual? He has his legs open and the other guys his hands on his behind?, a bit too in my face for me Bonds…”

“So where is a photo of a boy and girl kissing?”

Why others aren’t calling this a digital PR campaign fail? 

Our unscientific research shows the vast majority of comments were actually positive. People have applauded the brand for its latest social media campaign. Here are some statistics that show why this is not a one-off…

*At the 2018 Cannes Lions Festival, celebrating the best work from across the comms board, just 1.9% of characters in featured ads were identified as LGBTQ. 10% of the global population identifies as such

*64% of all adults think it’s positive for the LGBTQ+ community to be visible in adverts

*Nearly 60% of millennial females using YouTube are more likely to remember a brand which is LGBTQ+ friendly

*61% of YouTube viewers consider LGTBQ+ friendly brands to be ‘caring’

*49% of 18-24 year old Britons do not consider themselves ‘100% straight’

*53% of over 60s in the UK agree sexuality is on a scale

Tokenism remains a real issue, and a big cause of digital PR campaign fails

What these number tell us is that there is a very real consumer demand for brands to take stands, make their ethics and politics clear. We live in a time when standing for nothing is no longer accepted as a stance.

However, it’s crucial to consider authenticity is key to any campaign. As per research from Gay Times and Karmarama, 72% of the LGBTQ+ community believe they are presented in a tokenistic way when featured advertising.


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